“Being a good leader requires remembering that you’re there for a reason, and the reason certainly isn’t to have your way. High-integrity leaders not only welcome questioning and criticism – they insist on it.”

— Travis Bradberry

“The process of learning requires not only hearing and apply but also forgetting and then remembering again.”

— John Gray

A new toy

For my birthday my family gave me a Wolverine F2D Titan. This new piece of equipment converts film (i.e.., Kodachrome slides) to digital photos. It has permitted me to place old photos on my computer which I can now view and print…as well as share via email with family and friends.

I was either a sophomore or junior in high school when I got my first camera – Kodak 828. In the past 70 years, I have taken, literally, thousands of photographs. The vast majority were 35mm Slides. In case you aren’t familiar with the word Slide in photography, it is a piece of film that measures about one inch by one and one-fourth inches contained in a cardboard frame. Even using a magnifying glass doesn’t help one to enjoy the photograph. It’s just too small. So to enjoy the content and to share that joy I needed to set up my Slide Projector or convert the slides.

It’s been loads of fun looking at photos (Slides) taken in the 1960 – 2000, seeing our sons and grandchildren grow and mature.

An old hobby

The question I need to ask is, “Why do I take photographs?” I take pictures to remember stages in a growing family, to remember significant events in my life and to record where we’ve been as a family (noted anniversaries, special experiences and tracking where we’ve traveled).

When one looks at old photos, only then, does one realize how much one has forgotten.

Recently, I have added categories to my photographic attempts. I always look for memories to share. I look for those elusive shots I can use as entries at the Steele County Free Fair. I try to submit at least twelve boards each year. I also submit photos to calendar contests: the contest at Tri-M Graphics and for the Owatonna Park and Rec calendar. And, as you know, I periodically submit photos for the Mystery Shot column on Saturdays.

Why did I use the word “elusive” earlier? In one’s attempt at getting a ribbon on a photograph in the SCFF Department N – Photography isn’t easy…tough competition.

While I’m writing about my experiences with a camera, I want to make a couple of suggestions.

1. Study the guidelines of composition. There’s a super website one can Google: “10 top Photography Composition Rules / Photography Mad”. While looking at your photos on the computer ask, “What would have made this a better photo…a cleaner background, being closer to the subject, clarifying the reason for taking the photo?”

2. Make the decisions needed to label and organize your photos. Why? If you have a system, you’ll be able to find the photos without having to do a massive search. Take it from me, looking at photos I took during my college years in the 1950s, I can’t always connect faces and names.

The current decision

Having access to all those old photos, “What am I going to do with them?” Having placed copies of those Slides on my computer, I can easily copy them to DVDs or flash-drives. I have placed them on DVDs for our sons. My intention – they are to save only what they want to keep from my files by copying them to their own flash-drives.

A problem is the rapid advance of technology. As an illustration, I have a great collection of vinyl’s (mostly 33s). I have cassette tapes. I have a large collection of CDS. I had cassette tapes because the cars I drove back in the 1980s used them. In the 1990s the cars I drove moved to compact disc players. Now, the car I use requires a flash-drive if I want to listen to my favorite music. It appears that as I down-size (I’m old – in my late 80s) the vinyl’s, the cassettes and the CDs will all go into the garbage.

We have had professional photographers take pictures: graduations, wedding (there’s a three-ring binder of that event) and family portraits (i.e., one of my parents, their children and grandchildren and we have one of Jane and me with our sons and their children). In my mind they have value; but, the question is, “How do the grandchildren view those portraits?” I suspect that those prints aren’t important to them. I suspect that in the end there will be more garbage for the landfills.

I’m thinking that I need to copy those professionally produced prints and place copies of them into my computer. It stores them without cluttering up wall and shelve space.

An afterthought

I neglected to state earlier that I like to share the photographs I take — an educational purpose. Those who are connected to me via Facebook, know that when we travel I take lots of photos. On Facebook, I have displayed photos of Chamberlin, SD — Dignity and the Lakota Indian Museum. I have displayed photos of the Mercantile (Pioneer Women) in Pawhuska, Kansas…of the Pioneer Woman Museum and the E.W. Marland Mansion in Ponca City, Kansas.

Signing off…

“In the early ‘90s or so, I drove my father to Providence, KY., his hometown, and he was pointing out, ‘That’s where the doctor’s office was,’ and ‘That’s where we bought ice cream.’ And he was pointing to empty lots. When you lose communities, what do you have? We often survive by remembering the stories.”

— George C. Wolfe

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People's Press. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at jjackson@owatonna.com

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