Not so much…
So I’ve gone all in — Lightroom all the way. I’ve been importing photos all evening, and in the process, I’ve learned a thing or two.
First, the number of photos was actually a little surprising. When it was all said and done, over seventy thousand photos over a span of eighteen years, with most of them being over the last thirteen years or so.
Second, the spread: most years, I was taking around three to four thousand pictures. In 2013, the number jumped up six thousand pictures. In 2014, it was just under ten thousand. And in 2015, I topped ten thousand pictures. Not sure why that change happened, but it’s stayed roughly in that range since then. In 2017, I’ve taken almost three and a half thousand pictures, so it seems to be down this year. Of course, we’re going to Poland this summer, so it will likely shoot back up.
Of course Lightroom is not just a photo organization tool, and so I’ve spent the evening playing with some of the old photos I imported.
Sometimes, I do very little, like al ittle darkening of spots.
Sometimes, I like to try to give it an edgy feel.
And every now and then, it’s been fun just to push everything to its limits: pump up the colors, the contrast, the clarity — everything.
Why couldn’t this have been on a Friday night? Why didn’t the schedulers realize the entertainment value of this debate? Still, I think back over the years and can’t understand how we got here, and yet I understand perfectly how we got here.
Yet how did our family get here?
Ten years ago, we lived in Asheville.
Fifteen years ago, we lived in Poland.
And yet that’s just us — the two of us. What matters now is the four of us.
So many things started for me in Poland. Of course the most obvious is my family. I met K soon after my arrival, and now close to twenty years later, I can’t imagine life without her. I also fell in love with cycling while in Poland, eventually buying a road bike that I rode many, many kilometers. I sold that a few years ago to raise money for my other Polish-born love: photography.
In between the time I first decided I needed a better camera — which was about two or three weeks after arriving in Lipnica — and the images I made today, I’ve amassed a small collection of various cameras, including several Russian models I bought in Poland or K brought to the marriage.
Today, the Boy discovered them and absolutely had to look at them all. The Russian range finders were a favorite as they were small and fit his hands. The twin-lens reflex camera was a mystery: I couldn’t explain to him that you hold it waist level and look down into the view finder.
But he was a quick learner: it was only the second camera that the questions from the first experience appeared: “Daddy, how do you take the picture?” which is to say, “Where is the shutter release?” “Daddy, how do you move the picture?” which is to ask, “Where is the film advance?”
The irony of the situation was on the other side of the lens. I spent so much time lusting after bigger and “better” cameras over the years. The Nikon D2X captivated me until the release of the D3. The D4 of course replaced that, and then came the D5. And it would be pointless to mention that, at around $6,000 for the body alone, these professional cameras are and always will be out of our price range. So I contented myself with the so-called prosummer D300, which is now of course ancient history.
And then there are the lenses. The real magic of the camera is the glass, and my dream lens to go with my dream camera is about $2,000. Again, out of my price range.
The irony? My favorite camera now is our little Fuji digital range finder.
No zoom. No bells. About as plain a camera as one could wish for.
So now I’m dreaming of a $6,000 Leica M9 digital range finder…
Silly boys and their toys.
Pictures for the day — a day of exploring and bike riding of old — are trapped on the memory card. The cable to connect the camera is still in Poland; the built-in card reader isn’t working. And so the pictures remain on the camera…
Saturday evening, with the air not so warm but also cloudless, I thought I might be able to get a shot of the Tatras. It’s a difficult shot to get because of the haze that usually clouds the view from Jabłonka in the summer. You have to be right in front of them to get a clean shot. So I headed out in the early evening, and almost on cue, clouds began sweeping in.
It still amazes me how this region can go from the one extreme to the other so suddenly. It’s not like a few clouds appear, then a few more, then still more until the sky is gray. No — it’s a line of gray that suddenly appears and seems to put a lid over the whole region. Suddenly the sky doesn’t seem endless, for the clouds aren’t even that high. It’s as if you can reach up and touch them.
Still, I continued to the spot in the fields I always go to when I want to photograph the Tatras. It’s only about a ten minute walk from Babcia’s, so for an impulsive photo-walk, it’s perfect. Still, the conditions were far from ideal. It took a fair amount of fiddling on the computer to keep the mountains from blending into the sky.
As for Sunday, a stay-at-home day. Mass, lunch, packing for L — she heads off to camp tomorrow. And finally, a recreation from the last Poland visit.
This time of year, we always get everyone together for a full family portrait. We go to a park or just pile up some leaves and get a few shots of the four of us, the six of us, the two of them. This year, with a carpet of yellow in the backyard, there was only one option.
First, the Girl and I went out for some test shots while the Boy took his nap. The light was just right, but Nana and Papa weren’t due for another two hours, so I went in and arranged an earlier arrival.
In fact, though, the light had been absolutely sublime in the morning.
But who wants to head out at eight in the morning in sub-freezing weather for portraits?
But light is light: unless you’re shooting in the middle of the day without any shade, a little creativity can produce good results no matter the angle of the light.
Besides, there are always props and post-processing. On second thought, perhaps the clothes are a bit off. Oh well.
It’s the idea that counts in art, isn’t it?
Our neighbors had a couple of backyard visitors the yesterday. They live in the woods behind our and our neighbors’ line of houses, and I often see them circling above as they hunt. (Their arrival surely explains the decline in the chipmunk and squirrel populations.)
One hopped about a bit, trying to get more comfortable
and coincidentally making it easier for me to get a good shot.
But eventually I ventured too close, and it retreated.