I am trying to complete my transition into the digital photo age.
I’m not a photographer or even a photo buff, just a mom trying to preserve family memories with an average digital camera. I’ve gotten used to framing shots in the display screen, and I don’t miss buying film. My problem is what to do with the images once I’ve captured them.
I have a list of prints to order for the photo album _ even though I still haven’t found time to slide the last batch into the plastic pockets. I have photos in folders on the desktop _ and in a box with stickers and borders and sheets of colored paper from a scrapbooking kit I bought five years ago and never finished.
I know I need to move forward. My last photo album is almost full; I don’t want to buy another. I know the sensible thing is to store my photos on CDs.
I know there’s probably no need to print more than a few. Yet, as the world around me goes increasingly paperless, I just can’t shake the urge to maintain a hard-copy record of my daughters’ childhood years.
The digital domain has given us new ways to share and display images of the people, places and moments that are important to us. It has also changed what we keep. Thanks to digital photo technology, we can instantly delete
the worst images we capture and easily fix the flaws in the next-worst. Red eyes? Point, click, fixed. Extraneous person walking across the background? Grab that cropping tool.
Since you’re no longer stuck with all those closed-eye, too-dark, goofy-smile shots, you only have to organize the photos you really want to save. And you don’t have to wait long to get them. I remember waiting weeks for the photos from one film to arrive in the mail. Now, I can print dozens in minutes using a touch screen at a local drugstore.
When I was little, we had family slide shows. My dad would haul out the projector, set up the tripod in the middle of the living room and unfurl the white screen. Popcorn would be popping in the kitchen when I sat down at my father’s side, next to a shoebox full of small, orange boxes. The projector hummed, propped on a stack of books to point at the center of the screen, dust dancing in its beam.
One by one, I’d lift out the slides and hand them to my father, careful only to touch the white cardboard edges. Sometimes, I’d peek at the image inside
the square, but I’d only be able to make out a clue: the silhouette of one face, or two, or three. I would always be surprised when the image popped into focus: my sisters and me, with toothless smiles, blowing out candles, in Halloween costumes and Christmas pageants. The last image was always the same: TIME FOR BED, written in purple marker on a blank slide.
Today, there is no waiting. You can see family vacation photos while you’re still on the vacation. When you get home, you can upload the photos and e-mail a friend a slide show of your trip.
Magnetic photo albums are out, scrapbooking is in, and there are picture frames that allow you to display a limited number of stored photos "" or hundreds of photos when you insert your camera’s memory card. Some of the frames even have the ability to download photos through an Internet connection, so you can give Grandma a framed photo _ and send her a new image every week.
Will it be long before we are framing live-action images: a baby’s first steps, a kid’s home run, a couple’s wedding vows? Will the genealogists of the future not know what it’s like to come across a faded snapshot? And when they find a dusty CD labeled "photos," will they still have the technology to access the images?
Even as I wonder if we’re losing something in the leap forward, I am enjoying the conveniences of the digital age. It’s great to be able to look at photos of my girls playing in the snow while their hats and mittens are still soggy.
And when I really want to see an old-fashioned slide show, I can pop in the
DVD my husband made from my dad’s slides.
Lisa Miller is a freelance writer who lives in Oneonta. She can be reached at email@example.com.
I am trying to complete my transition into the digital photo age.
- Lisa Miller
A view from above
Fire towers in the Catskill Mountains have always been destination points, built to capture some of the region’s best views. These sentinel stations served an important role for the earliest possible sightings of forest fires in the remote mountain ranges. But the fire towers and those who manned them fulfilled a multitude of other roles as well.
Being a parent is a constant learning process
I am sitting cross-legged on the floor in the dressing room, waiting for Allie's dance number to be called. The cave girl costume has been donned, the jazz shoes double-tied, the hair pulled back, the requisite dab of lipstick applied.
Healthy doesn't have to mean expensive
Half of Americans will be obese by 2030 if current trends continue, according to a report released last week in the British medical journal The Lancet.
A family era ends with close of Potter series
As Harry Potter fans the world over flock to theaters for the final screenings of the final film in the eight-part series, I'm marking the end of an era myself, reading the last pages of the last book to my last child.
Independent stores make up for loss of Borders
For many small communities, the Borders store at the nearest mall was the only place to browse and buy a variety of books, beyond the few titles offered in Walmart bestseller and bargain racks.
- Saturday, July 2, 2011
Untethered from the cable box
I never imagined it would be so easy to be cable-free.
- Saturday, June 11, 2011
On cells, sprouts and sodas
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- Saturday, May 21, 2011
End of the world as we know it? I feel fine
If you're reading this article after 6 p.m. and the ground is not shaking beneath your feet, then Harold Camping was wrong. Again.
- Sunday, May 1, 2011
Song lyrics are an odd measure of attitudes
It was the third rainy weekend in a row, and I was scrolling through comments to a post by MSNBC blogger Melissa Dahl about a new study linking song lyrics to cultural changes.
- Saturday, April 9, 2011
Parenting adventure takes a turn
On Friday, my 13-year-old daughter, Abby, will embark on the biggest adventure of her life.
- Saturday, March 19, 2011
Japan devastation: Powerful reminder of our limitations
The images were surreal. People screaming from higher ground as they watched the relentless wave of brown water sweep up houses and topple power lines. Cars and boats floating like bath toys. Aerial photos of flattened villages, with crumpled roofs jutting out of the debris-laden landscape and orange-suited rescue workers like ants on a mountain of twigs.
- Saturday, February 26, 2011
As food prices rise, sustainability makes more business sense
Frustration with high food prices is among the underlying causes of the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, and a global food crisis may be brewing.
- Tuesday, February 8, 2011
National agenda needed to advance green technology
In his State of the Union address, President Obama issued a call to action for Americans to "out-innovate" the rest of the world and build on our history of doing "big things." Green technology is the next big thing, and it's our best hope to reinvent ourselves as competitors in the global economy. But we won't get there without a comprehensive national agenda supported by all parties -- political, yes, but also businesses, consumers, educators and students.
- Saturday, January 15, 2011
Shootings remind us of need to teach children to hope
They should have been chattering about spelling tests and Hannah Montana songs. But instead, the two second-graders in my backseat were talking about the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. They had heard about it at school and were commiserating over the "sad" and "creepy" news as we drove home for a play date.
- Friday, December 3, 2010
Marketing tactics could get kids to eat healthy foods
In a new twist on the "Super Size Me" fast-food diet experiment, the executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission ate nothing but spuds for 60 days.
- Saturday, November 13, 2010
'Oneonta 360' captures essence of our area
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- Saturday, October 23, 2010
Stem cell research must move forward
Robert Edwards of Britain received the Nobel Prize in medicine earlier this month for research that led to the birth of the first "test-tube baby" in 1978. Hugely controversial 32 years ago, Edwards' work is now lauded as a medical breakthrough that has brought immeasurable joy to the families of the 4 million babies born through in vitro fertilization.
- Saturday, October 2, 2010
Supersized salmon? No thanks
Davenport Garden Center owner Dennis Valente drizzled maple syrup over sweet potatoes in the cafeteria kitchen while a group of sixth-graders topped pizza crusts with pesto they'd made using basil from their school garden.
- Saturday, September 11, 2010
Chobani yogurt: Nothing but good for the area
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- Saturday, August 21, 2010
Summer is a perfect time to unplug
Last month, I wrote about the rewards of disconnecting from information technology during a weeklong family camping trip. Since then, I've picked blueberries, skipped rocks, curled up with my 6-year-old and a pile of books, walked in the woods, and spent a gorgeous day at the lake picnicking with friends and watching the kids swim.
- A view from above