Digital camera, Brownie brain.

I haven’t had a working camera around for years.  My cell phone makes phone calls and receives the occasional text message from TracFone offering to sell me additional minutes that I will never use, but it doesn’t take pictures.  So when I received an entry level digital camera for my birthday, I was delighted.

Now I have to learn to use it.  I’m not a technological doofus.  I’m good with computers: I can generally make the software do what I want, and  I can keep the peripherals in line.  (When in doubt, reboot.)  I’ve learned to keep my DVR/cable boxes in sync with my TV sets, and I’m very fond of the clock radio that knows what day it is and doesn’t try to wake me up on Saturday or Sunday.  But this impossiby tiny camera (a Casio Exilim), slightly smaller than a pack of cards, is a different animal altogether from any camera I’ve ever owned.

When I was a little girl, I had (like most every kid of my generation) a Kodak Brownie box camera, the simplest possible point and shoot technology.  For something so simple, it produced surprisingly good snapshots, and I still have a handful, conveniently dated by the processor: September 1958.  My family had moved to the suburbs of Miami the year before, and I was allowed to fly, by myself, back to Milwaukee to spend the summer of 1958 with my cousins.  There we are, five little girls, eight to twelve years old, dressed in 1950s kid clothes, smiling at the camera.  I’m only in one of the pictures, probably taken by my aunt Marie.  The rest I must have taken myself:  my four girl cousins, my grandmother in her stylish pedal-pushers, places that meant so much to me then.  That was a good summer, so long ago.

In the hall closet I have a carton of much newer (that is to say twenty or thirty years old instead of fifty) photographic equipment, decent quality camera bodies, assorted lenses, tripods, and cases, all used to document the archeological surveys Jack and I worked on from the 1970s through the early 90s.  Jack was a pretty good photographer; I could fill in when there was no one else available, but it wasn’t art.  In truth, there wasn’t much art in involved, not in the photography, anyway.  After I boxed up the cameras, I looked through the years of photographs we had accumulated.  About ninety percent of them were pictures of dirt.  That’s what archeologists do: examine dirt, move dirt, look under dirt, where there is usually more dirt.  Plain dirt, dirt with rusty bits, dirt with plant roots, now and then (and this was the exciting part) dirt with a bit of bone or shell or pottery.  You get the picture (pun intended).

After I opened the Casio box and admired the adorably small camera, I managed to install the battery and charge it up, install the memory card and format it, set the date and time (twelve hours off, as I later discovered) and fish the Quick Start Guide out of the box.  Didn’t quite get to the taking-a-picture part that evening.

Yesterday morning I set the picture size (small) and started snapping the nearest subject, my cat Nutmeg, who looked thoroughly bored with the whole idea.  I also stuck the accompanying CDRom into my computer and downloaded the manual (141 pages worth).  The disc also offered three programs, one that transfers images from a computer to the camera (anyone know why that would be useful?), one that uploads video (yes, this tiny little thing records video) to YouTube, and one that reworks photos to look like various types (oil, pastel, etc.) of paintings.  Maybe I’ll want to play with those some day.

I looked at the manual long enough to reset the time (AM, PM, there is a difference), but I used the Quick Start Guide to copy some photos to my computer.  This may take a while to master, but at least I’ve made a start, and here’s Nutmeg (with a few books) to prove it:

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl Bolen
    Sep 26, 2011 @ 13:03:53

    Well, Kay, you’re the Seinfeild of blogging. Seinfeild — the best show ever on TV — touted itself as the show about nothing. You, too, can take an everyday thing and crank out an entire — as well as interesting — blog about it!



    • Kay Hudson
      Sep 26, 2011 @ 15:13:40

      Hey, getting that camera working was quite an adventure! Imagine my excitement at getting a new recycling container (with wheels!) tomorrow. I may have to take a picture of it.



  2. Cheryl Bolen
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 13:35:16

    Too funny!



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