The room is upstairs and is a modest but nice one–has a sliding glass door that opens to a small balcony above our back yard, with a view through towering connifers to distant mountain ridges. No doubt the room was designed to be a bedroom, but when Jerry and I moved into our home in Crestline, we didn’t need all those five bedrooms (except when our whole clan is there, and then we need more) so we set aside that particular room to be the Picture Room. It’s neat to display our albums, plus the hundreds of sorta-kinda-at-one-time-orderly-boxes of loose pictures that the children and grandchildren from time to time paw through. In that room are pictures of my mom and dad when they were young and handsome and Jerry’s beautiful mom and dad and his grandparents and my grandparents and our babies and school pictures and funny-looking hairdos and the studio pictures Jerry and I exchanged in Tulsa before we were married. Hundreds of slides are slotted in black carousels and stacked yea-high and vacation journals are wedged side by side in the large shelves, and in that room also, we keep souvenirs that we have accumulated from our travels…and from our lives. Our marriage certificate is there, as are Jerry’s ordination papers and his teaching credentials and college year books and special notes we treasure.
The Picture Room. If I were home now, instead of being here in Lake Havasu in my motor home, I would take my camera and go up the stairs and click off a couple of shots to show you. Once when I was in an antique shop, I sighted a large weathered board with the word SOUVENIRS scribed on its greyed and rough surface. I must have it, and now it hangs over a blue sofa in our picture room. A perfect piece, it appears to have once stood outside a waterfront shop somewhere (when I go home for Christmas I will snap its lovely aged face and show you.)
The Picture Room…when we were away from our home and heard of threatening fires–has happened to us twice now in recent years–my immediate thoughts were of the picture room. For of all the treasured possessions in my home, these are the most valued of all. They are priceless and irreplaceable.
Now comes this wonderfully informative article that speaks to “cutting-edge” picture technology. I know you will want to read it–has neat ideas.
From the Best Ways to Create Digital Family-Photo Albums
by Jennifer Openshaw
Digital key chains. Start small! For as little as $20, you can get a digital key chain to display a series of 1.5-inch images. Give one with a stack of padded envelopes and a promise to update it monthly for a favorite family member. Digital photo frames. A novelty last year, digital photo frames are now mainstream. You can get big ones, up to 15 inches, and a growing feature set, including editing tools, wireless uploads and even the ability to email your latest images to someone else’s frame. My favorites, for picture quality and features, include lines from Kodak and Philips. Standard frames are generally $100 to $200, while the wireless models hit the mid-$200s. They’re much cheaper than a year ago, and if you’re inclined to put it off another year, they’ll get cheaper yet. GPS mapping tool. It’s easy to know and show when you took a particular photo, but how about where? For that big cross-country trip, wouldn’t it be nice to look at a map and connect photos to the place they were taken? Wouldn’t it be nice to organize photos by location instead of just date and time? The Sony GPSCS1KA does just that. The key chain GPS receiver records your locations over a period of time. Then, using supplied software and date/time stamps on your pictures, it connects each picture to a set of GPS coordinates. The software places map pins on a Google map corresponding to each picture. Mouse over the map pins and you’ll see your picture from that location. Online sharing sites. Photo sharing sites have been around for a while. The latest and greatest in this space is Flickr, operated by Yahoo, as the new way in sharing sites. In their own words, they are the “WD-40 that makes it easy to get photos from one person to another in whatever way they want.” I’ll let you check out the details, but it’s pretty cool.
The face of pictures rooms is changing, and while such progress is inevitable and certainly desirable, there is just something about pulling down albums from the shelf, sitting flat on the floor, back pushed against the couch and staring into the faces of long-ago kin. There’s something connective about the musty whiff of aged images, whose slightly familiar eyes stare back–solemn and unblinking.