Saturday, June 24, 2017

New Media Trends Today Make For Fond Memories Tomorrow

Photographing with a Mamiya C 330

Rick Smith with Mamiya C 330

I’m in Florida this week where I just attended my 40-year high school reunion. It’s events like these that really make you realize how times have changed, especially in the technology of the media industry that I’m in.

So allow me to journey down memory lane…

In preparing for this event, I pulled out my old photo album and came across this photo of me as a young photographer at age 20. That’s a 2-1/4″ Mamiya C-330 twin lens reflex camera in my hands. For those of you who have only known 35mm and digital cameras, let me explain that with a twin lens reflex, the image you see in the viewfinder was not only flipped, but due to parallax (there are probably some of you who have shot with this type of camera and remember what I’m describing here), you couldn’t really tell exactly what would be in the final image, i.e. “did you cut off anyone’s head or feet?” Plus it used roll film and was HEAVY!

It was manual focus only and had no built in exposure meter. My boss would send me out without a light meter. The upshot was that I got pretty darn good at gauging the exposure visually, with and without flash, determining the correct shutter speed and f-stop based on the film (ASA) speed, lighting conditions and distance to the subject. After a while it became automatic to make those calculations on the run and I got pretty darned good at it.

Looking back, I’m amazed at how well my photos turned out! I also owned a Super 8 film camera with which you had to do the same. (I have no photo of me with that camera unfortunately.) And I spent way too many hours in the darkroom processing film and making prints, which I why I absolutely love Photoshop software now.

Canon t2i in Rick's hands

Rick with Canon t2i, August 2010

Today, I have one camera that shoots both huge stills and high definition, 1080p video, my Canon T2i HDSLR. Now my camera does those complex exposure calculations in a blink. Now my challenge is having to figure out how to get the type of image I want using the extensive menu controls.

Even though what I love best is that I can see my image seconds after I push the button, the added complexity is sometimes a pain and I long for the old days when I could trust my own intuition and experience with the camera.

The technology today is so beyond what we even imagined back then. We didn’t have cordless phones, much less cell phones. Heck, the push-button phone was the newfangled gadget.

Living near Cape Canaveral in the late 1960s, I saw every Apollo space launch, and it was exciting. Not only that, the technology used to do this was state-of-the-art. At the reunion, people were using their cell phone cameras and uploading their photos to the internet. Do you realize that the average cell phone has far more computing power than the computer aboard the Apollo missions that guided men to the moon, and those computers kept crashing because they couldn’t handle the data.

At the reunion I shot video with my Flip camera, uploaded it through my laptop computer through a free wi-fi connection to the reunion’s Facebook account on the internet. These devices and services weren’t even on the drawing board when my class graduated in 1970, yet we now have a generation that has never known a time without them.  It still “blows my mind” to borrow a phrase from my youth.

So what is my point with all of this reminiscing? Simply to point out that we are on a technological magic carpet ride, where the wildest dream of today becomes commonplace tomorrow. The one thing that I hope will never change is the joy of seeing old friends IN PERSON from years past, and the knot in the throat when you have to hug them goodbye.

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Comments

2 Responses to “New Media Trends Today Make For Fond Memories Tomorrow”
  1. Matt says:

    I love DSLRS! Im glad to see you working with one, and i totally agree with your blog technology here we come!

    • Rick Smith says:

      I love my DSLRS too…I have the Canon t2i. In fact next week, I’ll be working with Perry Lawrence from AskMrVideo.com on a DVD series that will be a tutorial for that camera and I’ll be getting intensive hands-on experience. You’ll see a lot more posts on that subject in the future.

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