First camera in the dark

My first job out of college was at  I worked there from 1998 until the beginning of 2001.  At some point around late 1999 I purchased my first digital camera, an Olympus D360L.  It cost about $300, shot a whopping 1.3 megapixels, and came with a massive 8 megabyte SmartMedia memory card.  It was a fun toy.  I used to take it out to clubs and shoot with the flash off, trying to grab some candid shots.

At one point, I got a badly exposed shot of my friend Wes.  I didn’t think much about it until I was playing around in Photoshop and tried to see just how much detail I could pull out.  I started with this:

I fiddled with the light levels, cropped the extra bits out, tried converting it to black and white, and eventually wound up with this:

I started with a bad photo and would up with something I thought looked awesome.  I’ve described it as a “Goth Cousin It with a universe behind his eyes” or just “cool.”  Either way, this was when I realized a few things:

  1. A bad picture could be turned into a good picture
  2. A photo of a person could be turned into something more abstract.
  3. Don’t delete your bad photos, because you may be able to do something cool with them later.
  4. I was having a lot of fun doing this.

There were a lot of moments that made me love photography, and this was one of the first.


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