Sunday, 3 February 2013

My Precious {February edition}

I don't think this one would surprise anyone in my family.

Or any of you who read my blog.

Or anyone who knows me at all.

Or, indeed, quite a few people who don't know me at all but who have seen this strange madwoman taking photographs of weird and wonderful things such as the sky, the pavement, her own shoes, her shopping on the conveyor belt, the dentist's shopfront, a road sign, a postbox, the salt cellar and pepper pot on her cafe table, etc, etc!

(What's the oddest photo you've taken in public, by the way? Mine has to be a toss-up between the aforementioned shoes (taken by putting the camera on the floor while sitting on a bench at Legoland Discovery Centre) and a lavender bush (sounds fairly innocent, but I was sitting on the pavement UNDER the lavender bush at the time...)


Anyway, I digress. The precious object in question is, of course, my beloved camera. I saved hard for it, putting aside birthday and Christmas money and any small amounts I could save week by week, and was so thrilled to eventually be able to order it :) I've taken several photography classes, in person and online, and while I still stay safely in Auto a lot of the time I am gradually learning more about the different manual settings and gaining the confidence to use them sometimes. I really enjoy photography as a hobby - I love to play around with different effects, try different things out, experiment with different angles; I look at photos in newspapers and magazines and if one strikes me in particular I try to figure out just why - and see if I could incorporate the idea into one of my own photos; I even find myself noticing how a shot has been framed or how the camera has been focused while watching a film or TV programme, and have taken inspiration from that, too.

Ironically, partly due to my injury (4 months ago today...), I'm no longer carrying my camera everywhere I go. And this is when I've started Project Life, and so want to have a camera handy! My mobile phone is with me all the time, however, and while its camera's quality isn't fantastic and I haven't yet figured out if it's even possible to zoom in at all, at last it means that I can take a snapshot of anything and everything that catches my eye. And that's excellent news!

Because, you see, much as I love Nikon for itself, with its satisfyingly clunky weight in my hands, its smooth zoom action, its colourful and comfortable strap, and its ability to take good quality photographs (not necessarily matched by my own ability to take good quality photographs, of course...!), my camera is precious to me because of the moments it captures. My memory is not so great. It's not that bad, but it certainly isn't capable of capturing and retaining those fleeting moments of our everyday lives, the subtle yet cumulatively significant changes in The Children as they grow up, the unexpected beauty of a shadow or a silhouette or a shared moment between friends or strangers. As I look back over the photographs of the last few years, the special occasion shots or everyday snaps taken as part of Project 365 or Project Life, so many memories flood back. However imperfect the image, it recalls the sounds, the tastes, the feelings that would otherwise be lost.

This is why I take photographs. And this is why my 'photograph-taking tool' is precious to me. Yes, I love my Nikon, and it brings me enjoyment even beyond the capture of memories, but it is the memories that matter the most. It is the memories that are truly precious.

PS Please do share your weird and wonderful photos-taken-in-public stories! I'm most sincerely interested :)

This post was brought to you by Sian's Storytelling Sunday

30 comments:

debs14 said...

I think that scrapbooking has taught us all the value of taking photos, and lots of them! So I can well understand your decision to make your precious camera the star of your story this month.

Jennie Hart said...

I so agree Mel. As soon as I started scrapping I saved for a dslr it was an entry level and I have had the best fun with it. My photos are some of my most precious possessions for all the reasons you outline.

Sadly it has become poorly and now this month entirely packed up, I have a long journey with just my phone camera as the one I want is definitely not entry level. Gawd, it's going to take yonks! Never mind, it will be all the more precious for that.

Jimjams said...

No surprise there - you are right about the memories being the important thing and they can be prompted by a perfect photo as well as a blurry one. However if photography is your hobby as well ... it's lovely to have a decent piece of kit. I just wish a DSLR wasn't so blinking heavy/bulky - I might then be tempted!

Louise said...

you are so right Mel. I love using my DSLR. I can't think of the oddest subject i've taken but when we got home from Florida there was a photo of a public convenience sign on my camera - taken by ds1!!!

Karen said...

I am not surprised that your camera ranks amongst your precious items. I love my camera for many reasons but use my phone for convenience to take many photos. I have an app called Camera Zoom FX and it digitally zooms onto the spot you touch on the screen.

Melissa said...

I agree, it's not the camera, but the memories that are captured. I still have much to learn about the DSLR we got over a year ago, however I upgraded to a smart phone (finally) several months ago & found that I can zoom a photo just like I zoom to read small print - touch the screen & pull apart.

Beverly said...

Brilliant choice, Mel!

Karen said...

I'm certainly with you on the value of photographs and the pleasures of photography. One of my favorite quotes is by Dorthea Lang who said that "photography teaches you to see without the camera." Your post brought it to mind.

Cheri said...

No surprise and i can only nod in agreement. My Canon and I have a bit of a love affair going...

The Mann Fam said...

It looks like we are all kindred spirits when it comes to our cameras and taking pictures in the oddest moments and times.

Can't think off hand of the oddest photo I've taken. But I'm glad to have all the photos I have taken.

Mary B said...

