The Best First Camera for Kinesthetic Learners

Do you know anyone who learns best by doing? They’re called kinesthetic (or tactile) learners, people who prefer learning through hands-on experience. They’re the ones who say, “Let’s just get started already. I’ll learn as I go.” Don’t hand them an instruction manual to study. Don’t try to explain to them how to play a new card game while you deal them their hand. Don’t try to show them how to learn a new computer program unless, by god, their own fingers are on the keyboard.

Kinesthetic learning and phtographers

Only about five percent of the population leans toward kinesthetic learning. If you, your child, or someone else you know is a kinesthetic learner who wants to learn photography—and good headway isn’t being made—may I make a suggestion to you? Move to shooting on film for a while, with a camera that is decidedly not automated.

Digital cameras are a marvelous thing, but shooting on film requires a person to get much more deeply engaged, mentally and physically, with the camera itself. Because the photographer needs to wield physical control over the moving parts—and not just by pushing an automating or semi-automating button—they’ll better learn why each component is there, what it does, and how it works with all the other parts. In other words, kinesthetic learning abounds.

Similarly, shooting digitally means the photographer might corner themselves into using just one ISO speed. Using film forces the fledgling photographer to play around more with shutter speed and aperture. Exploring the results of varying combinations of these three photography building blocks, I think the kinesthetic learner will develop a deeper understanding of how a camera actually works—and, eventually, how a good memory is made.

Here’s a quick little fun quiz to determine what kind of learner you are:


20 Fun Things You Can Make from Your Photographs

Gone are the days when photographs were either framed for display or sealed in a photo album. There are so many more fun things you can make with your photographs now—not just digital alterations but objects you can actual hold in your hand and, in some cases, put to functional use.  Want to know what you can custom create from your pictures?

  1. Jewelry
  2. Motivational posters
  3. Pop-art posters
  4. Jigsaw puzzles
  5. Postcards
  6. Wrapping paper
  7. Alphabet art
  8. Photo blankets
  9. Quilt squares
  10. Calendars
  11. Note cards
  12. Mouse pads
  13. Statuettes
  14. Wallpaper
  15. Ornaments
  16. Vellum lampshades
  17. Vellum folding screens
  18. Tote bags
  19. Clock faces
  20. Cake decorations

Big changes are happening right now at our store, and as part of those changes, some of these options will be available directly through us.

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Take a look at our current services to see what exciting things we can already help you create with your images and watch for more information in the coming weeks about how we can make your memories better!

A Documented Life

Some images belong on big screens and in museums. Others belong in our homes in our DVD players and photo books. But really, nearly every photographed or video-recorded image is on some level art and/or documentary, isn’t it? Our cameras allow us all to tap into our inner artists and hold the reins on how we want the world and our experience in it remembered.

video yourself 1 second a day

Have you heard of the 1 Second Every Day app? Currently available only on iPhones (but coming soon to Androids, according to the manufacturer’s website), it’s a way to document your life as a series of 1-second clips, one for each day from the time you begin using the app. You can even retroactively add clips from your phone taken before you bought the app.

The 1-second app immediately made me think of recent viral videos showing a picture per year, or in some cases per several months, of babies growing up into teenagers and beyond. The rapid age progression is kind of mesmerizing. What I think is interesting about them is that they don’t just document changes in physical appearance. They capture something of the children’s essence, and how their personalities blossom over time. How are we to know when we push play on that bald baby with dimples that he’s going to end up with a bleach-striped waterfall haircut and a little gleam of mischief in his eyes? It’s really an interesting blended use of photography and video, a wonderful rethinking of time-lapse videography.

Of course, time lapse is nothing new to videographers. It has long required significant patience, the careful selection and situating of equipment and lots of waiting, checking, and careful synthesizing. Things like the 1 Second Every Day app and the time-lapse YouTube videos are sort of the other end of the spectrum, the easy end of quickly observing evolutions in our lives. The app documents these more as collage, making me think of what the dying must see when they say their lives “flash before their eyes.” The pic-a-year videos document more of a straight-line progression. Either way, I think they open an exciting new can of worms for camera-owners everywhere. Have you tried your hand? What were the results? Our staff would love to see them!

Miniaturize It: Fun with Tilt-Shift Photography

It’s a big, big world—but you can make it look downright tiny with the right photography tools and techniques. Miniaturization of scenes using tilt-shift focus is one of those special photography effects we don’t see in our shop that often, probably because it’s a bit whimsical and not something you can do (or want to do) with just any subject. It always makes us do a double-take, making life-sized subjects appear to be small replicas of the real deal. Sometimes it’s really hard to tell if it’s a miniature or not.

