Resolution: Photograph less, live more!

Today my daughter invited me, on about an hour’s notice, to join her at the Portland Japanese Garden; apparently this is the first time in its 50-year history that they’ve opened this magnificent garden on New Year’s Day! So, since it is one of my very favorite places in Portland, I decided to go. It’s a clear and sunny day here today, but quite cold and frosty in the morning, so I couldn’t wait to get there and start taking pictures.

Problem: in the rush to get out the door, I simply could not lay my hands on my camera. Aargh. (I had my iPhone, which takes decent pictures, but I like to take extreme close-ups, and for great quality, I really needed my “real” camera.) After some frantic searching, I gave up, sighed, and left for the Garden.

On the way there, I thought about this, especially that sense of “Ooh, can’t wait to take some pictures!” I was going to the Japanese Garden, reputed to be the finest and most authentic of its kind outside of Japan, but all I was thinking about was snapping away with my camera. I wondered: When does photographing an experience actually take over the experience? Continue reading

Silk Purses: A Creative Use for a So-So Photo

Maybe it’s because I just watched a “What Not To Wear” rerun, but I’m in a makeover mood today. As a graphic designer, I have often used less-than-perfect photos in unusual ways. I started in photography before digital cameras came on the scene, so I was already in the habit of trying to find uses for my “rejects” of film photography (of which there were many). I wanted to turn the proverbial sow’s ear into a silk purse, in fact.

Now that we don’t have to feel that we’re wasting money by throwing out film-based photos, we often find it all too easy to just trash those images we don’t think are useable; I’ve done it myself. But when I realized that I take a huge number of photos just for the sake of capturing colors, I started to think of every single shot in a new way. Could I do a digital makeover on so-so pictures? And how could I use the results? Continue reading