Tuesday, July 25, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Prompt 2

Here's a good prompt. Oh and happy Tuesday!
Day 2: What Technology Are You Grateful For?
This answer is so easy- the camera. Almost fourteen years, in 2003 ago my parents bought me my first digital camera right before my eight grade class trip to Washington D.C. (Gosh I need to get back there). It was a Kodak EasyShare CX6330 with...wait for it...3.1 megapixels! Wow the quality! But this was right around the time when point-and-shoot digital cameras were exploding into the amateur photography market. I shot the heck out of that little camera up until 2006 when at Christmas time, I unwrapped a present with a brand-new, Canon Rebel XT digital SLR camera that I still, ten years later, shoot with today. The first big trip I took that camera on? A two-week mission trip to a remote village in Guatemala called San Jose El Tesoro. I was seventeen and it was my first international adventure. We spent two-weeks teaching english, doing construction work around the village, traveling throughout the country (hey-o Tikal National Park) and helping out in a medical clinic. The stuff I saw and experienced down there in the Yalpemech region was incredibly inspiring yet also terrifying at the time due to a rash of violence that was sweeping over parts of the country at the time we were there. I've used this camera on hundreds of trips since, here and abroad. It's been dropped, spilled on, covered in snow and dust but still snapping away. But it's like actual cameras these days are slowly starting to become, sadly, irrelevant. At a recent lake house party I was at, I pulled out a small newer Canon point-and-shoot camera to capture photos of the festivities and our attempts at yoga poses on stand-up paddle boards. A few friends joked with "What is that?! A camera?" Cell phones these days have impressive cameras, but to me nothing is better than carrying an actual camera around. You can get far more creative with your photography, it's a reliable way to capture the scene and it allows you to still unplug from that constant buzzing and lighting up of your phone's notifications without sacrificing a lens. I've had photos of mine used in newspapers, magazines, on the National Geographic website, on this blog thingy you're reading now, in wedding slideshows and dozens of social media profile pictures. Photography is an art I treasure deeply and take seriously, that's part of the reason I started this new journalism job. I get to shoot and edit photos with professional equipment in a professional environment with professional tools. I love it. 

The other aspect of why I'm grateful for the camera, is because it allows you to give back. One of my absolutely favorite things to do, is give the gift of a photo. I think picking out an image of something that really is important to you, like maybe a shot of your best friends out at a cookout, or a photo of you smiling with the person you love, appreciate and admire, or of a pet that your mother laughs at constantly...and then having it printed, picking out a frame to match...and then handing it over to someone as a surprise is the very, very best thing.

You're sharing with someone a photo of person (maybe that exact person) or a memory that truly means the world to you. They can then keep and hold it close. 

So with that, go shoot some photos, get them in paper form and spread that happiness in the form of a 3x5, 4x6 or 5x7. 


That candid photo of me with my camera in hand at the top of this post was shot by my roommate and friend Giang in 2011, when we were living in Vietnam. 

On the iPod...