I acquired my Kodak EasyShare as a raffle prize at my company picnic. It wasn't even the first digital camera I had ever owned, but it did end up being the first camera that I was truly ready for. It started with a trip to Oregon for my cousin's wedding. I could compose the shot in the LCD screen, but I had no control over what happened after I pressed the shutter button. I was also disappointed I couldn't quite capture the quality of the fiery sunset before my eyes. A week later I was back in Chico, walking through the dusty trail of Upper Bidwell Park. "The best light appears at magic hour, at sunset" according to the photography blogs and podcasts I now consumed. I could barely discern the image on the LCD screen as the setting sun blazed through the grasses along the hill. After I uploaded all of my photos to my computer, that one particular shot stood out like a sore thumb. 100_0078.jpg is the shot that got me off the fence. I knew I wanted a much better camera, but more importantly, I knew I wanted a camera that I could take full control of. I was done with pressing the shutter button and hoping I'd like the result. I was done with "scene modes". I had an order placed for a Nikon D40 by the end of the week. 100_0078.jpg is above and beyond a snapshot, and yet it isn't what I considered (even at the time) a "great" photo. It's more of a hint, or a shadow of a great photo. A good composition, and yet the horizon is tilted. No problem, I'll just rotate and crop to straighten that out:
…but then I lose the drama that the previous incline on the right side provided in the original. There's more about this photo to nitpick; the low contrast, the loss of sharpness, the noise in the shadow area. This is the photo that best exemplifies where I was 2 years ago, and where I am today. I'm on my way, but I haven't arrived yet. I'm doing good, but I could do better.