Field of Science

Can a film dinosaur adapt to the digital age?

Kodak was king where the Phactor grew up. It was a mighty juggernaut of the film photography industry, unassailable, but Kodak failed to invest in emerging technologies, in innovative research, and the digital tsunami all but washed Kodak away. Not only did the Phactor grow up with Kodak, but film photography. Please do not misunderstand; the cost of film, the cost of photochemicals, the countless hours spent in dark rooms, and the difficulty of it all are not missed in the least. So here's the thing, the Phactor has yet to really adapt to the digital age. Film photography always had cost-limitations for a cash straped student and botanist, so careful judgement, skill, experience, and care had to be exercised to get some quality shots. Even the professional necessities of photography took some restraint, a bit of pragmatism, and a thrifty attitude to keep from breaking the budget. Now these life long habits encounter the digital age as exemplified by a visiting graduate student, a child of the digital age from Europe, taking pictures of birds in our feeder. She shoots away with abandon, grabbing image after image, and the F1 shots pictures like this too. So even though my technology allows it, the Phactor still finds it impossible to blaze away taking picture after picture. It would not be a boast to say that the percentage of my pictures that turn out good is much better than the digital gun slingers, but the sheer volume of shots generates many good results as does the ability to get immediate quality feedback rather than much later disappointment. While known and understood, the habits of a lifetime are hard to change. Of course, children of the digital age should understand that even though you obtain 2,000 images during an afternoon's walk in a park, no one wants to see them all, just the hand full that are really good. This dinosaur's struggle to adapt will continue and one personal pledge was to grab more images of interesting things that the Phactor just happens upon to take advantage of the convenient size of today's cameras. The walk home the other day provided an opportunity to take a further step into the digital age.


Carol Steel said...

Gorgeous colours in this picture!

Eric said...

Like you, I still carefully compose every shot, although now I take a dozen where once I took one. But I still try to be somewhat parsimonious. The problem comes in curating everything. Even at the modest number I take (which once seemed an outlandish number), soon there are hundreds to properly label and categorize, so that it takes daily vigilance to keep on top of it. Does everyone want to see all of them? Of course, not. I don't want to see all of them. What does F1 and those of her style do with all of them?