Gadget good: Little E gets a camera

Edison Carter, live and directChristmas this year didn’t go quite as planned, as I wound up having to work most of the day on short notice. We opened gifts at our house on Christmas Eve. The runaway favorite among Little E’s goodies was his very own digital camera.

To say that he has photography in his blood is probably something of an understatement. I’m a video production geek, and both my and my wife’s maternal grandfathers were professional photographers. I remember going to my Grandpa Harvey’s place in New Jersey and seeing all of his photo gear and thinking that maybe I did have a kindred spirit in my family after all.

Little E’s camera is a Little Tykes model, built to withstand a not-inconsiderable amount of punishment. It has 640×480 resolution and can hold 1,000 pictures in its flash memory. There’s a “trap door” that hides a USB connector so these pictures can be dumped to the nearest computer. I’ve made it a point to try to “borrow” the camera every couple of days while the little guy’s asleep (even though he complains bitterly about not being able to sleep with it) to check out his work.

The verdict: he’s three years old and he’s right on the edge of cranking out photos that aren’t documents of blurry motion. As soon as he gets a handle on the basics, he’s going to be leaps and bounds ahead of me in this department.

I think back to my friend Jason and Mike, who ran the darkroom in the yearbook department when I was in high school. I wonder how old they were when they first had something like a Polaroid instamatic camera thrust into their hands. My son is not even going to have to worry about developing pictures, emulsion fluid, or any of that. He is never going to have worked with film. Anything he does will have always been in the digital realm.

I have some useful ‘shopping skills that I can pass on to him as he gets older, but I have no doubt he’ll quickly exceed my abilities there too. I hope so.

One other thing: if one needs an example of how far digital photography has come, consider this. My first digital camera, purchased in late 1999, was a Sony Mavica, or as I affectionately call it these days, the “floppycam.” It used 3.5″ floppies to save its pictures. These days, you can’t find a computer that can accept or read 3.5″ floppies. So the boy’s first camera is the equivalent of the state of the art about a decade ago – no, actually, in terms of storage and data management, it’s superior to my first digital camera.

My first digital camera and my son's first digital camera - equals

I really am getting old – by the time I get anywhere near the state of the art, the state of the art changes its address and doesn’t leave a forwarding notice.

Here, then, are some of Little E’s first pictures.

The world through Little E's eyes

The world through Little E's eyes

The world through Little E's eyes

The world through Little E's eyes

The world through Little E's eyes

The world through Little E's eyes

The world through Little E's eyes

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