A Kodak Moment, a phrase anyone over fifty understands.  A moment in time that is perfect, a moment you want to save forever and show to your grand children, even if they aren’t born yet.  How to get that perfect Kodak moment?

In begone days, it took real effort to get that moment recorded.  First you had to locate the camera, check the film, snap a picture, maybe two, seldom more than two.  Check the little window on the back of the camera to see how many pictures were on the roll of film. Hoping it was a roll of twelve so you could quickly snap ten of the dog and finish the roll.

Next was the trip to Walgreens to fill out the envelope, tuck the roll of film inside and leave the film for developing. The anticipation of waiting  four or five days to see that Kodak moment was almost too much. At last your pictures and negatives are ready in the little white envelope. The negatives are important because you might want duplicates of your special moment.  Oh, the excitement, you pull out the pictures only to discover your Kodak moment was blurry, or your finger was just a tad too close to the lens.  There were ten nice pictures of the dog though.

I’m guessing we have all had an experience similar to the one above or this next one. I once decided I might be a decent photographer and spent an hour taking pictures of some beautiful acorn woodpeckers.  I had the perfect pictures, each framed just right, birds and trees.  Only to discover sometime later there was no film in the camera.  Go ahead admit it, you’ve done the same thing.  Maybe you figured it out after a minute or two, some of us are just quicker than others.  

In the good old days, (I’m not sorry I said that) taking good pictures was an art form.  It took an investment, not only in dollars for the camera and film but, time, patience, and skill.  Because it took all of those things, most people didn’t take hundreds of pictures on vacation.  They bought a couple of 24 picture rolls of film and prepared a spot in the photo album for the seven good pictures they would treasure.   Don’t forget those little black corner holders?  I loved those things.  Digital photography has changed all that.

One thing we’ve discovered during our travels, everyone wants to take pictures now.  If you own a cell phone, and who doesn’t, you can instantly post pictures  to your Facebook page, send a tweet or an Instagram just like the Kardashians. 

Unfortunately there are no courtesy guidelines for picture taking. If you want to get the perfect picture standing closer seems to be the first choice.  I’m surprised that, like the lack of turn signals on cars, cameras don’t seem to have a zoom feature.  This assures that everyone wants to be as close to the scene as possible.  If you want a picture of the Grand Tetons I guarantee someone will rush to stand in front of you to get a better view, I mean really, they are called the Grand Tetons, they are huge mountains, you don’t need to stand closer. 

Then there is the sweet young twenty-something cutie who wants her boyfriend to take her picture .  Once, twice, sure, but Ms Cutie will run to stand in front of every display.  At the Botanical Gardens, in Montreal, I wanted to ask her name so I could give her credit for appearing in every picture we took that day.  

Remember view finders?  The little window on the top of the camera.   You put the camera up next to your nose, peeked through the little window  and snapped the picture. This was the old days so  you were buying film and paying to have it developed so one picture would probably do. That scenario is a thing of the past.

No one under 50 uses a view finder. Everyone uses the LED screen and of course it is best if used at arms length, oh, and to get the best picture hold it over your head. If your phone is on the charger use your tablet or IPad, it is bigger anyway.  By all means, post a video, make sure it is a panorama of the entire valley, mountain range, lake or museum display, oh add a narrative. 

A few years ago we scored a great seat on the top deck of an open trolly for a city tour in Quebec. The man in the seat in front of us had a neon pink iPad that he held above his head for the entire tour.  I don’t know which was worse, the fact that he was so incredibly rude or that he had a neon pink iPad.  I almost felt embarrassed for him but after the first few minutes I felt nothing but annoyance.  

In the last few years most of our pictures include the back of heads, arms and elbows and a cell phone, tablet or iPad.   I’m the first to admit, I don’t understand selfies, does anyone actually look good in a selfie?  Why isn’t it enough that you saw that beautiful scene, worthy of a picture? Does the scene really look better with fat cheeks in the middle?  Do you really have to prove to someone that you were there?  Do you usually make up stories about where you’ve been? 

I have a suggestion for a selfie sticks but it is probably best that I don’t put it in writing.  All that being said we still come home with hundreds of pictures of our trips, we enjoy re-living the experiences and remembering the strangers who appear in most of the pictures.    



Elderly couple taking a selfie in Italy 2015


How close do you need to be to see the tidal bore in the Bay of Fundy?

11 replies
  1. J R
    J R says:

    Loved your post, Carrie. I can identify with everything you said, as a seasoned citizen. I took tons of pictures with my SLR 35mm camera of my inlaws’ 40th anniversary party. They were excited to see the results. Unfortunately, I discovered much too much later that I had no film in the camera. They didn’t speak to me for a while. Always enjoy your posts. Keep up the good work.

  2. Pat
    Pat says:

    Once again you’ve taken a small segment experienced by most of us and given us a fresh new look at it. You described our photo experiences to a tee. The younger set can’t possibly understand. And yes, I once spent a whole vacation taking once in a lifetime pictures only to later discover there was no film in the camera.

  3. sandy lorenz
    sandy lorenz says:

    Those were the days. After the pictures were developed, how many albums were filled with family vacations, holiday/family picnics & school activities. Those albums filled up fast & then the problem was where to store all those precious memories. Sandy

  4. Glenn Gilmore
    Glenn Gilmore says:

    You left out a chapter on all those pictures you had made into slides, then the carrousel and then the pull down screen. Then you had to make snacks to make sure people would come to watch
    your three day camping trip with no showers, but you might have that in store for us next.


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