Dire weather forecasts aside, our mid-winter vacation in southern Oregon turned out to be quite a success. We got in a lot of roaming around all over the countryside; visited an impressive little museum in Klamath Falls; even thoroughly enjoyed embarrassing ourselves at a bowling alley one evening. We did NOT end up getting trapped in our room for days on end by the weather.
We left the frozen tundra of the Klamath basin on Saturday; arrived back in the frozen tundra of PDX-land on Sunday. Once this stuff goes away, I think I will have had my fill of snow for at least another year.
But if this vacation has turned me off snow for awhile, it has turned me off one other thing: photography. The new camera proved to be way more than I can or want to handle. I even took time to watch an hour-long you-tube video that amounted to "Nikon D7200 for dummies" in a vain effort to understand enough about the over-the-top technology of the thing to get it to a point where I can get acceptable pictures out of it. No dice. I still ended up with unclear, off-color images 90% of the time. It was an exercise in frustration that tainted my enjoyment of my vacation rather than enhancing it. Bah!
Sure, it has a button for this and a dial for that, and six-ways-to-Sunday to adjust the exposure, shutter speed, ISO and aperture. I can touch this button for low light-situations, this dial for bright light or back light, make this adjustment for infinity pictures, another for macro, and yet another for telephoto. This camera will do a million different things, if I just make the right combination of adjustments. But who wants to have to do all that crap every time you pick up the camera and point it at something? What a pain in the ass!!!!
And in the end, a photographer friend of mine conceded that "we all try to get the most out of the camera in the field, but... putting time into post-processing [will make] a dramatic difference." That suggests I need to invest time and money I don't have into acquiring a program like "Lightroom" to process my photos, and shoot "RAW" images, then painstakingly download and "process" every image. By the way, "Lightroom" is an Adobe product--I HATE Adobe. They are the least intuitive programs out there. You need to take a fucking class just to figure out how to use the damn things, and it takes months of using and practicing with the programs to be able to get any results, much less acceptable ones.
I once thought of digital photography as a gift from the gods. It was such a liberating technology for hobby photographers...no more investing mucho bucks into film and processing of pictures of which 90% were garbage. No more boxes and boxes of photos to search through to find the one of Mom's 80th birthday or the trip to Mt. St. Helens. I got my first digital camera in 2002 and have never looked back.
But like everything these days, the technology has morphed into more of a burden than a blessing. There is no such thing as beauty in simplicity. If you have a device, it needs to be able to do more and more and more and more. No matter that the "more and more" are things you didn't ask for and will never use. It has to be "cutting edge." If some new trick is conceived, they slap it on there. Just because. And after awhile, all that extraneous crap begins to inhibit rather than enhance the original function of the device.
So it is with DSLR's, in my humble opinion. I don't want to take HD movies, or record stereo sound, or connect to Wi-Fi (a significant portion of the $1400 price tag of the camera went toward these features that I don't want and won't use); or get shitty images with a lot of "potential" that I have to screw around with in the digital darkroom to make decent. I want to point the camera at something, make a few minor adjustments, if necessary, and shoot the damn picture. Then download decent images right from the camera to my laptop. Why is that so hard?
I have two choices: I can either commit to taking the camera out "practice" shooting a couple of hours every day until I master the complicated technology, then spend additional hours downloading and processing the images, or I can bag it. And it looks like I'll have to bag it at least for now, because I have a pretty full schedule, with an event coming up in a month, plus my commitment to begin sorting through and weeding out "things that no longer serve" around my house, plus the commitment I made the first of this year to posting ten journal entries per month. There are only so many hours in a day, and I move a lot slower than I used to. The $1400 camera is going to have to be set aside for awhile...and I may ultimately decide IT is a "thing that no longer serves." Sigh!