Boy With Toy

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So I finally bought myself a digital camera a couple of weeks ago. Mind you, not just your average 13-in-a-dozen-quickly-take-a-snapshot-of-the-children-playing camera. Noooo, I desperately needed a digital SLR 8 megapixel beast of a camera, the same way men generally need a sound system normally used by the Rolling Stones on one of their larger tours, or an all-terrain vehicle capable of crossing the Sahara desert to do the groceries. And man, do I feel all-powerful now with my new Canon EOS-350D in my hands. Nothing is safe for me now. I can take pictures of black horses in coal mines without any light. I can make close-ups of life forms on the moons of Jupiter. I can take 300 shots of a Formula-1 race-car speeding towards me before it cuts my legs from underneath my body. All thanks to the 500+ easy-to-learn functions that this thing has. And all this only cost me a measly 900 Euros.

I took it on our annual vacation, destination Portugal. I spent three weeks looking through the (removable! interchangeable!) lens, capturing about 450 pictures of Portugal’s beautiful cities, coastline, people and forest fires. I left with two 250Mb CompactFlash (II !) cards, and had to buy a third one there to document everything. Gradually I got better in handling the many functions, and produced some very nice photos, if I may say so myself. Best of all, I got to take photos I never was able to take before with the simple devices I had at my disposal. I returned home a happy man, with a slightly annoyed girlfriend that felt too much love was diverted from her towards a stupid toy.

But then, dear reader (anybody out there?) the troubles begin.

You see, in the old days, you just took the films to your local photographer, who developed them for you, and afterwards you could throw away the stupid ones – which you never did, so you’d end up with stacks of not-so-nice photographs. But now, you can see them on your computer first. You can arrange them in categories. You can rename them and develop a system to classify them. You can enlarge them, crop them, alter the colour balance and get rid of the red eyes. You can get rid of people you don’t like (anymore) or turn them into the freaky monsters they really are. The possibilities are infinite.

And so is the time you spend trying to sort them out and prepare them for an online printing service. We’ve been back for six weeks now, and I finally classified them all. At the moment, I’m trying to find out which service has the best price/quality to print the ones I’m GOING to select, so add another week or two. Then – FINALLY – I can put them in an album. By the way, I’ve still got eight years of photos waiting to be put into an album. And I’m getting married next year, so there will be plenty of pictures to put into plenty of albums too.

Of course, to get them sorted out in the first place, my old computer configuration wasn’t potent enough in my humble opinion. I definitely needed USB 2.0 support (yes, it was that old), a 64-bit processor, DDR-RAM, Firewire and the lot to turn my pictures 90° and rename them. Although I used a lot of the old parts, you can add another 500 Euros to the bill. Including the price for three CompactFlash cards and a USB-stick I couldn’t live without and have only once used after buying it, I’m about 1600 Euros poorer BEFORE I even got a single photo printed out. I just hope it won’t be gathering dust in some close six months from now.

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