Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cameras

I was half-watching George Romero's Diary of the Dead recently. It follows in shaky documentary style the travels and travails of college film crew as they film themselves in the usual zombie infested landscape of western Pennsylvania. One scene,where a female student is haranguing the never seen,but sometimes heard obsessive compulsive camera operator, struck a chord with me. She asks him something along the lines of " so if you don't get it on video then it didn't happen?" Well,the problem is,for too many of us ( mostly males) this is kind of true,which may explain my gender's obsession with pornography.We are a culture now of images both still and moving,and becoming less and less one of words,either written or spoken. A few years back, I read John Muir's My First Summer in the Sierra, and I felt I was right there with him,page after page in Yosemite or high on some Sierra Nevada peak. No images were necessary. I could see everything in a way that even the greatest photographers of the day could not capture: I was seeing through another man's eyes. In the past, I have often, especially when fishing, completely forgotten to take pictures on my outdoor adventures. I write my blog about this hike or that fishing trip and feel empty inside because I have no pictures to serve as either "proof" or just as touchstone for my memory. I bought a 35mm SLR a few years back, and it made me become more and more conscious of being a photographer( however amateurish). Now, there's no going back-the taking of pictures is an integral part of the experience. Still I hope that people will read my words. I still like to get my information that way. It still gives the opportunity to express precisely. All of this is my long way round of saying that on my last 2 hikes I, first forgot the picture card for my recently acquired Pentax Digital SLR, second,on my most recent hike left the camera in the truck( which I guess is a little better than hauling it to no purpose up a mountain). The ubiquitous cell phone came to the rescue, for which I was glad because for the purposes of the internet, its quality is sufficient. I was also sad that it is so hard just to " be" in the land,fishing ,hiking camping,hunting,wildlife watching or whatever else it might be,without thinking of our cameras.

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