One Too Many

It might be correct to say that I point the camera into too many faces and take too many snapshots.  In fact, some have mocked my shutterbug fascination.  My neighbor wonders why I keep taking pictures of my backyard, close ups of my flowers, “artsy-fartsy” photographs of my tomatoes and lettuce.

My first digital photograph, 2004.

No one understands that moving art takes work.  Great pictures require time, patience, a well-trained eye, and an artistic flare.  And I stuck to my guns through every heckle, jeer and taunt.

Until last year, when I realized I might have a problem. To enter the 21st century, I decided to start using the “Cloud.”  While no one knows what the “Cloud” is, it seems to be all the rage.  Never one to be left out of new technological fad, I decided to move my file folders full of photos to the “Cloud” and free up some space on my hard drive.

A windy walk. Yellowstone National Park, 2009

Before I give you the shocking details, I just want to outline a few of the facts:

1)  I started taking pictures with my Olympus 35mm in 1991.

2) Before that, it was a 110 mm camera or disposables from the drug store.

3)  These photos were expensive to develop and print and there were many years when we would have a drawer full of film rolls awaiting a significant financial investment and a brave trip to the photo department at CVS.

4) The anticipated cost never stopped me from TAKING the pictures.

5)  I took LOTS of pictures.

6) We didn’t see the results until a decade or two later.

And sometimes, you need to capture photographic evidence.

We welcomed our first digital camera to our family in 2004, and it revolutionized the way we (I) took pictures.  Gone were the days of 36-frame rolls that could vanish with one accidental opening of the back of the camera.  Gone were the outrageously priced processing fees.  I could point and click for hours.  The only limitation was the size of my memory card and the battery life of the device.

A few years ago, my wife bought me an electronic Olympus that utilizes my original lenses with a 32 Gb flash drive and a 24-hour battery life (and I have three batteries charged and ready at all times). This camera didn’t allow for auto-focus, and which limited my picture-taking ability as I slowly turned the focus rim to ensure I’d captured the right shot.

However, I’ve recently upgraded once again. Now I have a Nikon D3400 with auto-focus, a super-fast shutter speed, and high-definition capabilities.

Add to this the increasing quality and ease of using a phone with a camera and, of course Instagram. There is no end to the picture excitement I can create.


How does one say goodbye to this masterpiece from 2013?

And this is my problem.  Between shutter-finger reflexes, my digital camera and my ability to scan into our system every print picture I’ve ever taken, I have amassed quite a bit of digital data and enough photography to bring Kodak back from bankruptcy.  When it came time to move my beautiful works of art over to the “Cloud,” I discovered that I had a collection of photographs that exceeded 48,000 images. (This is not an exaggeration for the benefit of this story.)


I’ve crashed my Google Drive multiple times trying to move this mass of Kodachrome over to my space.

And here’s the problem:  What picture do I delete?  Sure, there is an occasional random shot of my shoe or a bad picture of someone with their finger up their nose but even taking those goofy moments into account, how can I delete my babies?  And where do I start?

Achieving excellence in pictures demands that the artist snap a lot of average photos.  I just never dreamed that great art would require these kinds of hard choices.

A grand view of the Grand Canyon, 2015.

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