Saturday, January 31, 2015

Catching Up With My Past

Gray treefrog, Nikkormat FT2, 2001
When I first got really, really serious about photography in 2000, I wanted to become more proficient at macro photography to be able to take photographs of insects and flowers, as well as other scenes from nature that appealed to me.  I had been using cameras since I was in high school, and while I learned a few things over the years, I never really delved into the mechanics, aesthetics, and possibilities of photography.  My first year, from 2000-2001, I immersed myself in reading all I could about nature  and macro photography, and nobody wrote better books about it than John Shaw.  His books and videos inspired me a great deal, and like many beginners, I also fell into the trap of trying to emulate what he was doing.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially when it comes to doing macro work.  You must learn the techniques for best results.  However, in the days of shooting slide film, I shot a LOT of slides to get sort of where I needed to be.  I am glad that I did, though, because those slides are reminders that before the age of digital dominance, I could get quite a few good shots on a roll of 36 exposures of whatever slide film I was using.  They were not ALL good, however.  Lots of learning went into those, and I am glad that at that time, getting a roll processed was pretty cheap.  
Tent caterpillars, Nikon FE, 2002

So, the title of this post comes from me literally catching up with my past accumulation of 35mm slides.  Boxes and boxes of them.  laying them out on the light table and pitching the awful ones, the ones that have no real use, and keeping the good exposures, the ones that show a clear idea of subject, and of course, the ones that have photos of people and places.  Things that change over time, are frozen in time when you photograph them.  I am not the man now that I was in 1986 or 2001.  Some of the slides featured shots of volunteers that worked with my wife, and the ones she photographed in 1991 are all dead now.   Some of the slides are from the 1980s, when I was active in model rocketry.  Most of those will get pitched except for the ones with people I knew, and the ones that were shot at places where we did launches for the public.So, yes, I am catching up to my past by going through these slides -- some of them I have not looked at in 10 years or more.  When I am done, they will all be properly labeled as much as needed, and stored in archival slide pages in 3-ring binders or hanging files.  Want to see what's there?  Hold it up to the light.
Prickly ash, 2002. Nikon FE.

Imagine if these were all digital files... Nobody would see them.  They would just be file names on a disk somewhere (if it still existed).  The past could easily be erased, which is a sad thought.

me, 1986 near Rantoul, IL.

Bob Rau, with his thrust stand setup run via a Tandy Color
Computer. 1986
Adrienne and Jorie, near Carlsbad, NM 2003.

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