Sunday, February 1, 2009

Stone Age Camera

My Favorite Stepdaughter is taking a class in photography this semester in high school. So Beloved enthusiastically got out his 35mm Pentax SLR for her to experiment with for school. He was explaining how to use the camera, the different lenses, settings etc to Favorite Stepdaughter when MiniMe wanted in on the action.

"I want to take a picture! Can I take a picture? Can I please?"

Instead Beloved tells her to strike a pose and she obliges. There's the solid ker-chink of the old 35mm as he snaps the shot. Those old cameras just sound heavy, don't they?

"Let me see the picture! I wanna see it! Can I see it?!"

Beloved: Sorry MiniMe, this is a stone age camera, not a digital camera like you have. You don't get to see the picture you just took until you finish the whole roll and get the pictures developed.

"What's a roll? Can you put the picture on the computer so I can see it now?"

Beloved: This is an old-fashioned camera. It doesn't take digital pictures like your camera. It takes pictures on a film. Then you have to take the film to get it developed and you can't see the pictures until you get your film back. So you don't know what your pictures look like, good or bad, until you take them all and get them developed."

"Why? What if you don't like the picture you took and don't want to keep it?"

Beloved: You won't know if it is a good shot or not until you get it developed. It's just the way we used to take pictures before you kids were born.

Scamper, scamper, scamper as MiniMe quickly trots off, now completely uninterested in the antique technology.

It made me realize that although I didn't have a digital camera when she was first born, a digital camera is all anyone in the family has used in the last 5 years. All the kids have their own cameras now, and MiniMe got one for Christmas this year. So to her, not being able to take a picture and immediately review it was unimaginable. And she'd never seen a roll of film.

This exchange reminded me of the time we were visiting Beloved's parents. They still had a big, black old rotary-dial phone at their place. Not that they used it, but they still had one. The kids didn't know what it was. So, just to see what they would do, we set the heavy, black dinosaur down on the table in front of the kids and asked if any of them could figure out how to dial the phone. 

After some snickering, Oldest Stepson stepped forward to give it a try. He reached out with one finger and began to "push" the numbers inside the holes on the dial, as if it was a push-button phone. Beloved and I, along with the grandparents, burst into hysterics. 

Sensing an opportunity to upstage his older sibling, Youngest Stepson quickly steps forward to give it a try as his older brother blushes in embarrassment. Youngest Stepson begins to "dial" the numbers by sticking a finger in the number hole, pulling it slightly, then quickly moving to catch the dial with the next number. The impatience of youth evident as he couldn't wait for the dial to slowly return to its original position before he was on to the next number.

More fits of giggles from the adults. The girls are now not taking any chances. They take a step back, making it clear they have no idea how to tame this antique phone and aren't about to embarrass themselves with their own theories.

So Pop steps forward and begins to show them how to use the phone. The way you had to dial each number, pulling the dial all the way to the end and waiting for it to slowly wind back before pulling the next number along.

"Wow, it takes so long to dial a number, that's weird," observes Oldest Stepson. 

I guess we were all just slow and weird in the old days. 

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