Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gearing up?

This morning, I'm pondering whether buying a fancy SLR is a silly idea or brilliant. Is this just an obsession with neato toys? Or, if I have the fancy camera (Nikon D3000, a starter SLR, around $500), will I actually figure out how to use it enough that I can take, if not fantastic pictures, at least serviceable, publishable pictures to back up whatever stories I might some day actually write? Hard to say.

My mother is famous for filling the basement with craft-project pinecones and now having an attic full of 17 boxes of material for quilting projects that, largely, remain UFOs (unfinished objects). Is this just the gathering-parts gene at work?

I've had my dips of purchasing insanity. Years ago, I bought some writing software. The problem was, while it would have made everything all neat and tidy, I still had to write - to come up with the ideas and characters and string everything together in some sort of story. That I had places to put everything was nice, but I never did much more than make a few notes that any small file could have contained. Clearly, a useless bit of equipment.

I do like taking pictures, and did take zillions on my summer travels with my point and shoot. What I don't know is how to actually use any of the settings. I don't understand F-stops, lighting, even focusing. There are features listed for this camera are utterly mysterious. Maybe I'd figure it out and it would become second nature and I could focus on the art, much the way grammar is just a given in the world of writing, the rules you follow (well, most of the time) to weave the tapestry. Then again, maybe it's a toy that sits on the shelf. Hmm.

I do know that I finally figured out why I was so irritable about a friend starting up what is so far a rather cool site, Magnesium Photos. He is a photographer - an obsessive, I-take-my-camera-everywhere, don't-breathe-you'll-mess-up-my-photo variety. And the way he spoke about the words, as just filler, something that any ole person can do to fill the space, annoyed me, much the same way that it would annoy him if I said, oh, you know, photographs are all the same, as long as they're in focus. We have our biases. I'm a writer that likes taking pictures on occasion to acccessorize what I've said. He's a photographer that sometimes writes to explain the pictures.

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