Waiting for a Hero

©2022 Michael Raven

Well, I got it into my head that I wanted to get a hobby that forced me outdoors more and to pick up a new skill that I always wanted, so I ended up buying a GoPro Hero10 last night direct from GoPro. I wouldn’t have normally bought a $500+ device like that, but the official store brought it to a more reasonable $350, inclusive of a subscription to their media storage and photo tools site (with extended no-questions warranty and GoPro-store discounts). Plus, although I didn’t know it at the time, I snagged an extra 10% off by giving up my email address (which I had to do anyway by making a purchase) and was below even that, including a spare battery I picked up.

“But Michael, don’t you have enough going on? And why a rugged sports action camera instead of a more sensible and professional DSLR camera?”

Well…

Yes, I probably have too much going on. But I need motivation to get out and about (for health and sanity reasons), and photography is a good way to encourage such things. I want to go out into nature, or even into the city and start exploring when I have spare moments instead of fretting about what I should do if I’m not in the mood to write, compose, play games or, well, be a parent. Since I was a teenager (multiple decades ago), I wanted to get into photography. I have always sucked and I promise you that it wasn’t the camera’s fault. I have never been able to get a photographer’s eye going on — in part because film and processing was expensive back then, but also because I never found a good teacher to help me learn composition. Now, information like that is easier to come by and I have already checked out a few books from the local library to help me — along with all of the internet sites out there. I’m hoping to not-suck when I don’t have to worry about ongoing costs of film and prints, and just go out there and practice.

A phone works in a pinch, but I’ve never liked how they feel in my hand and tend to avoid taking pictures as a result. I prefer something more boxy in my hands and the DSLR camera my eldest daughter “adopted”/”liberated” is old enough that 8MP was considered HD at the time it was purchased. So, instead of reclaiming the old camera, which is far too bulky in my opinion, I decided to go with a 5k/60fps and 24MP rugged tiny camera. Why rugged? I can already hear the questions about when the last time I did rock-climbing on glaciers or parachuting out of perfectly working planes. Because I want to get out and about and not have to worry if I drop it, or if I get caught in a soaking rain. And, they are more discrete in case I don’t want to be noticed as someone taking pictures. I know I am giving up some image control by using something more point-and-click on steroids, but I figure I can get something better eventually if I at least can get my composition up to snuff. Technical tweaks to improve image are cool, but I need to see with a photographer’s eye more than I have up to this point and those kinds of things may just get in the way of that.

I keep hearing that expensive cameras won’t make you a better photographer, and this is on the upper end of affordable for the clueless. Plus, it has a feature that actually set off this search, which is that it has the capability to be used as a webcam. I don’t have a webcam on my personal PC and my setup for the work PC is such that the webcam is behind a monitor (the laptop screen is useless, so it stays off). When I am force to turn on my camera for meetings (rare, but it does happen), I have to play a game with the adjustable monitors to uncover the camera. This would give my higher quality video, with audio, and be a matter of plopping it down in front of me.

“What kind of subject matter do you expect to take pictures of, oh great artist?”

Setting aside the subject of being great, which seems doubtful, I actually plan to spend most of my time exploring plants, animals, and urban pictures (with or without people). I want to use this as a means of learning what is good to forage and record what I find. Animals are secondary. For a change of place, I want to explore downtown with a camera and video. In fact, video is a fear I want to overcome as I look for other ways to explore content on Sceadugenga moving forward.

And so, within the next few days I should have a tiny, but versatile camera to play with — with the hopes that I can build some creative skills that will dovetail with my other interests.

Wish me luck.

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