Why I just don't use my DSLR much these days:
Since I was a teenager I've always loved taking photos. I remember buying my first camera around age 16. It was this bulky Canon point-and-shoot, and I'm pretty sure I bought it from Walmart for around $100. At that age I took two types of photos. One: Goofy, posed photos with my brother Matt or another family member or friend. Two: Photos of bands. I always brought my camera to band shows and concerts, and whenever my band played a show, I always gave my camera with a fresh roll of film (yes, these were the film days) to a friend to take pictures of us while we played.
This photo is a synthesis of both of those types: a goofy, posed band photo, circa late 2000. This was right outside a small convenience store (hence the beverages/snacks) in downtown Mesa right after playing a show at the Nile (incidentally, if I tried hard enough I could throw a rock at both of those places from my new apartment). Looks like I did a poor job of scanning it.
That camera lasted me through my mission, after which I replaced it with a digital point-and-shoot.
In January 2009 I was expecting a sizable tax refund*. Depending on the size, I would buy myself either a new iPod or a DSLR camera. Apparently it was sizable enough because a month later I ended up with a new DSLR. I began using it instantly and I couldn't put it down, especially after moving to Colorado a few months later.
So why haven't I been using it much nowadays? I will postulate two reasons:
Firstly: Shortly after picking up my DSLR I began shooting in RAW format (as opposed to shooting in the internet/software friendly JPG format). RAW captures colors, especially skin tones, just a little better and photos come out a bit more clear. I got to the point where I felt that if I was going to shoot JPG I might as well use a point-and-shoot.
Now, the problem with RAW is that, based on my limited experience anyway, only the high-end photo editing softwares (like Photoshop) can do a good job of editing RAW photos. Formerly, this wasn't a problem because, up until a few months ago, I had a bootleg version of Photoshop. But then I bought a new computer and now bootleg Photoshop doesn't work (which is probably a good thing, because, as the word bootleg implies, I hadn't paid for it). So now if I want to edit a photo or even just post it on Facebook or my blog I have to copy it over to my computer, convert it to JPG, and then continue with editing/posting. Sure, it's not that big of a deal, but it is cumbersome enough to be annoying.
Secondly: Who posts entire albums of photos on Facebook or Flickr these days? Most of my friends who take photos do one-at-a-time mobile uploads on Facebook and Twitter or they use popular photo apps like Instragram. (Is anyone else getting kinda sick Instragram? It seems like a great app (iPhone only and I'm an Android guy), but why does everything have to be filtered and square? It makes me glad that I have a few friends out there that still take real photos**.) If I'm not sharing or displaying my photos, be they on Facebook or elsewhere, I don't have as much of a motivation to actually take any.
Part of me thinks I should invest in a decent point-and-shoot -- my new phone, despite its glorious speed, has a pretty worthless camera -- but that's $200-300 (or whatever they cost these days) I could put toward a new guitar. Or a record player. Or records. Or a plane ticket. (Or something practical and useful, but who are we kidding?)
Now that I can get a student discount (I think) I should probably just bite the bullet and buy Photoshop.
In the meantime, to all my photographer friends, and to all my friends who take photos, what Photoshop alternatives do I have? And what motivates you to go out there and take tons of photos?
*People are always confusing the terms tax refund and tax return, and more often than not, people refer to their refund as a return. But they're not the same thing. A return is the actual form or series of forms you file with the IRS, not the money you get back when you overpay.
**No offense, Instragram users.
P.S. I almost titled this post "photo phrustrations." That was a close one.