Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dust ... Dust ... It's Everywhere!

I found some dust on my camera's sensor so I decided to clean it. It was difficult, but after a while I got it clean enough. The water hose helped a lot!

From my experience with the sneaky dust on my sensor, I came to understand one thing clearly: Dust is watching us!

I've figured it out! These little dust creatures are entirely evil and mean. They do anything they can to get to camera sensors. I believe that they must eat sensor surfaces, or breed on them—or else why would they go to such lengths to get on them?  I think I saw a dust crop circle on my sensor earlier today. They're clearly signaling their brethren.

After my sensor cleaning experience, I decided to eradicate dust from my house. I started seeking dust—and found it. I crawled down behind the toilet and found some dust collecting back there. I blasted it with an air can and it fled. I then sprayed the area liberally with Lysol to kill the nasty dust. I don't want it to breed.

Next, I looked above my bathroom cabinet and found some dust lurking on top of one of the light bulbs. I unscrewed the bulb and put it in a ziplock baggy for later washing in the yard with my water hose. I sprayed the air to make sure that dust wasn't trying to follow me out of the bathroom.

As I went downstairs, I saw it! Some dust was on my left arm. It tried to blend in, but I could see it hiding behind the hairs. I whipped out a moist towelette and eradicated the dust, and from excessive pressure, the hairs too. I hope it doesn't scar. But, it was worth it, 'cause there's no more dust on my arm.

When I sat down at my computer, I noticed that my monitor had some dust on the bottom lip of the screen. I squirted a bottle of sensor-cleaning Eclipse fluid on the screen, and it ran down on the dust, effectively killing it and washing it away ... right into my keyboard.

After I replaced my keyboard, I noticed that my monitor was changing colors. Stupid Samsung SyncMaster! I've been wanting to get a more expensive monitor anyways.

As I sit here looking around the room, I realize that dust is everywhere around me. This is much worse than I thought. I'm going to go boil one of those allergy masks in Eclipse fluid, so that I can safely wear it. I don't want to be breathing this dust into my delicate lungs ... especially after all that screaming at the dust on my camera's sensor.

Hmmm, my chest is still sore from screaming ... or is it? Could it be that dust is already in my lungs, and that's why they're sore? OMG, I think dust has gotten to me. It's killing me. I am going to go eat some moist towelettes soaked in Eclipse fluid. Hopefully that will help!

If you don't hear from me for a few days, it could be because of these guys in white coats that Brenda called. They just told me that they were going to take me to a special room to wait while they clean all the dust out of my house. Whew ... I just love my dear Digital Brenda.

Well, I gotta go. The guys brought me a special dust repellant coat with arm coverings and cool buckles for safety. I am gonna wear it for a few days to protect me while they remove the dust. I guess this will help my arm heal too!

Talk to you guys soon. Watch out for dust bunnies!

Keep on capturing time...
Darrell Young

May I Send You a Picture?

Back in 1979 I bought a great slide projector and a screen of my own. I had a few boxes of Kodachromes lying around so I thought I'd invite all my friends and family over for a nice slide viewing.

Things went well up to about the fortieth slide. Then, boredom started setting in. Not my boredom, mind you, but that of my friends and family. I could tell it was over when my best friend accidentally knocked over the screen on the way to the bathroom, and everyone cheered.

The dinner afterward was nice, but I doubted I'd ever do a slide show again. I'd learned something that day. My images mean a lot to me, but to others, not quite so much.

Later on, after filling up piles of albums with prints, I would invite friends over for dinner and "let" them see more of my images. I was quite amazed to find that the average friend's tolerance for images was about 36 or so. After that their eyes begin to glaze and strange groaning utterances would proceed from slack, drooling lips.

For years afterward, I would only show images to friends with big SLR cameras. Of course, in exchange, I had to sit through thousands of boring pictures produced by them. I don't even fully remember some of those sessions, since I clearly entered a state of photo induced stupor. It was hard for me to imagine that my images could be boring to others. "No way!" (I would say). "Way," said they!

Well, time passed by, and with it wisdom grew on my part. When I felt the need to display my exceedingly wonderful images, I would show them to my wife. When I noticed her eye start twitching, I would stop there and count the images. From that, I learned that a wife could handle up to twice as many images as the standard friend could. Finally, I could get away with image presentation for a limited time. My record is now up to about 40 images for friends, and around 86 with the wife. My sweet mom has been known to sit for as many as 100 images without drooling.

