ENTER THE NET: YouTube great site for hands-on research

By David Hughes

My younger brother Steve (he’s in his 60s) comes out with some profound ideas in his old age. Recently, he struck again with a concept I had not thought of in all my years of being on the Internet.
Steve has embraced photography in his later years full tilt. He has invested in all kinds of camera bodies and lenses and the accoutrements for the mechanics of making a good photo. But, speaking as a journalist photographer of almost 40 years, the old saying of “it’s not the camera that makes the photo, but the nut behind it,” (grin).
I’m proud to say that Steve definitely has “the eye” for making excellent photographs and he has posted hundreds of them online the past few years. While his work is primarily landscape based and centers a lot on beautiful old barns and natural beauty and mine was more “action-based,” he has become at least as good as I was …
My brother has always displayed excellence in what he does, whether it is woodworking or spending meticulous hours designing and building stained glass projects.
He did ask my advice on photo subjects when first beginning his new hobby. We discussed the relationship between depth of field and lens aperture, as well as the effect of changing shutter speeds on images, etc. During those early times I suggested he should “just google your question or other information you need.”
Perhaps it’s my print-based mentality. Most of my life information came to me in some sort of printed form such as words or still images such as photos or illustrations.
Relax: I’m finally getting to the point of how changing technologies has changed how people search for help online. I think it has to do with how long you have been online.
That is, if you are a very old hand such as myself who remembers when there was no graphics at all on the ‘Net, your brain is “wired” into searching for data the way you have always done it. But, if you are relatively new to the Internet world the newer methods are more familiar to you.
What brought this up is Steve’s purchase of a couple of large format printers to make huge prints for display. He’s also invested in the equipment needed to build custom frames and also stretch mount canvas=backed photographs.
While my brother is very intelligent, he found setting up this type of equipment and associated setup manuals intimidating and almost intelligible. He procrastinated several weeks before tackling the project, but what gave him the confidence was spending many hours on YouTube looking at the “how-to-do-it” videos done by others with the same equipment.
Steve told me the site has been a boon to him for a lot more than photo questions. He’s the “Tim Taylor” of the family – except that he knows what he’s doing on home projects. If he has to work on a piece of machinery with which he is not familiar. He’ll just query YouTube with what he wants to do such as changing a flange on a what’s-it and chances are, someone has been there, done that and videoed it for posterity.
My brother tells me one of the latest crazes on the service is really handy. Whenever folks get a new gee-gaw they will either take photographs or video of the unboxing. While some may think this is akin to watching paint dry, the real help comes if something happens and someone needs to return an item and for the life of them can’t figure how to make it fit back into the same box for shipping.
The unboxing can be examined easily to see what goes where, especially when some YouTubers will do a re-boxing at the same time.
So, I’ll admit this very old dog learned new tricks when it comes to searching techniques and a tip of the fedora goes to the “younger” generation for the help.
However … my favorite word … I still find YouTube a great place to get a fix from home, as well as other places I have lived in my lifetime. I just search for videos from Benton or Saline County. While the chances are I won’t know the folks in the video, I recognize a lot of landmarks from my childhood.
I enjoy seeing posted videos of BHS student activities and the little kids having a great time because it allows me to relive a little of my childhood.
Finally – some observations … While the digital age of photography has made it easier and much less expensive to “take picture,” what most of us are doing is taking images … hundreds or thousands of them. While that increases the odds slightly of getting a better photo, sometimes when we sit down at the computer and scroll through an overwhelming wave of stuff that we don’t take the time to really looks at pictures the same way as when we hold a tangible photo in our hands.
Steve’s photos are art in my opinion and there are several amateurs in Saline County who also fit that description. It’s a shame their art is not shared through prints more often. Congrats, bro. Thanks for your sharing a tangible memory.