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In the beginning, there was 100_0078.jpg

 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.jpg100_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:

Rotated in iPhoto…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.

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