Saturday, November 24, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 24 (My Camera)

This is a photo of Mabel. I was supposed to be taking portraits of her owner, my friend, for a project. Mabel wanted to be a part of things. Her tangential appearance here is justified because I took this photo with my camera while working on a project for my photography class. Plus, people seem to like dogs.

I'm going to be taboo and admit my gratitude for another material item, this one not even strictly necessary--my camera.

I have always enjoyed snapping photos and during college used to plaster my wall with shots of my friends and me. I eventually moved my party pics into photo albums and brought out my camera only on vacation. Then, my husband purchased an SLR for me as a gift one Christmas, and I was hooked. Still, I worked quite a lot and really didn't know what I was doing, so the SLR got heavy use during vacations and not much in between.

I think the advent of digital photography for the masses and the birth of my first child were a happy coincidence. We rushed out and purchased our first digital point-and-shoot before my son was born, providing me ample opportunity--without the cost of film--to take hundreds of photos of my infant drooling on himself each day. Frankly, it was a bit silly.

Along came baby number 2, and about a year later on another Christmas, my husband purchased a digital SLR for me. I still treated it like a fancy point-and-shoot, still took thousands of photos, but occasionally some were good. [Insert monkeys, typewriters, and Shakespeare analogy here.] Because the photos were almost exclusively of my children, I thought they all were priceless even if others might argue about the quality.

In January of this year, with both kids in school full day, I found a six-week RISD Continuing Education Intro to Photography course that met one weekday morning each week. There's no going back. It's like everything else--a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I now know what most of the digital camera controls do, and my results have improved dramatically. I even fancy myself a photographer now, if only an amateur hobbyist. This means that I tote my camera along most places I go, convince friends to sit for me while I practice portrait photography, and continue to take oodles of photos of my kids.

For the first time I can recall, I have a bona fide hobby. It provides me a creative outlet, allows me to document life with my growing kids, and provides an excuse to purchase all kinds of supplemental toys equipment. I've already made my wish list for Santa.

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