Tuesday, September 12, 2023

When the arc appears

Every once in a while, we may be confronted with an awareness of how the arc of change in our lives shifted us in new directions. Yesterday, I faced exactly that when Facebook served up a “Memory” (image above. When I shared it on Facebook, I said:
This is so interesting to me: Back then, I brought an actual camera with me to take photos, though it was digital, of course (Nigel and I were early adopters and had been using them for MANY years by then). Nowadays, I exclusively use my phone—and have for at least six or seven years (with very rare exceptions, chiefly for digitising old photos). This is one of a handful of areas where I can actually map out my own shift in the use of technology.
In that Memory, I was talking about some trips I’d made around Auckland that month, and I took photos that I shared on this blog (a list of the posts I think I was talking about in 2009 is at the bottom of this post). In those days, I used a digital camera because I didn’t yet have a smart phone (the iPhone was released on 29 June 2007, a little more than two years earlier). We had several different cameras over the years, and as far as I can remember, the first time I ever took one somewhere to take a photo was around 2000 or 2001—though that probably wasn’t the first time I ever took a digital photo. So much time has passed, though, that I simply can’t remember for sure, and, anyway, most of us aren’t paying attention to the shifts in our own personal technology.

I remember feeling very uncomfortable taking photos in public back in those days, partly because some of the cameras had the sound of a shutter that couldn’t be turned off, as it can now with smartphones. A bigger issue for me in those early days was that the general public wasn’t as used to seeing people taking photos of anything and everything; I wasn’t, either. Facebook had only been available to the general public since May 2006, and Twitter began in March. MySpace had been around since 2003, but people shared other stuff, and was pretty much over by 2007. Instagram wouldn’t begin until 2010.

All of which means that in 2009, I was still getting used to taking random photos, and was barely even starting to share them, However, in addition to this blog, I also shared the photos I was referring to in the “Memory” on my Flickr account. The service launched in 2004, was bought by Yahoo in 2005, acquired by Verizon in 2017 when it bought Yahoo, then sold to SmugMug in 2018. The current owners announced restrictions related to space in early 2019, but by that time I was already using Instagram to share photos. Besides, I was quite busy in 2019, what with turning 60 and… everything.

In the early years of my photo taking, the quality of the photos taken with a smartphone wasn’t even nearly as good as could be taken with one of our digital cameras. Over time, I started using my phone more than camera, especially because I always had my phone with me, and I had to plan to bring a camera along. My deliberate exclusive use of my phone really took off in February 2016 when I did my ”Nature Photo A Day 2016” series of posts. It was the first time I tried to use my phone’s camera to for more serious photography, something I’ve been working on ever since—helped along by constantly improving camera technology in my phones.

When Nigel and I went to the USA in 1997 and 1999, we used a film camera. In the 1999 trip, we also used a video camera that recorded on mini-VHS cassettes. I still have those cameras. I also still have the camera I used for the photos I took in 2009, and another, better camera that Nigel bought maybe a few months later (maybe longer), he after researched to find the best possible camera we could afford. I also have an even older digital camera that we once used a lot, along with two different digital video cameras. Maybe some day I’ll do a sort of “show and tell” post about all that history.

The thing is 2009, I wasn’t even remotely aware of how I was in the midst of an evolution in how I shot photos and videos. In 1999, I was still shooting film photos and our video recorder used tape. By 2009, I’d completed the move from still film cameras to fully digital, and was also in the midst of moving there with video, too. Ten years after that, in 2019, I was not only fully digital for everything, I was also using my phone exclusively.

That Facebook “Memory” yesterday helped me be fully aware of the arc of change in my life, and how it shifted me in new technological directions. I love when that happens.


”Walking the street: Along Karangahape Road” – 12 September 2009
”On Broadway (Auckland)” – 9 September 2009
”Auckland View: Birkenhead Shops” – 5 September 2009 (photo taken 4 September)

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