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Misty Canyon Morning

I can remember the smallest details about most of the photos I’ve captured. But not, I have to admit, for the one above. Yes, I definitely took the photo at sunrise on the South Rim. In fact, it’s one of my favorite Grand Canyon photos. But I can’t recall the month, the year, the exact location (Yavapai?), or the camera I used to create this image. The one thing I can state with absolute certainty? I captured the image on film—probably Velvia—and sent the transparency to West Coast Imaging for drum scanning.

One more confession: I used to record the technical data for the majority of the photographs I captured on film. But I have no idea where, after multiple moves, much of that data now resides. If it still exists.

And that makes me appreciate shooting digitally all the more. For practically every one of the tens of thousands of photos I have in Lightroom, I can instantly find precise information about each photo. When each was taken (to the second). The camera I used. The lens. The focal length. Aperture. Shutter speed. You name it. If I used a camera (or had a data logger) that recorded location data, I’d even have the GPS coordinates for each photo.

I learned a lot about photography while shooting film and have always been glad that I gained that experience. But shooting digitally offers significant practical and creative advantages. Starting with the metadata cameras capture with each click of the shutter.