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Lazy is such a negative word. I wouldn’t say I shun the work, more like I pick my focus. Lethargic just seem so much more forgiving. It would seem I’ve become abstracted about photography. This was brought sharply into focus when I handed my camera to Laura  and asked her to take a few shots of the crew at the store for upcoming ads I was creating.

I came from the days of film and darkrooms, Kodachrome vs. Ektachrome. For six years, everywhere I lived around the globe, one of the first improvements made to every home was the addition of a darkroom. Luckily we lived in palatial houses reserved for ex-pats so there was no shortage of bathrooms to convert to the workspaces. We hoarded film in the fridge like precious caviar and purchased huge quantities when we visited the States or Singapore. Getting it processed was often difficult and many precious rolls returned blank, images lost forever.

Our friends all had elaborate photographic equipment as well. It was relatively inexpensive in Asia and many carried cameras home to sell or give to relatives, allowing for constant upgrades of their own arsenal. Maybe because we were so far from our birthplaces, and the end product was so unpredictable and expensive, we took time and care with every shot, we studied the mechanics of the light. I can’t tell you how many light meters I owned. Through-The-Lens metering was in its infancy and the technology was delicate. Travel is tough on delicate equipment. Yet, when I look back through the “lens” of the slides and prints I made back then, I realize I’ve grown so lazy.

Photography is Laura’s art and career. Her equipment is impressive and the results stunning. Though everyone gets a great shot with a phone every once in while, Laura creates beautiful images consistently. So when I handed her the equivalent of a digital 35mm point-and-shoot, she stumbled. She asked simple enough questions in a language I used to speak, “manually setting the aperture or shutter speed?” I couldn’t answer. I have turned off all that knowledge since stepping into the land of digital. Shooting wantonly, viewing instantly and having editing power at my fingertips versus loading a roll of 24 shots into the camera, unloading and processing a contact sheet so I can decide what to print. This has made me so an indolent photographer.

My Nikon has lots of settings. It can do everything Laura was asking. I have no idea how to do it, what buttons to push and dials to turn. The dog-eared manual is battered, not from overuse, but from the many changes in camera bags over the years. The camera is trustworthy and bomb-proof and with enough shots to choose from and the quick fixes on the computer. I am not dissatisfied enough with my work to make the effort to learn how to do these things again in this lifetime.

I hope I still at least have the eye…

Bali Man copy

18 comments on “Lethargic

  1. Doppleganger says:

    That you do, never fear! the things we do by rote, no thought required, should amaze us. Things have become much easier certainly, digital clocks, velcro shoe ties, computers themselves, automatic transmissions…. but, riding a bike, tacking a horse, using a 35mm manual camera, shifting gears in a car at just the right time, are easy for some, and will always give those of us that can do it, pleasure as well as impress those who cant. Something to be said for being our age! Lazy, lethargic, I think not…. Just more talented….!

    1. All great examples of things we take for granted once learned. I am willing to go for the cheap and easy route these days with my photography, but I am happy I learned the “old fashioned” way. Thanks Doppleganger!!

  2. julieallyn says:

    Oh, you definitely have the eye, Martha. I love your photos!

    I can relate on one level for sure. One of my 2015 bucket list items is learning to master the new Canon 70D we purchased last fall but more ‘pressing’ activities have taken precedence. Still – it’s something I’d very much like to do. The joy for me, however, is the hunt, the searching, the always looking at my surroundings, the composition, light and colors. That’s what gives me the most pleasure – that and capturing the images and memories for a lifetime and sharing them with others. That, too, makes for a photographer, does it not?

    1. Searching and seeing are 90% of the game, Julie and you certainly do very well at those!!

  3. I don’t think you ever lose the eye.

    1. Thank you, like riding a bike?

  4. Touring NH says:

    Thank you for your kind words about my images. It isn’t laziness, you’d rather use your mind to compose a scene than to fiddle with camera settings. You created beautiful images then and you still do now.

    1. Thank you Laura! I like your explanation better than mine.

  5. Marie Keates says:

    Laura’s photos are wonderful and yours are too. I have no technical knowledge whatsoever. In fact I use my phone for all my photos and wouldn’t know what to adjust even if I could. My son studied photography and often tells me, ‘you can’t shoot that Mum,’ but I do anyway. Sometimes he’s right but others I get a picture that proves him wrong. At college I studied art, so my pictures may not be technically great but I know what will make a good one. Technical knowledge is all very well but, without the eye, it is wasted.

    1. Very wise Marie. Thank you!! Your shots with your phone inspire me as I am totally befuddled by mine. I always get a thumb in my phone shots!!

      1. Marie Keates says:

        I occasionaly get a thumb in mine too if it’s any consolation 🙂

  6. Martha, your Bali Man is stunning! You definitely have the eye – boy, do you ever! I would love to hear the story behind this shot. Great observations on this digital age of photography. We too used to have a bathroom converted to a dark room. Oh, those were the days. 🙂 ~Terri

    1. Bathroom photography, Terri. We probably learned more from printing our own black and white shots than anyone can learn today with digital. My Bali man is long gone I’m sure. I encountered him on the road to Denpasar one day and he was the epitome of Balinese culture – smiling, happy and totally comfortable in his own skin. Thank you!!

    1. Thank you James and Terri!!

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