In July 2002 things changed. I bought a digital camera and stopped making prints or slides. I discovered that I could load up an e-mail with maybe six digital images, and send it to dozens of people at once. With great satisfaction I calculated that if 30 people viewed six of my images, it would equal a single friend viewing 180 of them. On top of that, I found that many people—with brains dulled by endless e-mail SPAM—would actually take as many as three e-mails per day without complaint. Can you imagine my happiness when I realized that the equivalent would be a single friend looking at 540 of my incredible images in one sitting?

Rejoicing is upon me! Who needs slide shows or albums full of prints, when, with a single click, I can send my images off into the Ethernet for viewing by many. When I imagine that some of those friends might be forwarding the images on to their friends and family, I get downright giddy. Thousands upon thousands of people out there appreciatively viewing my astounding images.

I must stop writing now since I just bought one of those e-mail lists with about 30-million e-mail addresses. I'm gathering 10 completely unbelievable images for a mass mailing. When I think of the great joy I've brought to all my friends and family—and their friends and family—with my hourly e-mails, I know this is the right thing to do.

So, if you get one of my photos in your e-mail, be happy. I am!

Keep on capturing time ...
Darrell Young

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

For the Love of Photography - An Introduction

I grew up looking at pictures!

Since I was a baby—back in 1958—my mother took hundreds of photographs of our family life throughout the years, capturing small pieces of time frozen in little negative squares. Today, I can still look back with those images, and they awaken memories that would be forgotten without them.

In 1968 my dear Mom gave me a Brownie Hawkeye camera and started a fire in me for taking pictures. I remember her words of instruction, "Load the film in a dark place, never open the film door until you rewind, and keep the sun behind you when you shoot."

From that day on I carried a camera with me often. I took 13-year-old style fuzzy pictures of my hikes up the Roosevelt Mountain in Rockwood, Tennessee, USA, with my brother Steven, and a friend named Scott Haley. Every major event of my life has a few frames attached.

I started photograping my own family in 1979, and documented the growth of my five children up until today. Photography has been a part of my life all the way back to my earliest memories. I'll keep on shooting until I'm unable!

In recent years digital photography has replaced film in my life.  I've found the digital process to be even more fulfilling since it allows me to completely control the process from the time I press the shutter until the final print. It has allowed me to be more creative, since the cost is low to shoot, and I can thereby experiment more. Using a digital darkroom or workflow is much simpler to me.  No more chemicals!

Honestly, for me digital cameras answer two distinct needs.  One, I love photography and want to make the best images I can possibly create.  Two, I enjoy technology and love to see the progress of electronic devices.  I guess it comes from reading so much science fiction as a boy.  DSLR cameras are not only powerful imaging devices, they are also satisfying to those who love to fool around with gadgets.  I like them so much that I wrote a series of books about using Nikon® digital SLR cameras successfully.

Now, my children are almost grown, and they all seem to have a love of photography, too.  Two of my daughters are starting their own mother and child portrait service, so the nut doesn't fall far from the tree. I make all of my living from various forms of imaging, my favorite being traditional stock photography.

Recently, I've been experimenting with places like Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter to self-market and let others enjoy my images. Have you found that type of image promotion to be successful?  I'm trying to go "viral" myself, these days, so I'm sure this blog will discuss issues along those lines quite frequently.

Camera technology is sure changing, and I find most of it quite fascinating.  I just have to be sure to hold myself back from the rampant "upgrade fever" that seems to have afflicted most of the world.  I still shoot often with my Nikon D2x from 2004, especially in the studio.  However, I do have the latest cameras too.  As an author of camera books, that'll always be the case.  I'm just glad I have a good excuse!

Today, things are moving quickly and changing constantly.  However, it all goes back to one thing—the image.  No matter what device I am using to capture what I see, the picture itself is the reason.

Photography is not about digital cameras, it's the process of putting onto shareable media something that fascinates us. Don't let your images pile up on your computer's hard drive.  Share them, distribute them, or license them.  Let your art be seen.  Life is short and you and I are creative creatures.

I just wanted to introduce myself and tell you a little about me and mine.  I hope that you'll comment on my blog and visit my website.  If you are an image or book buyer, I welcome you.  If you are a commenter on blogs, comment away!  If you are a lover of imaging, talk about it here or on one of my forums, or

Remember why we do this: "For the Love of Photography!"