Lessons from Instagram

Hello blogging friends. I’ve been out of the blogosphere for nearly a year now and it’s only because I’ve been so busy. My little business, Page One Power has taken off and is keeping most of my mental powers occupied. My children, all five of them, like to consume the remaining bits of energy I have when I get back from work and then my wife hopes for a second wind from me every night at 9PM when everyone is asleep.

I’ve missed blogging. It helped me discharge my creative energy and allowed me to show off my photography.

Since I stopped writing last August two new trends have emerged in the social media frenzy of today; Pinterest and Instagram. I mostly ignore Pinterest, it holds little interest for me but Instagram has been wildly amusing. I shoot with my iphone and post for friends to see. There is only one problem with the new Instagram habit…

I went on a fantastic backpacking trip with my son, Jack last weekend. We flew up to Seattle and drove over to Olympic National Park to hike on the Hoh river trail. The adventure was full, fun and noteworthy. Jack is 11 and his favorite thing to do is burn stuff. He spent almost 7 hours one day burning logs in the campfire. I thought he would get bored eventually but the pyromania of the 1980’s that my pals and I had is alive and well in the 2010’s.

Anyways, I opted to not bring along one of my most trusted companions, my Rolleiflex. It’s a little bulky and I refuse to use it without a tripod. I thought that I could shoot with my iphone and print when I get back. I took some great pictures and was excited to see what the finished prints would look like on my Epson 4880 printer.

Upon printing the photos I was disturbingly disturbed. The quality is poor, extremely poor when compared to my Rolleiflex. I guess I should have known but the photos are so enchanting on the iphone screen I left logic behind in favor of ease.

To be fair, I love the photos on the iphone/Instagram but I’m old school. I like paper photos. Now the trip that I’ll never do again with the 11 year old who looks older each morning will not go into my files as paper photos. It makes me sad…

Another lesson I’ve learned from Instagram is that non-photographer people are much better photographers with it then they were with other types of cameras. I see some fantastic, sensitive images come along in my Instagram stream. Why is that?

Natural light. Very few photos have used the flash and natural light prevails on Instagram. That automatically helps things.

There isn’t a zoom lens to mess up a photo. People are discovering what I’ve known for years. You don’t need a 15-900mm zoom to get great photos! In fact, a prime (fixed focal length) lens frees you up to focus on the content and ignore the gizmodoness of a fancy zoom.

People are shooting a lot. That helps too. Practice makes perfect.

I think Instagram is a great tool to share your lives with others but I really don’t like that the photos are such low quality that printing them isn’t feasible. I guess you can’t get it all.

I’ve attached the Instagram images from my trip with Jack to this post. Many of you have already seen them on Instagram and facebook but here they are.

Camping Hoh River Olympic National Park Backpacking
He burned logs for 7 hours straight.
Mt. Tom Creek Campground Hoh river trail Olympic National Park
Our camp site
Forks Washington sign
We drove straight through Forks, WA. Saw a guy selling “Twilight” firewood.
Olympic National Park Hoh RIver Trail
Jack took every opportunity to stand on a downed log
Crescent Lake near Forks Wa
Crescent lake near Forks, WA
Crescent Lake near Forks Washington Olympic National Park
Crescent lake again
Hanging in the tent
Old growth cedar tree olympic national park
In front of an old growth cedar tree that fell down
downtown seattle, wa from the ferry
Coming into downtown Seattle on the ferry

space needle




  1. Great to see you here again.

    I think that, for most people, the age of the print is long past over. I also think that this age in which people take more photos than ever before will produce the fewest images that make it to the next generation, because we treat them so casually.

    A pocketable 35 mm camera would be a great companion on camping trips. I’m thinking about the Olympus XA or the Olympus Stylus (or Stylus Epic), which packed well regarded glass and are mighty tiny.

  2. Hey Jim,

    I agree. The paper print is all but dead and I should just let that go. But I still like them. I never thought about a 35mm camera. Brilliant.

  3. sorry that the pics won’t print well…that really sucks! i think one of the main issues with the digital age is that lack of printed photos. i have sooooo many photos I want to get printed but I just don’t take the time to go through them as it’s a little overwhelming!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s