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The Zen of Taking and Sharing Photos

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 12:01 PM in , , , , , ,

On Easter Sunday, before going out for dinner at a friend’s house, my husband and I went down to the Old Port in Montreal and I did something that I’ve always wanted to do.  It may sound crazy but I’ll let you in on the secret: I spent an hour taking photos of the large silos that are on the Highway 15 as you come into Montreal on University St.

Remember how beautiful and warm it was on Easter Weekend? On that day in Montreal, the sun was warm, the sky was a bright blue and there were very photogenic puffy white clouds in the sky.  I even took a few shots through the car window with my Blackberry, uploaded them to Facebook as we were driving down the Eastern Townships Auto route and within minutes, my friends in San Francisco could see the snow on the ski hill in Bromont…and one commented that she liked the shot!

The speed of the technology that we live with still amazes me.  In fact, I’ve just seen a Skype phone advertised. If you can catch broadband wireless, you can have a videophone conversation with someone anywhere in the world on a small phone.  If we had flying cars, we’d be the Jetsons!

The park at the Old Port was crowded with people going for walks and riding their bicycles, but as soon as my husband and I crossed the bridge to the silos, we were truly in a no man’s land.  I know this because a Montreal Amphibus bus went by on its way to the water and the tour guide explained that only drunks and homeless people hang around here.  We did get a lot of strange looks so I played my part and waved to the tourists in hopes that they would return home and tell their friends that Montreal drunks and homeless people are very friendly.

Today’s digital SLR cameras allow you to shoot in different formats and I’m just learning to understand a few.  Most people are familiar with JPEG photos.  This is a compressed format that allows you to send photos in small sizes that make it easy to email, for example.  Another format that is much bigger in size is called RAW.  The advantage with RAW is that the data in the photo is saved in an unprocessed format.  You can manipulate your photos in a program like Photoshop or Aperture (that’s the program that I bought with my Mac; I’ve tried to use Photoshop and I think you need a one year course to understand the program). With these programs, you can fix problems with colour and exposure without degrading the quality of the original digital file.

Because I’m a hobbyist and not a professional, I am sometimes very happy to make a few corrections on a copy of the photo in iPhoto and then either have them professionally printed or just upload them to Facebook to share with my friends.  You can get great snapshots with JPEGs.  All the photos that I have taken on my travels have been done in JPEG and though some of my old film photos may have been slightly sharper, I get many more all-around, better quality photos shooting with a digital camera.

iPhoto makes it very easy to upload photos to Facebook.  You just highlight the photos that you want and click on the Facebook button on the bottom right hand corner of the screen. That’s all you do! I just discovered that the photos don’t even have to be next to one another to select them– you simply hold down the command key and click on the photos that you want to select.

The fun of taking photos is not only the finished product; shooting pictures forces you to really look at what’s around you. You have to focus your mind as well as your camera and on a beautiful day, that’s not hard to do.

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