Monday, April 17, 2006

Keeping Memories Alive

By Christina VanGinkel

My thirteen year old son arrived home yesterday from a trip he took over spring break to Texas. He brought home a CD filled with images his Aunt took of him while there. They had developed a few so he had something to share with us on the two-hour drive home from the airport, but the majority of pictures were on the CD.

When I think of how far camera technology has come in the last few years, it is just amazing. When we arrived home, one of the first things we did was to turn on the computer and pop the CD into the drive to look at the many photos they snapped. Pictures of the Texas Speedway and the NASCAR race last Sunday were the majority of the saved photos, with a few others to round out his vacation, such as his arrival at the Dallas airport.

With over sixty pictures just on the CD, plus the handful of ones they had developed while he was out there, along with a few dozen more my sister-in-law said she needs to send me on another disk once she copies them from her camera, my son ended up with a huge photo library of his vacation. As a scrap booker, I already have numerous plans for several groups of the pictures, such as one complete scrapbook just of his NASCAR photos. Years from now, thanks to the technology of digital photography, he will have photo evidence of the wonderful memories he accumulated while visiting his Aunt and Uncle.

While we were waiting for his plane to arrive, my husband and I had decided we would head to Green Bay a bit early (the airport he was arriving at is about a two hour drive from our home), and stop at the New Zoo in Brown County on the way. The zoo has two new giraffes that arrived this past November, and we had yet to see them. The zoo is a popular place to visit when in Brown County, as even though it is a newer zoo, as its name promotes, it is quickly becoming a well known one and has quite a selection of animals, all of them obviously well cared for which makes for a nice visit.

When we arrived, we found out the giraffes were still on a limited viewing schedule because their permanent enclosure was not completed. We walked around the zoo itself to pass the time, which also happened to coincide with feeding time for many of the zoo’s population. All of the times we have been to the zoo throughout the years, we had never been there during feeding time except for year’s ago we happened once to have the opportunity to watch a caretaker feed a giant turtle. My husband casually commented to me as we were watching one staff member feed several monkey, that I should snap a few pictures. One young member of the zoo’s monkey population had yet to learn not to hassle the older ones during feeding time, and was setting his self and the other monkeys up for some nearly perfect photographic opportunities. That is, if I would have had my camera with. Once again, I had headed out the door for the day minus my camera, not thinking that I might want it. We were after all just taking a quick stop at the zoo to see the giraffes and then heading over to the airport to pick up our son, stop somewhere for a quick bite to eat, and heading home.

No matter how many times I remind myself that it is easy to miss taking the perfect picture, but that if I do not even take my camera with, it is a sure thing that I will not get it, I still have days like yesterday, where I walk out the door and leave it behind. If you are regretting a shot missed, or one that turned out a bit blurry, too bright, filled with shadows, etc., at least you gave yourself the opportunity to try. If you are like me, and forget your camera completely, all I can say is that we have to try harder to make our cameras an item of necessity.

If my son and brother had headed off to NASCAR with no camera, sure, he would still have the memories, but memories do fade. Photographs are the perfect way to keep memories alive.

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