Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fireworks and Photography Dreams...

When I was little, my dream was to be a photographer for National Geographic. One year for Christmas (I was about 8), I asked my parents for a camera. They gave me their old one, as they had just bought a newer one. They also gave me one (and only one) roll of film--it wasn't even a roll--it was one of those old cameras that took like a cartridge). I took pictures like this one, of my Aunt's hair with her family

(Danielle, how cute is that little guy?)

I think that was the only roll of film they bought me (way to encourage a child's dreams, huh?). My next roll, I bought around 12 with my hard-earned baby-sitting money. But between film and processing I didn't end up taking many pictures. I put that dream on the shelf and took up cheaper hobbies--like reading (library books) and thinking. I still have that old camera somewhere, I still have a few of those first pics and I still have that interest in capturing reality.

About 5 years ago my husband bought me a film SLR and I took a photography class. That was the year I was going though surgeries and immuno-therapy for Melanoma. I didn't have a lot of energy, but it was cool to learn about some of the fundamentals of photography. Yet, I felt a little that I had missed that boat. The cost and time involved in film processing was still a little of a put-off, especially when digital cameras were so prevalent.

I like the idea of film shooting--I have seen some really cool photos--before the days of photo-shop. I still like the idea that the picture you take is the picture you get and I don't know if I'll ever use photo-shop much (even though you can do some really cool stuff there too). But I am a seeker of instant gratification--I like to take out my photo card, stick it in the computer and see my pics instantaneously. With film, it takes too long to see what you did.

But I still liked the idea of controlling some of the aspects of the shot--which you can't do with most point and shoot cameras. So my faithful husband, read my mind once again and bought me a digital SLR. Even the photos on automatic settings are great, but it was so hard to find the time to sit down and figure out the manual and partial-manual settings. It is also terribly hard to take the time to go out take pictures. I have been trying to do that more though and thought that July 4th would be a great opportunity to shoot fireworks.

We almost didn't go because they start late and the kids and blah blah, but then decided last minute to just be brave and do it. So we went. There was no time to figure out the best angle or spot for shooting and we ended up way too close. I also didn't have the time to fool around with the settings much. We were close and the fireworks (and the canons at the end of the 1812 Overture!) were so loud that both kids freaked out. Nico cried the whole time and G had her ears covered for the duration. I was trying to hold and comfort Nico and just pressing the button taking pics and hoping some of them would turn out. It was also really hot--we were all uincomfortable.

I took almost 150 photos and they all suck. How sad is that? I did it all on manual, so I am proud of myself for that, but my shutter speed wasn't slow enough or I had Nico and I couldn't frame the picture right. We were so close that you can see all the rocket spirals in the pics.

This is as good as it got:

Oh well, I'll figure it out eventually...


Alison's Pantry said...

Well heck! I'm impressed! I think they turned out marvelously! I didn't even get the chance to photograph any fireworks although I wanted to. These are especially good considering it was all manual and with a crying baby on your lap. Once again I am impressed!
Little Josh is such a doll! I hope Mckayla is as cute as him when she gets older. I can sort of count on it since she is him in miniature. that's so sad about your smashed dreams of being a Nat Geo photographer. I only wish my dreams would have been that cool. I wanted to be an ice skater in the Olympics. I had some natural talent, but no money for one on one training :( Ah, the things you can do with money! (like get a nice camera that I love dearly) Anyway, keep playing with your camera and I'll keep playing with mine and we'll see what we can come up with.

Annje said...

Ali, thanks for commenting. An olympic ice skater dream is pretty cool--I didn't know that was your dream. McKayla is beautiful like both of her parents so I am sure your hopes will come true. What kind of camera did you get? a DSLR?

mosey along said...

Sounds like there are a lot of us out there (out here?) working on taking better photographs. More and more, especially as I borrow my husband's delightful SLR, I'm craving my own to take better photos and go manual. Love my point and shoot but I'm ready to move on.

I think your fireworks photos are terrific, and since I missed all the festivities this year, they are an excellent replacement for taking my own.

Do you read the Shutter Sisters? Always a good source of information and inspiration....