Why Grandmas Take Pictures

“If I can do it, you can do it.  Promise.”


Technology can be daunting.  Especially computers and cameras.  I admit that I know about one tenth of the settings on my camera.  A Canon 50 D. But, I really wanted it.  Saved my money for it.  Before the 50D I had a digital Rebel.  I loved it.  Loved it.  These Canon cameras have so many automatic adjustments and settings that they are easy.  Really easy.  As I have practiced using the camera, I have learned things.  It is possible to learn about cameras when you are a grandmother.  That is something I wasn’t sure about.  Years ago, I bought a beautiful Canon 35mm camera.  Digital cameras weren’t quite “in” yet.  That is when I bought my telephoto lens. I took years of “film” photographs using the telephoto lens.  Of course, it took a lot of film and sometimes I missed things because it seemed like too much money to buy film and develop it. I was more selective when I took photographs. As a result of worrying about taking too many pictures, my hesitation lost many wonderful keepsake memories.

When I bought the digital Canon Rebel, the telephoto lens I had bought for the 35mm camera was compatible.  Whewww.  Good for Canon.  Then, when I passed the Rebel along to one of my children and bought the 50 D, the telephoto lens was STILL compatible.  Yes!  I saved and saved again and bought a Macro Lens. A macro lens isn’t for photographs of people.  It’s for things.  It is a super detailed close-up lens.  I love it.

Saved my money again and bought a Canon 10-22 lens which is a wide angle lens. I am still trying to learn to use it. It is dependent on what is in the foreground, almost under your nose to establish the perspective of the photograph. I will keep trying.

I am getting better at making adjustments before I take a picture but I admit that I can’t always think fast enough to get the shot before it is gone.  That is why I like the automatic settings. Especially if the subjects are wiggly children.  I often use fully automatic but generally I set the dial to “P” and change the ISO (speed number that is like the film speeds of old:  100, 400, 800). Most of the time I simply turn off the flash and let the automatic setting do its job. I only know this because my son worked with me.  He is instinctive about things like this.  I increase the number as the setting of the photograph gets darker.  If I go to a grandchild’s soccer game or the children are playing with lots of activity, I set the camera dial to the “action” setting which captures most of the shots without blur even though people are moving.

I don’t take many straight-on pictures.  I am always on the look-out for moments like that shown above.  My husband and our youngest daughter talking on a bench.  Note how close together they are sitting, even though the bench has plenty of room.  Their legs are crossed the same way.  They are watching children play but enjoying each other’s company.  This photograph was taken with my telephoto lens.  I was far away.

These children, including my grandson who is the primary focus of the photograph, are in the middle of the soccer field.  I am on the sidelines in a chair.  Because I am using the telephoto lens with the camera set to “action”, I was able to capture this wonderful moment without his knowlege. That meant he was relaxed.  These kids were all moving, too.  The “action” setting was perfect for this moment.

In our family, most of the grandchildren go to school during the day or live in other states or towns.  It is often in the evening when their parents bring them to visit. That is nice because that is my favorite time of day to take photographs.  I love the light.  I’ll bet that most grandmothers have a zillion moments a day when their grandchildren are around which would lend themselves to wonderful keepsake photographs.

If I look back at my pictures from 10 years ago and compare them to today, I can’t believe how much I have learned.  I really didn’t think that I could.

Finally, photographs with a macro lens.  Look at the fuzz on the stem of this zinnia.  Also, the wonderful background.  That is the magic of a macro lens.

How do I get the photographs on the computer? I just pop the memory card into the computer slot and like magic the images download. It is truly magic to me.  I was sweating the first few times.  I learned how to download Picasa by Google which is my favorite thing.  It was made with people like me in mind.  I wrote on this macro photograph using Picasa. Easy.  Really, it was.  But I had to practice.  Now my computer is like a photograph album.  Organized by dates and titles.  After I download photographs from a day or an event, I learned how to make a CD of the photographs so I would worry less about something happening to my computer.  I have an online back-up but I am old fashioned and a very good worrier.  I file the CDs in little boxes by years.  That makes me feel better.

“I am just an ordinary photographer in a time when everyone can be a professional.  Today’s cameras are so wonderful that there is rarely an excuse for not recording our lives  and the lives of those we love.  Grandmothers and Grandfathers can often afford a nice camera.  Not always, but often. Younger families often have to wait awhile since their lives have so many financial demands.  That is why I am grateful for a string of wonderful cameras and the wonderful blessing of recording the lives of my family.  Grandmothers can learn to use complicated cameras.  Really, they can !”


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