Thanks to photo-editing software and apps, you don’t even need to use a tilt-shift lens to get the job done. You just need to photograph your subject from a fair distance (think top of a mountain, second story of a home, or across a river). The image below was taken by an amateur photographer using her Android camera. It was such a ho-hum photo, with a wall intruding on the left, that she was just going to delete it:

Tilt Shift Photography


Then she realized that, because it was taken at some distance, it might make for a good tilt-shift photograph. So, she edited the image in the free Snapseed app, using the app’s Tilt-Shift filter:

Tilt Shift Photography


Kind of cute, no? A boost in brightness, contrast, and color saturation tends to exaggerate the dollhouse effect and make the image seem more fantastical. (The ability to fiddle with all of those things is built right into the Tilt-Shift filter on Snapseed.)

If you have any not-so-awesome photos sitting around on your SD card or computer, why not take a look and see if you could breathe new life into them with a little tilt-shift treatment?  We’d love to see what you create!



Recycling Vintage Photographs

Oil paints, pastel chalks, watercolors, clay, vintage photographs—one of these things is not like the others. Right? Wrong. Vintage photographs are more and more being used as a medium for creating new works of art. Of course, any photograph can be used in this way, but there’s something particularly riveting about a vintage black-and-white photograph re-imagined as a new work of art:

Vintage Photograph as Work of Art

Chilean mixed-media artist Jose Romussi creates works from vintage photographs and thread.

Have you ever considered creating new artworks from your own piles of old family photographs? For many people, this would have been an unthinkable offense before the advent of photo restoration services. But with the ability to restore vintage photos as well as produce multiple prints of them, you now have infinite freedom to experiment with unique ways to display them. You can use their original beauty without worrying about ruining your original copies.

Vintage Photographs Re-Imagined

American Artist Mary Daniel Hobson tore the edges of these vintage photographs before bottling them into a triptych.
She explains that the torn edges symbolize the fragmentary nature of memory.

Delicate Vintage Photographs

And you thought a vintage photo was delicate:
British Artist Louise Richardson transferred vintage images to feathers.

Hey, it’s a photograph. It can be reproduced ad nauseum. Which means you can experiment ad nauseum. Which means you can let your imagination run wild. Which means your box of old black-and-white snapshots is a little like a new box of crayons to a kid. What will you create?

Time for a Camera Tune-Up

Just like you need an annual tune-up for your car, or you should be getting one, your camera needs some basic maintenance as well. Now is the perfect time to get your camera ready for those great spring and summer photographs you’ve been dreaming about.

Check Memory Cards

Camera Memory Cards for Photographs How many photos are living on the card and not your computer…or even worse, not printed. Before you head out on that summer trip, make sure your card is clean. Get those photos off of there. Or, buy a new card. The cost for larger memory cards seems to drop once every 6 months. Just remember, the more cards you have, the more confused you will be with what’s on them unless you have a great filing system. And, if you lose a card, you’ve lost all those memories.

Battery Check

Digital Camera Batteries RechargeableHow long have you owned your camera with that rechargeable battery? They do lose their ability to hold a charge and do need to be replaced every few years. Buying a second battery is a good idea and keep it handy if you are going on a long trip and your current battery is more than 5 years old.

A Clean Camera is a Happy Camera

Camera Cleaning SuppliesFirst of all, try keeping your camera away from items that might make it dirty in the first place: dirt, sand, saltwater, dust, etc. Obviously, that means keeping it in a plastic bag with a whole for just the lens. Just be careful around water.  When cleaning the lens, get your micro fiber cleaning cloth and keep it with your gear. Not only is it great for oil on the lens, it’s also great for the camera body. Use your breath, wipe. Simple.

For the interior of the camera when changing lenses, a sensor cleaning brush or blower is a good buy.  Just don’t touch the sensor. Ever. If you are worried about dust on the actual sensor because you are printing large photos and are seeing issues, bring it to us. We can clean it for you professionally and ensure no damage.

Avoid canned air for cleaning and make sure to never touch the shutter on your automatic. For lenses and filters, use a blower first then micro fiber.

And one simple tip to help keep all your gear clean – get a camera bag!

Turn That Digital Image Into Something Real!

We had a blog a few weeks ago about photos not really being photos until they are printed. We are taking that to heart and have lowered the prices for all matte or glossy 4×6 and 3.5×5 prints. 4×6 are now just 19 cents per print and 3.5×5 are 18 cents per print. So, take a few minutes to upload your prints online or bring your digital card to the store and walk out with actual photographs.

You should also start considering custom prints for some of your digital photos that you feel are works of art! How about mounting your photo on foam core or taking your digital photo and using a metal print? We have options when it comes to printing your photo on aluminum. Most people will be in awe of just how clear the print looks and just how different it is from a print on canvas.

Turn your digital image into a metal print!

Turn your digital image into a metal print!

We are proud of our In Store Printing Services and the folks who are there to help customers when they come in with their USB drives, digital camera cards or smart phones.  You can visit our Pix Lounge and upload your photos and we will help you make a decision on how to best get that photo printed. To truly appreciate some of the photos you have taken, you must print them and see them in a larger format.