I had some pictures developed last week. I’m showing my age, aren’t I? Okay, I sent some images (that I had taken with my digital camera) from my desktop to my local Walgreen’s photo department to print on paper. Within an hour or so, I received a text saying they were ready for pickup. I had them printed so I could frame some of them, and send others to family and friends.
It’s so different now from the old days when we all had film in our cameras. Film was expensive and then we had to pay to have the film developed and printed into pictures. Back in the day, people tried to take a few good shots so as not to waste film. And, you would have to finish shooting a complete 24 or 36 count roll of film before you had your pictures developed and could see them.
Today, with our digital cameras and smart phones, we can take hundreds of shots of anything and delete all the bad ones. By keeping only the good pictures, we all look like we are somewhat talented as photographers. Digital cameras and smart phones also allow us to carry out pictures with us no matter where we go.
One of my many part-time jobs during college in the 1980’s was working for a film developing company called “Fast Foto.” It was operated out of a little hut in the parking lot of a grocery store, and we sold 110, 126, and 135 films…in both black and white and color…and other photography supplies to our drive up customers.
The building I worked in looked similar to this one.
The main part of the business was taking film in for processing which we then sent out once a day for processing. The delivery person would bring us the pictures from the previous day’s film bag and then take the new orders of film to be developed. After the delivered order had been checked in, we would call our customers to tell them their pictures were ready.
In the 1990’s, most photo developing businesses would make double prints for free, so I have a lot of duplicates of the pictures I took of my children when they were small. I also had a Polaroid camera during that time and we would often use it when we had parties so everyone could take a picture home as a memento of the fun they had. Many of my pictures are in photo albums but sadly, some are still in plastic bins waiting to be sorted and organized.
Recently on the NBC Nightly News, they did a segment saying that most members of Generation Z (those born near the year 2000 until the present) have never had their pictures on paper. They grew up with iPhones and digital cameras. Unlike many of us, they will never inherit from their parents, boxes of photographs or photo albums so painstakingly preserved for family history.
My husband and I love pictures and like many of our generation, we have them in frames all over our house. At Christmas time, we display framed pictures of our children that were taken every year at Christmas when they were growing up. Someday, we will have pictures of our future grandchildren to add to our personal photo gallery.
I wonder, without pictures on paper, will we lose some of our connection to the past and the family members and friends and events in our lives?
Apparently, I’m not alone in wondering about this. The news segment went on to say that last fall, Polaroid came out with a new, smaller camera with a built-in printer. This new camera not only will print 2” x 2” pictures and save them digitally, but it can also be used as an HD video camera. It is selling because people still want pictures they can hold.
While doing some Christmas shopping online, I had come across this new Polaroid Camera so I asked for it for Christmas. My husband gave me one of the new cameras in my favorite color of red.
After I opened it, I had to search through my closet to see if I still had the old Polaroid camera from when my kids were small. There it was on a shelf along with a stack of old Polaroid film with an expiration date of 07/2008. Of course, I had to see if it still worked. The camera still works, but apparently, expiration dates on film are for real. The film still captured images, but they all came out with big, ugly blotches on them.
This past weekend, I took my digital camera on a trip to Medicine Park, Oklahoma. It’s a quaint little town at the foot of the Wichita Mountains and has a population of around 350 people. One of the reasons we went to Medicine Park, was to visit the wildlife refuge there. As you can imagine, I took some pictures on our trip.
The Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1901 and is one of the 556 refuges throughout the United States managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. According to their website, the wildlife refuge covers more than 59,000 acres and is the protected home to over “50 mammal, 240 bird, 64 reptile and amphibian, 36 fish, and 806 plant species.”
According to my digital camera, I took 240 pictures over the weekend. Hopefully, I’ve deleted the bad ones and here are some of the others for your viewing pleasure!
View from the top of Mt. Scott at 2464 feet
A prairie dog town
A large prairie dog and his camera