Two good friends have privately commented on the quality of my travel photos on the site. And they are right. Some of the quality is, let’s say, not great. But I wanted to use them.
Why is that? Well, you may have realized that digital cameras and cellphone cameras have improved dramatically! And some of the old travel photos from the Soviet Union are from scans of prints from an inexpensive point and shoot 35mm almost 30 years ago. Part of my personal downsizing included going through 17 albums of photos. Back in the old 35mm days, you printed the whole roll and got what you got. I tossed about 1000 photos that were blurry, out of focus, or badly composed. The remaining 2700 I had scanned. There are many services out there that will digitize your memories! I hadn’t looked at the albums in years, but now the photos are on my laptop, I pulled them into my background wallpaper and screensaver and can view them daily.
The scans would have been better quality, had I paid a premium for “correction” or if I’d had the negatives scanned. I decided I’d prefer my own travel photos on the site instead of Instagram perfect stock art. They are my memories and the grainy, washed out, bad weather, bad lighting were accurate to my trips. And I still have the original prints in a photo box, that takes up much less space than 17 albums.
Here are two photos I took on that Russia trip with a point and shoot 35mm. Much of the difference in quality can be attributed to natural lighting. Which is something that can’t be controlled. 🙁
I was lucky(?) enough during the Moscow leg of the trip to be dressed appropriately (no shorts, no shoulders showing) to be able to stand in line for five hours to visit the Lenin Mausoleum [Мавзоле́й Ле́нина] in Red Square [Кра́сная пло́щадь]. It was very surreal. He looked like he was wearing too much pancake concealer, but otherwise like he could wake up at any moment.
The Winter Palace, Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia [NOTE: It took me a very long time to stop calling it Leningrad, as it was called in 1988 on my first trip there.] Both the building and art collections are outstanding and highly recommended.
In 1998 I was still using 35mm film point and shoot cameras, but these scans are from negatives, not prints.
The Eglise Saint Etienne du Mont is a Catholic church in bridging gothic and Renaissance styles in the 5th Arrondissment. Notably Jean-Paul Marat is buried there.
Pyramide du Louvre is the entrance to the Louvre Musee designed by I. M. Pei. Far too many people speed through the palace only interested in seeing La Jaconde [Mona Lisa] and miss the outstanding palace itself and the ancient Egpytian and Etruscan collections. While I vastly prefer the art at Musee D’Orsay, the historical collections at the Louvre are fabulous.
I finally converted to all digital in 2002. It was still the early days of digital and I’m pretty sure my point and shoot digital was only 1.4 megapixels. One of the best advantages of digital is the ability to take more than 24/36 photos at a time. But storage was expensive at the time! Lebanon is an under-visited country where you can ski and go to the beach in the same weekend! And the skiing is surprisingly good. At one point in 2002, they had to plow the lift line because they had gotten 17′ (yes feet) of snow that season. Another great thing about skiing in Lebanon is the view from Faraya Mazaar Ski Resort. My photo does not do justice to the view! Yes that is the Mediterranean in the distance.
I’ll spare you comparisons of all the inexpensive digital cameras and jump to 2004 when I bought a 6MP Canon EOS DSLR. I took it and a 70-300mm lens to Kenya on a Maasai Mara safari with Royal African Safaris. In the US, the Serengeti in Tanzania gets much more notice, but the Maasai Mara is just the Kenyan side and the animals don’t care!
We camped near a stream and a pride of lions with lots of adorable cubs was on the other side! An SLR or DSLR offers the ability to focus on a particular object. We were about 20′ away from the cub for this telephoto shot.
We missed seeing a cheetah at full sprint, but did catch one lounging on a hill from about 100′ away.
I think giraffes look cool and this one was definitely interested in us!
One of the more challenging decisions of a wanderer is what camera to bring! I really like my DSLR [I bought a new housing after the first was stolen. 🙁 ] But the camera and lenses can weigh me down. For Fourth of July 2017, I went back to Lebanon, specifically to visit Baalbek which had always been off limits when I lived in Beirut. It was just a quick weekend and I didn’t want to bring a lot and decided to go with just my Samsung Galaxy S7 and see how it did with travel photos. After all, it has a 12MP camera! I’ll let you judge.
Bottom Line: Any photo you take will transport you back to your trip.