I have, after considerable investigation, decided there’s a reason — other than fashion and  lifestyle changes — to explain the popularity of texting.

No one can hear anything on their cell phone. The sound quality of voice on most mobile phones is poor, unclear, prone to disconnecting, and dropping. It’s easier (and much more dependable) to text.

I researched this. I talked to my granddaughter and her friends. I talked to my son and his friends. I talked to my friends. Texting is a defense against poor quality voice transmission.

iphone-whiteMy response? I don’t use a cell phone at all. I turned it off. Nor do I text. I use email extensively, especially if it isn’t urgent. Otherwise, I pick up the VOIP phone I get free with my cable package, and make a call. The quality isn’t great, not compared to old wired phones we used for years, or even early mobile phones, but it’s better than a cell. VOIP depends on a WiFi signal from your ISP. We all know how dependable that is, don’t we?

VOIP depends on a WiFi signal from your ISP. We all know how dependable that is, don’t we?

On a cell phone, you depend on Verizon,  AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or one of the newborn el cheapo services run by Walmart, or some other retailer. Unless you happen to be directly under a tower, you’re going to get white noise, crackling, and dropped calls. It doesn’t matter which carrier you use or which telephone you own. The iPhone has horrible voice quality for phone calls. I’ve heard tell some Android phones are loud, but no one has suggested they’re good.

Venu 8 size compared to phone

Our Blackberries had great voice quality. They aren’t players anymore, so you can choose from bad, worse, and WHAT???

We haven’t discarded the out-dated technology. We’ve lost technology that worked and replaced it with a poor substitute. I’ll bet if companies began making mobile phones with decent audio (again), many of us would use it.

What do I know, right?

It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World


I got tagged by Cordelia’s Mom, Still. Because I’ve never played — apparently one of very few people never to have participated in this open-ended, popular challenge — I thought I’d pop my oar in the water. Why not, right?

It turns out that no one is entirely sure where this began, but everyone seems to be having fun with it. It’s got only two rules:

1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using one of your photos in B&W. It doesn’t have to be new or any particular subject. Just black and white.

2. Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun. The hard part is going to be finding people who haven’t done it already and would like to play.

So, without further ado, I’m going to invite Willow’s Corner because she was the first friend to show up while I was writing this post.

Pleasant River Lake, Maine, August 1974. Taken in black and white, printed on paper. Scanned.

Pleasant River Lake, Maine, August 1974. Taken in black and white, printed on textured paper. Scanned. A bit faded with age.

About black and white photographY

I learned to shoot in black and white. Film. Why black and white? Because I could process it for free and labs were expensive. And not nearly as good as having a friend who ran the university’s photo lab. I did my own printing, but he processed the film for free. I then got proof sheets — you’ve probably never seen a proof sheet — from which I’d choose the negatives to work on.

Taken as monochrome.

In the course of events, I learned about films and film speeds. I learned about depth of field, f-stops, shutter speed. Printing, dodging, burning — manual post processing. There are things you can do with paper, shadows, and exposures you can’t duplicate with software.

Paper texture from software is a visual effect. Real paper texture is something you can feel. I know, it sounds so … primitive.

copper kettle kitchen BW

However. There are so many things you can do with software you couldn’t imagine doing before digital photography. My feet and back are happier working in a comfortable chair on my laptop rather than standing for hours in the darkroom.

Some things you only learn in a lab

Learning on film and doing my own printing taught me stuff new photographers don’t learn. Many, maybe most photographers have never used a camera without auto-focus, much less used a hand-held meter to take a light reading.

It’s similar to the difference between learning to drive on a manual transmission rather than an automatic. Learning on a manual transmission car makes you a better driver, forever. Even if eventually you stop driving a manual. Because you know what a gear is, what a change-point is. For that matter, what a transmission does. You are always more aware of what your car is doing and what you are doing to your car.

Structures BW

Photographers who have never had to conform to whatever film is in the camera, who have never used a light meter, or set aperture and shutter speed to meet lighting conditions are less in control of the outcome of their pictures. It’s not my opinion. It’s true.

Real black and white photography — not converting a color picture via software in post-processing, but actually shooting in black and white — teaches composition. Color is beautiful, but it lets you be lazy. You can substitute color for design.

Color is seductive and sexy. Black-and-white is a strict teacher who makes you work harder to get a good grade, but from whom that grade is an honor.

I don’t shoot in monochrome as often as I should. I’m as lazy as the next guy.

Ah, but when the magic works …


Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge:
2015 Week #13

Welcome everyone to Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge. This challenge’s subject is the roads, walks, trails, rails, by which we move from place to place. You can walk them, climb them, drive them, ride them — as long as the way is visible. Any angle of a bridge is acceptable, as are any signs.




72-Steps-Out Back -2-26_39

St Petersburg bridge