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Trying to get digital photo skills clicking can prove challenging
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For the life of me, I haven’t been too enthusiastic about taking photos on my personal time.

In recent months, for example, I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in nature hikes – namely, Mount Diablo, Yosemite National Park and Portola Redwood State Park – and bicycling trips, and reuniting with college friends and former work colleagues.

Not once did I take out my digital camera.

These days, everyone is a shutterbug. Last Sunday, for example, I did a 12-mile hike along Portola’s Slate Creek Trail located in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

But before setting off, we took a large group photo – try 30 plus people – with the shutterbugs firing off several snap shots, using cameras ranging from state-of-the-art compact to single lens reflex.

“I’ll post it on Face Book,” one shutterbug sheepishly said.

I’ve come to realize that I’m relying too much on the good grace of other people to chronicle my activities.

In fact, I can hardly wait to see their photos of this past weekend posted on the popular friendship networking website.

The digital cameras on the market today have made expert photographers of many novices.

Back in the day – try the late 1980s to early 1990s – I used to take good action photos by dropping in the Kodak T-Max 400 professional film into the old company camera. The results, based on the setting, were often high-speed pictures in great contrast and sharpness.

My archives included former President George H.W. Bush, Michael Jordan, Bill Murray, Spike Lee, and Joe Montana, to name a few.

The fun part was developing and printing many of these photos using the dark room at one of my previous jobs.

I can still remember having that jaw-dropping moment of looking over the negatives and catching “Air” Jordan soaring for a dunk during an exhibition game played in Fresno taken during the summer after he led the Chicago Bulls to the first of their six NBA championships.

It’s particularly frustrating these days that I can’t come close to taking a photo like that using my point-and-shoot digital camera.

Today, I’m sort of like that big league hurler with not much left on the fastball when it comes to taking photos.

But at same time, I might have something left in the old tank.

It might take some education on my part on learning to use my personal digital camera.

Of course, it’ll take plenty of work and practice.

Perhaps the enthusiasm of becoming a shutterbug once again will return.