“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” ~Gilbert Keith Chesterton
“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” ~Henri Cartier-Bresson
With Thanksgiving right around the corner here in the United States, I’ve been thinking of the many things that I’m grateful for…like family, nature and our home. Something that is definitely towards the top of my gratitude list is photography, and more specifically digital photography.
I was late to the digital photography party. I didn’t switch to a digital camera until 2007, and that was only because my film camera stopped working. I needed to buy a new camera, so after much research I finally bought a digital Canon S3-IS, and then a year later I decided to get a DSLR (Canon Rebel). After I got my new camera I took some photography and photoshop classes, both on-line and at a local community college. I also read a lot of books and magazine articles about photography. Along the way I discovered many reasons why I love digital photography. Here are my top four:
One of the things I love best about digital photography is that I can take as many shots as I want because I don’t have to pay to have all the pictures developed. I can take pictures of things other than just the typical special occasion shots, like birthdays and holidays. I have the freedom to take photos of nature and detail shots of our everyday life. I can take 200 pictures of the sunlight shining through the blossoms of a cherry tree if I want to and only print out the ones that I love.
I can experiment with light and shadows and perspective. I can try different lenses and play with various settings. If the photo doesn’t turn out I can learn from it…and then delete it.
Digital photography allows me to be more generous with my pictures. I find myself taking more photos of friends and family, and then giving them the prints or digital files. I was the unofficial team photographer for the kids sports teams (baseball, cross country, lacrosse). At the end of the season I would create slideshows for team parties and photo collages to share. I would also put the pictures up on a file sharing site (like SmugMug).
One of the first photos that I took when I got my digital camera was of a pet of a family that I met at the baseball fields. This family’s son was on the same team as my son and they would often bring their dog to the games. I took a picture of their pet and later printed it out and gave it to them. Fast forward to four years later when I was at their house for a party…and they still had the picture up on their refrigerator!
I love combining my digital photos with filters and textures in photoshop (I use an older version of Photoshop Elements). I’ve made all sorts of items using my digital creations…most of them to give as gifts…things like calendars, coasters, canvas bags, coffee mugs, and recipe cards.
If it wasn’t for digital photography I don’t think I would have my small creative business selling my art photography prints on Etsy.com and at a few local coffee shops.
I find myself using my camera as a photo diary, taking pictures of the little details of our daily life that I want to remember. Little reminders of the food that we ate, the clothes that we wore, the places that we went… pictures of the dining room table filled with notebooks and homework, or of the mudroom with shoes tossed under the bench and backpacks on the floor. These pictures mark a moment of time in our lives that I don’t want to ever forget.
Another reason that I love digital photography are the apps that will send you emails with your photographs from years past. I use Shoebox, but there are other ones like TimeHop that do similar things. It’s so awesome to see pictures from this day in your photo history from 5 years ago.
Looking through the lens of my digital camera changed the way that I see my life and for that I’m forever grateful. What are some things that you’re thankful for?
This article was written by Dawn Smith.