All digital, all the time!

I am so not a trendy person. About the time I decide I like a clothing style, styles have changed again and I can’t find any of what I finally noticed. Maybe I need to shop at consignment stores instead of department stores! Clothing-wise, I like things that wear well and are easy to care for.

It seems I’m the same way when it comes to photography. Though it’s taken a while, I’m satisfied with my collection of digital tools—dSLR, purse-sized point & shoot, and my editing and organizing software. In fact, the only thing I lack is enough time for photography. I’m mostly a weekend photographer, usually taking a good part of each Saturday to capture images either by myself or in the company of like-minded women from my Digital Divas meetup group. I love the photo finding adventure, but I also enjoy the post-processing aspect of photography. I started shooting in raw earlier this year and am fascinated by what can be done with these images in Lightroom. That said, I usually make only minor adjustments to apply a camera profile, adjust white balance, and crop the image if needed.

Digital cameras, including everything from cell phone cameras through more capable and versatile dSLRs, have made photography accessible and affordable to almost everyone. I envy today’s young families their ability to record picture after picture of their children—because they can. When our daughter was young, photos were usually taken for birthdays and at holiday celebrations. Most every day events never made it onto film and are now just dusty memories at the back of my brain.

The internet, via sites for photo posting, blogging, and digital scrapbooking, provides many ways for people to share their images with others and, for those who want to learn more, there is almost unlimited inspiration available by exploring other people’s images, trying new techniques via tutorials, and participating in photographic challenges of various kinds.

One trend I’ve noticed recently is adding textures to images. Kim Klassen, at Kim Klassen Cafe, creates and shares (often as freebies) one fascinating texture after the other and hosts a weekly challenge for her readers to apply those textures to their images. Kim periodically offers an introductory class that covers some of the basics of Photoshop and applying textures to images (the photo below is one of my initial attempts). If you haven’t already done so, check it out when you have a minute!

However, this is another case of “what was once old is now new again.” The image below was taken in the early 1970s, probably on either 4×5″ or 2¼ x 2¼” negative film, and the texture was applied via a second exposure through an acetate overlay laid on top of the photo paper. The print was, of course, hand processed by the portrait photographer who took the shot. My point in sharing this image is to convey how unusual it was in the era of film photography for an ordinary person like me to have such an artistic photograph taken and, of course, application of the post-exposure texture was even more rare. These days each of us is easily able to do this and other, even more sophisticated techniques for ourselves.

Trends will come and go, often driven by technological advances that either popularize a method or make it easier to achieve a certain result. The internet and social media increase awareness of tools and trendsetters who make the best use of them, so more people are likely to experiment with new techniques simply because they know about them. However, I expect most trends will be short-lived because our digital world is moving so fast—there’s always the “next big thing” ready to grab people’s attention—until, of course, the cycle repeats itself. For me, I’m guessing that my use of photographic trends will lag popular use of those trends, and I’ll either use them in my own time or catch them when they become popular a second or third time.

Style-wise, I expect my favorite subjects will always be from nature. Until now, most of my photography has been of flowers and other natural objects either with a zoom lens or, more recently, experimenting with macro images. I will continue working on both of these, but I am also intrigued by landscape photography of both the natural and manmade variety. I’ve done a bit of hunting on the internet and found several promising sites. One that is definitely new to me is the slr Lounge, where I found this link to tips for landscape photography. You might also note their tutorials for photography, Photoshop, and Lightroom.

Posted for an assignment for the Journey of Recognition course, which is part of Kat Sloma’s Find Your Eye series of classes.

6 thoughts on “All digital, all the time!

  1. Very thoughtful post, I really enjoyed reading it. I agree with you about trends — as the pace of technology speeds up, trends will come and go even faster. I love the bold contrast in your flower photo. I still haven’t written a post about trends, but your post as gotten me thinking again.

  2. Lovely post Wanda! You really echoed my thoughts about digital photography being such an accessible art form. Between the cameras and the information available on the internet, we have an amazing opportunity at our fingertips, don’t we? I love your point about “what is old being new again.” Sometimes it does feel that there is nothing new. As I read more books on creative photography, I feel like I’m reading my own thoughts written by others. 🙂 Thanks for sharing these great thoughts!

  3. This is a superb photo – and how wonderful that it was hand-crafted. 🙂 A really thoughtful post too. I love the flexibility of digital but can feel overwhelmed by all the things I ‘ought’ to be doing to my photos. Somehow, there was an innocence and simplicity about the old point and-click-and-develop-the-film photography…

  4. Love your bold flower! Interesting post! It probably would be more common for a person to be trendy in all areas of life, than in one. Thanks for visiting my Alphabe post. The sister of Zoe is one who knows/hears anything that is new!

  5. A thoughtful post. I still feel sometimes that I am stuck in the old mentality of only taking really important pictures to save film. I think maybe I’ve said this to you before? I never take enough photos!

  6. Wanda,
    Trends, as you say, come and go and come around again. I think you have the right approach – to be aware of them but then to choose only those that are meaningful to you. Or perhaps because you are intrigued and want to learn more. There’s certainly nothing wrong with being slow to accept trends – not everyone can be an “early adopter”.

    Your texture experiment is very subtle and and lovely. I think you will find that adding textures can add a lot of fun to post-processing and give you many options for changing the look and feel of your images.

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