My heartfelt thans to whoever invented the camera-phone. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "If only I had a camera." Now, the only time they ever utter those classic words is when they're without a phone.

Camera phones took photography to a whole new level. It's akin to when Eastman Kodak came out with the roll film. No more glass plates and no more five by seven or eight buy ten film. Just pop a roll of 620 film into your Brownie Hawkeye and you were ready for twelve shots.

Now, with digital photography, shoot as many as you want. Your chip will take up to 17 million nine hundred twenty three shots or thereabouts.

I can't even remember the times someone would show their vacation shots and say, "That there's Maw standing right thar in front of the Warshington Monument." You could see the entire monument because they stood a mile and a half away to get it in. But unless you were told who the one sixteenth inch tall person was, you would have never guessed it was their Maw.

I'd talk myself blue trying to get people to bring their subjects up front, close to the camera lens. They'd still get the monument in the shot and good ol' Maw would be recognized by her friends without identifying her.

It's similar to yesteryear's flash photography. At graduation, someone always stood in the rear of the auditorium with their Instamatic camera believing that a tiny B1B flashbulb would carry 300 feet or more up to the stage when a diploma was handed to Elmer or Matilda. This, despite the fact that the flash bulb and camera instructions both say the flash is only effective for images from five to nine feet away.

And then, whenever their film was returned after processing, they could never understand why no one could tell it was Elmer or Matilda.

The digital camera-phone corrected that by enabling everyone to take "selfies." Let's see them stand a mile back and at the same time up next to the Washington Monument now and shoot that scene. No, they can't. And the reason why is because selfies force them to shoot scenes like that the correct way.

Years ago when I was teaching photography, I'd stress these principals, but most were so engrossed in their new Instamatic 'toy' it just went in one ear and out the other.

I remember one gentleman was so excited after having taken a picture of the president. When the film was developed, there was no way anyone could have identified it as a presidential photo. He was in his office on the nineteenth floor pointing the camera out the window as the parade went by. All he got were the tops of heads and unless one was an expert in identifying the tops of presidential heads, no one would have been the wiser.

If you think that was bad, those who tried taking pictures of moving objects and couldn't understand why they were blurry, were even worse.

"Pan," I'd tell them. "Pan it! Move the camera in the same direction as the car's moving and take the shot while panning. That way the car will be in focus and the background blurred, giving the look of movement." It was easier teaching my dog where fish hung out than teach panning to some.

Still, camera phones are a great advancement in photography and you get the photos lickety-split. BINGO! They're right there. No more waiting until the roll of film is developed and the pictures are finally back from the drug store processors. They're right there on your phone screen.

In my book, that's progress.

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