Saturday, May 19, 2007

My Fourth Grade Class

For my birthday, I received a Kodak Brownie Holiday Flash camera outfit. No, not a recent birthday, I was in the fourth grade at the time. I brought my new camera to school and took a picture of my class. Of course, I used the flash because, well, I wanted to show it off. Examining that photo today, I’m reminded of how powerful those flashbulbs were. I was standing just inside the doorway to the classroom. My classmates in the back row (but closest to the camera) are overexposed but even the teacher, Mrs. Bonner, is lit by that flashbulb.

That Brownie was a fully automatic camera in that no focusing was required and the exposure – both shutter speed and aperture – required no attention from the photographer. It came out in 1954 and cost $5; it used 127 film. I recall that it was quite expensive to use, especially when funded by my allowance, and that black and white prints were more economical. I took very few photos in those days; if I ever get the chance to do it all over again, I’ll take many more.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Grand Canyon Panorama

We were hiking in the Grand Canyon towards “the best view of the sunset” when I stopped to get this scene. It’s a good thing that I stopped because that “best view” didn’t happen and because I especially like this shot.

A panorama is a wide view and especially if wide as compared to height. Panoramic photographs were (and still are) made with special cameras, wide angle lenses and strips of film. Like many aspects of photography, digital cameras and editors have changed panoramic photography as well. This particular image is composed of nine separate shots using a Canon G3 digital camera. The separate images were “stitched” together in Adobe Photoshop CS3.

A panorama should be printed instead of displayed on a screen. There is almost no point in showing a panorama on the Internet or even on a computer unless it can be panned for viewing. In the tiny image above, all detail is lost. The print shows the other members of our hiking group. Of course, the print – even at 1 foot high and 8 feet long – is miniscule compared to the actual view.