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13 July 2003

I remember distinctly the day it began.

At Christmas time, I had been given my first camera--an old Brownie box camera, with the detachable flash that took those blue flash bulbs that you licked before you inserted them into the attachment. I had been wanting a camera for so long and I felt like I'd died and gone to heaven.

I actually talked about cameras and my history with them here, but that entry was about the history of my life through photographs, and the bittersweet memories that now come with looking back over them.

This piece is about photography itself.

The summer after I got the Brownie, I went to Lake Tahoe as a live-in babysitter for some neighbors. I remember the day that we went for a walk. I had my camera with me and as we got to the bottom of a hill, I turned to look back up from where we'd come and there was just something about the way the light was hitting the rocks that caught me. I had to capture it on film.

"Why are you taking a picture of rocks," my employers asked me, surprised that I was shooting at something with no people in it.

rocks.jpg (11751 bytes)Well, the photo didn't turn out quite as dramatically as what I saw in my mind's eye (and the colors that were there originally have faded with time), but I've known ever since then that I love the art of photography. I'm not really good at it, but have been told I have a good eye. And I've never gotten into it as a serious hobby, since it was more expensive than I felt I could handle. But I still love getting the right shot, the right angle, trying to get the right light exposure, close-ups of children (I particularly love doing close ups of kids), candids of people. I love the whole thing.

So discovering Fotolog two months ago was just wonderful. I began posting photos immediately and when the creators of the site began asking for membership fees, I happily paid my dues.

While I post photos here on this journal frequently, photos in larger size take up a lot of space and I am limited in how much space I have here. Fotolog, with its accommodation for larger photos, allows me to post up to 6 pictures a day and I've been going through some of my favorites that I've taken with the digital camera and posting them, and also taking the camera with me everywhere, always looking for something interesting to photoraph.

The thing about Fotolog is that it is peopled by photographers at all levels of expertise, from those who take blurry photos of their friends to those really talented photographers with expensive cameras who take sometimes breathtaking photos of birds (which I love) or other examples of wildlife, or who do wonderful things with light and shadow.

Looking at these photographers inspires me to be more creative, to look for more innovative ways to express myself in photograph.

One of the founders of Fotolog is a guy who calls himself "Cypher," who has been posting photos of everything he eats for the past two years (his fotolog has been mentioned in articles about the site, and in links on several web sites I've found).

After seeing Cypher's foodlog, I decided to start one of my own as a way to keep me on track with my diet. That escalated, as I have mentioned here before, into feeling challenged to find more creative ways to make the food look attractive (though trying to find different ways to present Fiber One is really challenging!)

Another wonderful feature of Fotolog are its community logs, where someone decides on a theme and then invites everyone to post their own version of the theme. I've started a few of those, among which are Wizard of Oz and, today, Showbiz. But, to show the wide range of topics, I've also contributed to "Chocolate," "Signs of the Times," (this is a link to the very first photo I contributed to "Signs."  I've posted several--it's one of the more popular community logs),  "Antiques," "costumes," "contents," "dim sum," "hands," "laundry," "September 11," "teddy bears," and a few others.

It's such fun to see how people interpret the theme.

I also love looking at pictures from the San Francisco area and seeing "my city" through the eye of some other photographer.

With this injury and being off work, I've had a lot of time to play around with Fotolog and check out the other 22,000+ photographers from all over the world who participate. I'm certainly enjoying this brief respite from the real world!


The virtue of the camera is not the power it has to transform the photographer into an artist, but the impulse it gives him to keep on looking.

Brooks Anderson, Once Around the Sun

Today's Photo

diesner.jpg (27865 bytes)

For more photos, please visit My Fotolog and My FoodLog

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