Crap shoot

The weather’s decent now, so I’ve been able to get out with my camera, a nice entry-level digital SLR. I went to the zoo. The wonderful thing about a digital camera is that you don’t have to use up expensive film, but the beginner’s temptation is to keep snapping away. At the end of two hours, despite trying to be selective, I wound up with almost 500 exposures. You need to take many shots to capture just a few good ones — and you never know what they’ll be, that’s the fun of it. But oy, the editing!

These were too many to download, so I deleted some in-camera. That got it down to maybe 400. Then, on the computer, found poorly exposed shots not worth fixing, deleted the simply boring ones; another 250 went. Then chose ones worth processing further (saving to compact display size, cropping, correcting my ineptitude at metering): that brought the total to about 35, the sort I’d put into a routine album of “My Trip to the Zoo.”

Of those, I found about a dozen that I was really fond of and thought had something extra. But I saw finer flaws in them, like color noise or a less-than-optimal composition, or just not having as immediate an impact as others. Eventually the group of photos that excited me shrank to five or six; then only one stood out as an all-around better-exposed, better-composed shot, one that spoke to me most on an emotional level, and maybe would speak to someone else. Here it is. (Ironically, the second subject I paused at; the only shot of it I took. Go figure!)

A 500-to-one ratio can only improve. Less technology, more soul.