I’ve been a very lucky girl recently. Not only was I given a digital SLR camera for Christmas (I’ve wanted one for, like, aaaages), but a couple of weekends ago, I also got the lesson to go with it. It was the day of the General Election result, so I have to admit, I wasn’t really in the mood, but, when my teacher arrived, told me that she used to be a social worker and was now a teacher, I heaved a sigh of relief, and we punctuated the lesson with rather gloomy checks on our mobile phones (and comparisons of our new apps).
There’s an awful lot I didn’t know about my camera. I mean, I’ve been super super beyond chuffed with it and some of the results have made me skip around in a way most inappropriate to a lady of my years. (I’ve been blogging a photo a week; if you’re interested, you can see my choices here.) I didn’t know, for instance, that the intelligent part of the auto setting is basically a whole load, thousands, I think, of pre-programmed settings, and the camera goes for the one that seems the most likely. It’s really very clever. The almost very first photo I took with it blew me away.
Mind you, after she’d explained how it worked, she looked me in the eye and said, ‘but you aren’t going to use that any more,’ and I, meekly, nodded. I could always put it back when she had gone, I thought to myself. She turned off the intelligent auto, and proceeded to give me a whirlwind tour of apertures and shutter speeds and ISO values and colour balance and lens lengths and focus and how they all work together to take the picture you want, rather than the one the on-board computer thinks you should have.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. The tech is a fabulous thing. I’ve always loved the gadgets and toys. But the thing is, you can let it take over, ohm so easily. You can hide behind it, and, instead of going to talk to someone, you send that email, the one you can’t guarantee they read. You can let it fly your plane, and hope that it knows what to do when it comes to landing it on a river, or an abandoned airfield should an engine cut out; that everything will work out fine when the out of the ordinary occurs. Or instead of marking the work yourself, if you’ll excuse my edu-obsession, you can feed it into the computer to do it for you, to reduce that workload. Or use it to help you create those groups, get your teaching precision perfect, trusting that a letter or a number, winking on a computer screen, will tell you everything you need to know about a child. You can let it take that photo, and cross your fingers over the results.
But then she took my tech and she turned it off – and I was blown away all over again with the results. Instead of this:
There he is, my boy, out in the sunshine, enjoying the day.