SLR Camera – Image Capture

September 14th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Now I have had the opportunity to look through two examples of excellent camera technology, I find myself increasingly attracted to continuing the experience. The first time I held such a camera was at the Madu Sari gamelan performance, “New Javanese Shadows“when a friend of mine asked me to hold his camera. My first impression can only be described by referring to a Hindu myth often told about the young Krishna. For those not familiar with Hindu mythology, the incarnations of the god Vishnu are many, but this story is about his time as the human Krishna.

On one occasion, when Krishna was still a child, he revealed his true god-self to his mother by asking her to look in his mouth. When she complied, she was astonished to see the entire universe inside the mouth of her child. When I looked into that camera, I saw a glimpse of the infinite — I was astonished. The photographer who owned the magic box enthusiastically started informing me of the technical details in a language full of numbers that I did not understand. This machine may be described by numbers, as the universe can be modeled mathematically, but the impact of the revelation I had experienced created a bookmark in my mind that I return to in wonder.

My next reaction was more practical, as the Virgo reasserted her presence. If everyone had a camera like that, my opportunities for employment as a graphic artist would be seriously reduced. There was no noise in the image, it was balanced and in sharp focus. If the capture mechanism was as pristine as the view, the images would reflect a hyper-realism that would need few adjustments. My daughter later comforted me by pointing out that many of these cameras are owned by individuals who can cause them to malfunction and that composition skills are still required. Even the best images can benefit from layout, design and story, so my production skills will still be needed.

The term “multi-media artist” has often been applied to my skill sets in production. I know that if I am not being paid, I do music, music technology and saving the world. Some practical part of me knows that my time will not allow any more addictions. I am already being drawn away from my “Live More Lightly Project” too much by other musical entanglements. I have to complete a book prototype this month. Move on.

Then, I went to Seattle and I used Kyle Cassidy‘s camera to take photos of Kyle, Trillian and my daughter, Jhayne, together. This time, when I looked into the camera, the universe resolved and I saw my friend the computer lived there too. I immediately knew what to do and asked Kyle to set the controls to automatic. I can trust my computer abilities completely and I recognized that this was a computer that knew how to use the camera mechanisms. I could trust my intelligent friend and concentrate on steadiness and composition. I hope to see the results of this experiment [edit:one photo posted on Trillan’s blog link here].

Now, I feel myself wanting to experience that clarity again, but another thought intrudes. Am I ready to take the responsibility of being able to capture the hyper-real visual universe? In music recording, I live in hyper-reality because I capture sounds that are usually very fleeting and preserve them so they can be examined, manipulated and controlled. I capture in very high resolution and my mixing and mastering work is essential to reconstruct or engineer the three-dimensional space of the recording. Another dimension of music technology is to edit lower resolution captures and enhance them to contemporary standards. I take the responsibility of revealing moments of time and translating a transient waveform into a repeatable experience. There is always some level of interpretation required and other ears can be consulted on an important project.

Image capture is decided quickly by the one person who has control of the mechanism. I had decided to pursue video because it is a relatively low resolution media and the editor shares the responsibility because there is so much material. Video is very similar to audio recording in that sense. Audio/video footage is a linear record, but photography is a much more selective process. A hyper-real photo will capture the essence of the moment and freeze the light-wave, the way I preserve audio samples. There is some truth to the idea that a photo will capture a piece of the soul of the subject as it is the reality of physical and spiritual presence that reflects the light.

The photos I take start out as relatively low-resolution and I compress them to make them load quickly. Despite my poor equipment, sometimes I capture the spirit of light and I do not post those images to the internet. If I had a camera with a brain, these occurrences would increase.The posts I write with images are more attractive to readers, so I take snapshots, but I am selective about posting ones that qualify as images.

I want to be a musician first and I need to improve my financial picture before I could make such an investment in camera technology. I think the experience of computer-guided image excellence will help me to push what I have and even the poorest new video cameras have superior image resolution to my Canon A80.

The higher resolution specification given for still image capture on a video camera can be misleading. The cameras take interpolated images to raise the resolution specifications, but I hope to find a dual-purpose that will allow me to disable that feature and use the native resolution of the CCD. Camera manufacturers believe that consumers will buy more mega-pixels regardless of how they obtain them. It is true that most individuals do not research a purchase the way I have, but I will live with this device for a long time if I pick the correct unit and my integration with the machine will improve the function.

If I ever have a camera like Kyle’s in my hands again, I will remember that I have my own memory SD card in my pocket. I usually have a memory stick/USB with removable media on my person at all times. Then I would feel free to move into the hyper-real universe because it is my memory media and I will control the results of my journey.

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