Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Goodbye, summer...

Summer stock photo

Summer has not yet left us, but it is usually right after Labor Day that I begin to reflect on the passing seasons. Magazine and newspaper writers have, since print began, regaled us in our/their memories of golden summers, the coming of fall, and the general sneakiness of time. A similar reversal of words reminds us to put away our winter coats and fling open the closets of spring. Of all the seasons, we are never happy to see summer fade into the frozen days of winter. Try as we may, we never seem to get enough days out of fall.

I could talk about the way the trees begin to ready for bed, or how I listen to the scurrying of squirrels as they dance about on crisp fallen leaves, seeking out and storing their winter stashes, or perhaps like us, just enjoying the last of the romping weather, or how, looking up at the sky, when I hear that familiar inherit pattern of travel, I bid the geese go safety as they make their trek to a warmer climate. 

Fall is indeed, a beautiful time when the air is fresh, and leaves, foods, and clothes take on warm, cozy colors that beckon us, "Do not go sadly into the frozen night."

I admit I enjoy digging out my first fall sweaters and favorite bum-around-the-house sweatshirts, but I will leave the trivial verbiage of what was and will come to the writers of the world, and make this a post on what is everlasting. Photographs. Well, practically everlasting, so long as they are preserved.

I know many people, I being one of them, who like to step out of photos when the camera comes out. I know what a mistake that is because I have been to many places, and have few photos of myself. In my defense, it was not my job to return from assignments with photos of myself, but still, I get cranky when someone points a camera at me.  Being absent in family photos does not concern me as much as it will my son and grandson, who will pass on my slides, negatives, and archived computer photos to future generations, where  perhaps one day, some not-yet-born relative will stick them in a yard sale and sell them to strangers who will, for awhile, gaze at them in wonder. They will be admired, filed in a box, thrown around, passed on, or sold on a futuristic EBAY, eventually one day going the way of new fallen squirrel-trampled leaves. I would hope they would be more "everlasting" than that, but one never knows.

I guess what I am getting at is after you slip into your fall colors, "step into" your photos. Neither hair, nor makeup, nor clothes make a photo. It is you, being human, crazy-faced, and all, enjoying what the seasons have given you, whether it be be sun or snow. Seasons change beach days to Christmas trees in a flash. Take time to savor the small moments, and never hesitate to freeze those moments, or to be in them. Smart phones make it so much easier to capture our happy times. But beware of those smart phones. Each photo you capture is like a rare butterfly. Make sure you want to let it go. Before digital cameras ruined the "art" of photography (there, I said it), I had to work for a photograph, not just at calculating camera settings and determining the composition, but by putting the film into the camera, film I had rolled, thirty-six exposures to a roll is all I had before I had to reload. Slides had to be sent off or developed by a special color developer at the newspaper, but the black and whites were all one me. I had to develop the film, fix the film, dry the film, edit the film, do photo strip tests under the enlarger because paper was expensive, settle on my exposure, and burn and dodge until I was satisfied with the results. I then had to develop the photo, fix the photo, squeegee the photo, hang it up and let it dry, and when working for a daily newspaper, my photos had to be in the hands of an editor, oftentimes within minutes. I have handed my share of wet photos to nervous editors.

Do I cherish my older photos? You bet I do, much more than anything I  get out of my digital cameras. When I look back at all of my hard-worked photos I realize, had I had a delete button, some of them might not be here today. The technological age is terrific, and for me the best thing about it is not having to do all that messy developing, and having to remove a few specs of dust or scratches on a negative was time consuming. Still, there is sadness in watching an art form disappear, kind of like watching the seasons disappear, except Nature always returns. Technology just changes. 

 Before digital cameras and affordable editing software, deadlines and darkrooms killed many aspiring photojournalists. Today, anyone can learn how to take decent photos with a good digital camera and a few lessons at a community college. And smart phones are pretty darned smart. So though I have a love-hate relationship with technology, I encourage everyone to take advantage of the amazing world of digital cameras. Capture and preserve the moments and people you love. Twenty years from now, you may be able to simply "think" a photo in your head and have it pop out of a printer. Who knows?

I have always said nothing warms us better in the frigid winter like sneaking out our summer photos and enjoying them with a hot steaming cup of coffee or tea. A summer photo reminds us that winter is not forever, and that spring, in all her glory, will return once again. Enjoy the last of yet another season, and don't let those rare butterflies get away.

Fall resolutions? Do you have any fall resolutions? I always make seasonal resolutions. Why save them for just that one week in January, which is about all they last, anyway? My fall resolution is to have someone take more photos of me, even in my favorite ratty sweatshirt.

1 comment:

Tess Kincaid said...

Wonderful image. Oh, how labs love water. I miss our two big ol' yellow labs. They were forever sneaking off to swim in the Scioto.