Oh Mel I so identify with your taking strange photos in public, I've done it so often I forget people wonder if I'm OK.
I think my strangest one was sitting on the stairs in a shopping arcade taken photos of the fruit I had just bought. It was for a challenge of some kind but I can't remember what now. the security chap came and asked me if I was OK, I had all but finished by them and so got up and said yes and hurried on.

Jane said...

I do agree with you, those moments captured are precious.

dogmatix said...

This is not strange to most people reading this to be honest, but while I was posting my 'Practice Manual Day' photos, hubby was perplexed as to why I had several pictures of a fence rail. He is also constantly looking at me with disapproval when I pull out my phone to take a picture of something that intrigues me so I am learning how to do it without him noticing now...;-)

You are right though. No photo is strange if it holds memories however embarrassed you felt when taking it (my current mantra as I get over my fear of taking photos in public! lol)

Rhona said...

I've loved photography since I was 11 and had my father to look up to, as it was his love also. I love my camera (a Canon though) and would be lost without it but I do also have a point and shoot in my bag and my iPhone takes not too bad pictures too. Whatever is closest is what gets used to capture the shot. However, I'm not always that brave when it comes to taking photos in public - though I'm getting a bit better :) x

Alison said...

It is most definately the memories we capture with our cameras which make the camera/phone or whatever, so special to us!
Alison xx

Angelfish said...

A very good precious to pick this month Mel :o) Mine (and the photos that have come from it) is very special to me too x

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Great pick for this month!

While there is nothing odd about the individual photo I take, its the nature of it that is odd.

On the last day of every month I take a photo of gas prices at the same station for my 365 project. I did this in 2011 & 2012 & am doing it again this year. I park over by the big sign, get out & with my pocket camera or my phone in hand I wander off into the grass, squat down, angle the camera up and take a photo. This is a busy 7-11 gas & food center and every single time I take the photo I get odd looks from people getting gas & there are a few employees who stare at me in the windows if they see me.

I just know they are thinking "There is that crazy lady with the camera again! Just what is she doing?"

Jo said...

This is a really great precious and something I would never have thought of, the tool that takes the photos. You've made me look at my camera with different eyes now and I shall try and experiment with the photos I take now :)

Sian said...

I've said it before, and I'm sure that I'll say it again. Google Reader Next button is excellent, but it works backwards and this can cause embarrassing situations - like now! I am reaching this today because the Reader adds new posts to the top of my list..didn't you want to add it to the linky? Or did I miss it there too? Because that did happen once, and I was mortified. Now I tend to double, double check..

A perfect precious!

Miriam said...

Oh yes a perfect precious indeed. I'm sure it wont be long before my camera features as my precious. I like the idea of weird & wonderful shots, just a case of which ones to leave out in my case...

Mel said...

I love my DSLR too (canon) but recently have been finding it too bulky to lug around so use my phone more.

Chipper said...

Your camera is a beauty and is essential in capturing some of our precious memories on film. I took photography at school and always wanted a fancy SLR camera but it was always out of reach. I did once buy the best point and shoot on the market that enabled me to take photos almost to SLR quality but it was always so cumbersome to carry around and I found that I was missing out on sharing the memories while I was busy photographing them! I now pretty much only use my iPhone to capture those moments worth remembering. It is always on me and readily available, I only use the point and shoot for low light/indoor photos (although I just downloaded an app that might even fix this problem). If you want some tips on using your phone for photography try looking for a blog that uses that platform. If it is an iPhone I would suggest iPhoneography.com as I have found it very helpful in the past. As for the strangest photo - I have often been found laying on the ground to get the angle I want LOL Especially if it is a windmill :-)

Gail said...

What a perfect precious! I am so missing having my own DSLR now but at least I get to use my DH's Canon. I have been thinking though of getting one of the high-end point & shoots.

Scrappi Sandi said...

Ditto...but mines a Canon!!! There's a really good class available over at Jessica Sprague
http://www.jessicasprague.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.pbv.tabs.tpl&product_id=2835&category_id=14&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=293 called 'Motography...Rock your camera phone' starting on 15th February till 21st February...costa $19...with Jessica Sprague & Heidi Swapp! Might help...I'm thinking of signing up as it's just for a week!! :D

Scrappi Sandi said...

p.s. sorry that link broke up but you should still be able to copy & paste it if you want to check out more details of the class! :D

Maria Ontiveros said...

I love my camera, too!
As well as the photographs which I take with it.
Rinda

Becky said...

I love my Canon too! I've had a camera since I was 8 years old - we had friends who worked for Kodak and I eventually ended up there too, so we for cheap processing! I love all the photographic memories I have. A great precious indeed xx

Missus Wookie said...

Oh I love the memories my cameras catch. Confused several people when I said I wasn't getting a DSLR as I wanted one that would fit easily in my bag and not be too heavy.

Hoping you'll look back at the iphone 365 photos just as fondly :)

Clair said...

Hmm. I have a feeling that my oddest photography session included lying on the sand underneath a climbing frame in a local park. Now, I wonder what happened to those photographs....

Jennifer Grace said...

Love your ode to your camera, and especially the reason for loving it, to capture the memories. I need to use mine to capture more everyday moments. Though I don't think I'll be lying down under a lavender bush anytime soon! x