Saturday, July 14, 2012

Digital Photography: A blessing and a curse for my obsessive tendencies

It started last month when I decided to go through all the photographs I took with my film SLR camera. I had 3 boxes and probably a dozen more envelopes filled with pictures. This activity in and of itself is nothing new.  I will pull these photos out once in awhile in search of a specific picture, or just to reminisce. But something clicked, or went haywire in my brain because I decided right then and there that I needed organize the photos, ALL of them, including the digital pictures stored on the computer.

Sorting through the paper photographs was simple enough, but I got vastly overwhelmed after an hour of looking at my digital photographs. Do you realize how many digital pictures I've taken since 2002? THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS. When I realized I had photographs stored in 3 computers and 2 laptops (the photos from the various computers/laptops were stored in an external hard drive) I stopped sorting. I had to come up with a more specific goal than sorting just for sortings sake. What did I want to do with these photographs? Did I want to print them? Share them as gifts? Sell them?

 I could begin with the 2 empty photo collages I had stashed in the bedroom closet. But how in the world could I pick 2 dozen photographs from a selection of thousands? I got stuck here for at least a week before finally deciding that each collage would have a theme. Coming up with a subject  for the first collage was easy; I would fill it with the photos from our 2010 Alaska trip. Done. The subject for the second collage frame eluded me for a few days before I settled on birds. At least 75% of my photographs are birds and I had only 9 slots and another week passed before I picked the winners for the collage.

Once the collages were finished I decided to create a website to share my photographs and perhaps even sell a few. And that is where I am now, sorting, organizing and deciding on which pictures will go on the website. Every day I spend about an hour (sometimes more) picking photographs from the various folders, touching them up and posting them on the website.

Each folder is similar to unwrapping a gift because there are so many pictures that I forgot I had taken, or I revisit some photo and decide it's not so bad after touching it up. Through the photographs taken over the years I have seen my skill improve and presently I realize that I experimented a lot more then than I do now (which needs to change). I've taken photographs of breathtaking vistas in the Northwest and Great Plains, snapped pictures of the smiling faces and laughter of friends and family, captured the beauty and grace of captive and wild animals and the quirks of family pets.

So much beauty, so many memories, so many pictures.

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