The Pilgrimage
1. The Conference Bubble
2. Resuscitation
3. Barter
4. Capacity

Travel Portrait #37
The Pilgrimage: Barter
Friday, February 15, 2013

Knowing that he could not repay his mother with cash for what she sloughed off as, "your second wedding gift," he decided and she agreed the best form of reimbursement he could provide was to document the events and the family's experience together while in Rome.

"More like a first anniversary gift," he corrected, continuing on about what she would get from his project: a copy of prints, and a section on his website for the photographs. "This solution will enable you to maximize your ability to share with your friends instead of being burdened by carrying a large photo album around from person to person. You can choose a small set of photos that you want to share when you visit your friends, otherwise they can go..."

"...You mean I can talk on the phone while online," she interrupted.

"Well, sort of--but most people have dial-up internet connections in their home."

"You have a camera that can do all that? And the computer programs?"

"I have the software. I will have to check out what kind of cameras are available. I don't think I want to handle a lot of film, and have to worry about them getting erased when going through the x-ray scanner at the airport."

His mother had reminded him about the news report about vacation photographs being wiped out after going through security machines at airports. "If you are not careful, the photographs would be radiated when you left film exposed inside the camera, not rolled all the way back into the cartridge." He confirmed her concern about using film, but failed to admit the true reason. He was always disappointed with the results from disposable cameras despite the great service at the local drugstore chain. He could drop the camera off, and in a day or two, he would get back prints, negatives, and a 3.5 floppy disk(s) (or a CD for an additional charge) with the images computer-ready! When he looked at the prints, what he received were photographs, seventy-percent of which were blurry action shots, and/or under exposed images because he could not (or forgot to) set the flash in time. He had become quite skilled at explaining what was going on if the picture had been clearly taken. He also became quite skilled at wrist-flicking, tossing from a distance, the unwanted photographs into his wide-rimmed waste bucket. If what he produced for his mother were seventy-percent 'tossables', he would suffer a similar fate.

He decided to purchase a digital camera. He spent a cool grand on a 3.3 megapixel (with 2.5 digital zoom) semi-professional camera, as described in the monthly catch-all computer magazine, which ranked desktops, monitors and printers. In the July issue, the magazine featured the latest laptops, hand-held devices (PDAs), and a list of the top ten digital cameras as well as the slickest accessories. He chose the third-place camera. Following the recommendation from the salesperson, he bought extra 16 MB memory chips and rechargeable batteries when he was at the store. Thinking smartly, he included a voltage converter and a plug adapter with his purchase.

When he got back to his apartment, he opened the box and took out the camera manual. While reading, he was pleasantly surprised that the instructions were only semi-difficult. He learned what the icons meant. He found out that the lightning bolt was not a high voltage warning, but was a indication that the flash was active. He learned how to turn off the beeps after he figured out how to set the date-time twelve hour mode, how to change the distance measurement from meters to feet, and learned the difference of file types based on desired image resolution. He had difficulty with the macro concept and the representative flower icon.

With semi-understanding of his camera, he took a couple of pictures of his wife and mother, and a few of the apartment interior. Later he drove from West Philly to Rittenhouse Square to take pictures out in the field. He wanted to test his skills at adjusting the camera settings in the dead of night. He practiced with delayed flash and different shutter speeds. He shot in black and white, in an attempt to achieve a look reminiscent of early twentieth century photography, pictures taken of buildings and parks in New York and Paris.

When back at his computer, he practiced crop-editing to improve image composition. He did not show his 'black and whites' to anyone. He continued practicing in color, getting mixed reviews from his mother and wife, gaining a sense of their temperament.

"... more of a photojournalist documentary quality," he was advised.

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