A digital camera is one of the best purchases you can make. Remember the old days when we used film? Ugh. You had to finish the roll before you could trot off to have it developed. If you took a few pics here, a few pics there, you might have a span of a year or more between when the first pictures were taken and the roll got developed, so it was easy to forget what pics you had snapped. Developing the pictures was expensive and not quick (unless you paid extra to rush it) and making extra copies to share could really make the cost rise. Adding insult to injury was the fact that you paid to have all the pictures developed — including the ones where your subjects had their eyes closed or you had your finger in front of the shutter.
Now, with the magic of digital, you can view what you have taken immediately and redo if you haven’t captured precisely what you want. It is like having your own ongoing personal photography class. You learn as you go by studying what you have taken. Digital photo printers are cheap and amazing, and email allows you to move a picture around the world in seconds.
So, get in the habit of carrying your camera with you. Think of it as a portable memory capture device. Take pictures of beautiful food you order in restaurants. Immortalize memorable dishes you make. I had completely forgotten about one of my favorite things to make — grilled pears stuffed with blue cheese, craisins, and chopped pistachios, until I ran across this picture today. You can bet it will be on the menu next week!
I like to take pictures of the food after I plate it because I see it differently through the camera’s eye, rather than my own. The photos capture details I miss, plus, I can study them at my leisure and determine how I can change it up or make it look better next time.
For nearly 30 years, we have admired a beautiful field of bluebonnets that bloom spectacularly in the spring. Last year, we finally followed through on our vow to take pictures of it. I had such a fabulous time sprawling out in the middle of the vast expanse of blooms. A few months later, the land was purchased and a high-rise office building is being erected on it. The bluebonnets won’t ever be back in that spot for us to enjoy, but I can cherish them once again through the photos we took.
We joke about “documentation” in our family, referring to our habit of taking mass quantities of photos, but in doing so we have preserved memories that will make us smile for years to come.
I have even been known to pause a show on Tivo in order to whip out my camera and take a photo of some luscious dish or tablesetting on the screen. Then I can deconstruct it, figuring out what makes it so appealing and determining how I can incorporate some of its ideas into my cooking.
Whether it is my own personal game of “what’s wrong with this picture?” or creating a pictorial record of how my food presentation has progressed, or adding to my digital scrapbook of fun with family and friends, I am so happy to click and preserve. I am virtually never without my camera. That is one of my best habits. I highly recommend it to you.
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