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Making the Effort

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Life is difficult.

No surprise there; but, believe it or not, I think it can sometimes be better that way.

That thought follows on from the column I wrote last week about the current fascination with sharing photographs.

In that piece I suggested the excessive amount of time some of us spend taking, sharing and looking at photos can get in the way of developing other skills.

I also mentioned that if anyone could explain the photo craze to me by writing to the email address at the top of this page I might just use it in a future blurb.

For the time being, though, I’m going to run with my suspicion that the image obsession has grown out of the fact that smart phones have made taking and sharing photos so easy.

At this point, you may be wondering why I chose to place a photograph of Jupiter and four of her moons at the top of this page.

Well, when I first tried to look at that far off planet five years ago it was bloody hard work, mainly because my budget telescope came with a sub-budget sighting scope.

A sighting scope is a little device that needs to be lined up with the highly magnified scope so you can find the object you wish to view.

They usually have cross hairs like the scope on a rifle and serve pretty much the same function.

As I say, the one that came with my telescope wasn’t very good and it could not be adjusted precisely so the two scopes were never zeroed in on the same point.

That made finding a tiny dot of light in the vast black sky rather tricky.

When I did manage to find what I was looking for, however, it was quite a thrill, and Jupiter and its moons were my favourite.

Anyway, a friend got a telescope about a year ago and he had a similar experience.

He spent ages trying to find what he was looking for but he loved it.

Then he got an incredibly accurate sighting scope that made it much, much easier to locate Jupiter and other planets such as Venus and Saturn when they were visible in the night sky.

Did he love it? Well, yes he did… at first.

But then he started to lose a little bit of his interest in looking at stars and planets.

“It’s too easy,” he said. “Anyone could find them with this thing.”

I feel that way about digital photography as well.

For many years I took photos to go along with the freelance articles I tried to sell to newspapers and magazines.

That was back in the 35mm days when you had to buy film and then pay for each roll to be developed.

It was an expensive exercise so a great deal of thought went into setting up or anticipating each picture before I pressed the shutter.

The end result reflected my skill so when I did get a good photo, it gave me a great deal of pleasure.

Nowadays it’s shoot, shoot, shoot and hope for the best; and then delete the crap and digitally enhance the best of what’s left on a computer.

That doesn’t do it for me. It was far more enjoyable when it wasn’t so easy.