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April in Photos

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
May 01, 2013

I always used to chalk it up to my BFF's childhood in the south. When she would say something to the effect, "I had my picture made," I would look at her like she had horns growing out of her head. Now, that would be an interesting photograph.Especially because she's an Aquarian, not a Taurus.

I grew up in Chicagoland, but I'm not sure that explains anything except that as a child--in particular a little sister to two older brothers--I was a stickler for grammar. I corrected them all the time. As a result, they'd teach me a new wrestling move--whether I wanted to learn it or not.

And, so, whenever Tommye would say she had her photograph made, I'd respond with, "You mean you had your photo taken." Thankfully, my snarkiness didn't get her to retaliate with arm twisting and head locks. But she did wreck havoc on my body whenever she turned an age that ended with a zero--by inveigling me into the latest exercise craze, be it step aerobics, rollerblading or simulated cross-country skiing on a NordicTrack, which she called Nord-a-Track or maybe Nord-i-Track but certainly not NordicTrack. Or maybe it just sounded that way, again due to her southern heritage.

Make vs. take. When I first got into photography with a Kodak Pocket Instamatic 110-format camera--about the size and shape of a TV remote--I was most definitely taking pictures. Apart from choosing when to turn on the flash, all I did was point and shoot.

From there, I graduated to 35mm Minolta with a pop-up flash and a snazzy leather case. But still pointing and shooting.

I entered the world of interchangeable lenses and manual exposure settings--but didn't get off "P" for 10 years--with the purchase of my first Big Girl Camera, a used Canon EOS Elan. My first camera crush, I cherished that camera, now lovingly tucked away in its original box in my closet today. When I finally got off program mode (thanks Nevada Wier), I learned how a camera feels in the hand, how my fingers knew just where to go to change shutter speed and aperture. I opened the aperture to change depth of field. I thought about composition, the rule of thirds, patterns, color and layering elements. I slowed the shutter speed and panned to add motion to my images. It was about this time that I started calling my pictures "images," as my husband was quick to point out. "Images?" he said, cutting me down to size. "Do you mean pictures?"

Then, enter the DLSR. (I was forced into digital when film labs on Kauai started sending slide film to the mainland, requiring two-week turnaround times.)

Shortly thereafter, Photoshop made its appearance in my life. But I only used about 3% of the software's capabilities. "I prefer to capture the image in the front of the camera," I would say. But, really, I didn't have the patience to learn--or, perhaps, it was the mind to understand--how to do the heavy-lifting that Photoshop can do.

But I did learn layers and started blending digital infrared images with color infrared. (Shout out to Dewitt Jones for that.)

And, recently, I took to Lightroom (fist bump to Jack Davis) and HDR Efex Pro 2 from Nik (cheers Rik "Bear" Cooke) like a duck to water.

Now, it's the iPhone and Snapseed. And Instagram. And Photogene and Blender and Painteresque and PhotoForge2 and Aquarella HD and AristaOil HD. And more. (So, I had to buy an iPad;-)

Merriam-Websters offers many defintions of the word "take," but only one is really right for this topic--"to get by drawing or painting or by photography," as in to "take a snapshot."

But when I look up "make," I find numerous possible definitions applicable to photography:

-to bring into being by forming, shaping, or altering materials
-to put together from components
-to cause to exist, occur, or appear
-to produce as a result of action, effort, or behavior

When I travel around the Hawaiian Islands these days, I drag a backpack full of photo gear, from a mini tripod for my iPhone to a long telephoto lens for my Big Girl camera. I take fast action shots of Laysan albatrosses and humpback whales. I slow down the shutter to paint waves at sunset. I pan with a hula dancer. I blend under- and over-exposed images to create a high dynamic range. But that's not all. Now, I look forward to downloading my images and playing with them in the variety of software on my iPhone, iPad and laptop. Sometimes, if I really get carried away with myself, my photographs end up looking like abstract watercolors or oil paintings. And, then, it's like, "Whoa, look mom, no hands!" That is, I get a tad bit excited.

And, so, finally, I get it. I embrace it. I admit it, Tommye Lou. I really am shaping. I am combining. I am forming. I am making photographs.


Val | May 05, 2013 12:37 PM

Interesting perspective Kim. Loved this month's photos. I had to giggle when I read the sentence about having to get an iphone and ipad. Guilty as charged here, just got both last week. I've got lots of learning to do. Ron arrives Kauai tomorrow eve and starts seeing patients on wed. :) I plan to arrive mid July!!! Any seal pups yet??

Sandy | May 05, 2013 04:32 PM

All these pics are superb. I have no words to describe its beauty. I love your post its amazing. Thanks for sharing these all pictures with us. It's my pleasure that I read this post.

Kim | May 09, 2013 09:02 PM

Congrats, Val. No seal pups yet but soon. That, or they're waiting for you. And, mahalo, Sandy.

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