Dr. Ama Hand
12 February 2005
Download the Relatives
1) My wifeís family rarely has family reunions because her aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, and parents are scattered all over the world. Nevertheless, yesterday we received an invitation to her nephewís wedding along with a note about using the occasion as a time for the family to have a reunion. Since I love family reunions, I couldnít wait to respond with a definite ďYes!!!Ē
2) Two days before we left for the reunion, I began packing. I sorted through clothes, personal items, books, and finally came to the issue of cameras. I have a Canon-AE1, single-lens reflex (SLR) camera and a Vivitar ViviCam 3.3 digital camera. I love my Canon, but I also know that my digital has its moments.  After pondering the choices, I finally came to the decision that for this occasion, the digital was preferable to the SLR because it was smaller, quicker for taking pictures, video-capable, and had instant gratification for pictures with easy email properties. 
3) My first consideration is based on the fact that my wife, two children, and I were traveling across the country to a three-day family event . We have a four-door sedan with good trunk space, but still space is limited. We also would be spending many hours in dress clothes and many hours moving from family member to family member while visiting. These facts had digital written all over them. My Canon takes up 135 cubic inches of space and weighs over two pounds. My digital takes up 10 cubic inches and weighs 10 ounces.  I can carry it in my shirt or suit coat pocket and donít even have to think about finding space for it in my already over-crowded suitcase and car. Based on size and weight, the digital is the best choice for this occasion. 
4) If I want the best pictures, I need to take the Canon. Itís 50 mm, 1:1.8 lens that has shutter speeds ranging from 1/30 of a second to 1/1000 of a second produces beautiful pictures in either color or black and white. However, relatives are relatives , and I donít expect beautiful pictures, even if I were a professional photographer with a $3000 digital SLR camera. Besides, setting up beautiful pictures takes time with the focusing, adjusting shutter speed, changing lenses, and hefting the camera to my eye. For that reason, the Canon just wonít work. 
5) OK, the digital doesnít take the best quality pictures, particularly since my 3.3 mega pixel is on the low end of the range for good digital photography.  Still, as I said above, I donít need Ansel Adams quality photography; I need pictures of Deniseís Uncle Balam, who literally has three eyebrows, or of her brother Donelle, who may be a Rhodes scholar and professional-quality rugby player, but who also has a smile that haunts my children in their sleep.  For those relatives , I only need a camera that can be pointed in the direction of the subject and which I donít have to focus.  One problem is that the actual process for taking the picture does take more time than on a SLR camera since the digital camera must record the image on the sensors before it actually has taken the picture. Thus, when I click the shutter, I must wait until the red light stops blinking (a second) before I have actually captured the image. The result is that I donít always capture what I wanted.  Nonetheless, if I donít get all that eyebrow or miss the smile that drives dogs under beds, I can always delete those pictures anyway, and I have always looked forward to deleting relatives .
6) Part of this reunion experience  is the wedding which will take place on the top of a hill on Deniseís brotherís farm. Her nephew Carl, a good Lutheran boy, will marry Jabari, a Yoruban from Nigeria. Following the ceremony, there will be a reception and dance at the farm. My SLR would be great for capturing the color of the wedding since it takes such clear pictures with vibrant colors, but I want to capture the intermingling of the colors as the staid Lutherans in their pastels and dark colors mix on the dance floor with the Nigerians in their brilliantly-colored clothes. Hereís where the digital has a big advantage since it allows for limited video.  The limited battery length on a digital camera makes for short videos, but even one of Uncle Haakon in his black suit dancing the polka with Jabariís mother in her bright yellow wrap dress would be a gem .  Hey, with a simple mode selection, I can take pictures that could someday make me a big winner on Americaís Funniest Home Videos. 
7) I love sharing my pictures whether itís with family, friends, or the whole nation. When I get my SLF cameraís film developed, I am capable of minutes or even hours of boredom as I pass the pictures around and comment in detail on each and every shot. However, it can take me anywhere from one hour to a week to get those pictures so that I can bore the world, and then, once I get them, I donít know just how many will have the quality that I desire for sharing.  On some, I may have moved and blurred the picture; on others, I may have too much or too little light. Sometimes I havenít framed the picture correctly and end up missing a portion of some important elementósay, a personís head or arms. When Iíve taken pictures during a vacation and am focusing on scenery rather than people, such delays are acceptable, but when the subject is a people-event, such as a wedding and reunion , I want to share the pictures quickly. I canít do so with my SLR. 
8) The digital to the rescue. One of the chief features of a digital camera is that the operators can see immediately what the picture will be, and then they can share those pictures immediately with the subjects and other interested parties. True, the screen is small on the cameras, so that those elderly relatives  may have difficulty picking out the details in the picture. Nevertheless, the picture is there and those who can make out the picture can enjoy seeing themselves and their families and friends immortalized on a cameraís sensor plate.
9) That fact leads us immediately to another important feature of the digital camera which makes it a blessing at a family gathering : the pictures can be immediately deleted! Perhaps Uncle Balam does not want his three eyebrows preserved on film for eternity, and maybe Grandpa Albert doesnít appreciate Aunt Felicityís rabbit ears behind his head. No problemóa couple of clicks and the offending pictures are history. I know that SLR pictures can be culled and shredded and burned, but negatives remain, and since negatives are often in strips, cutting the offending negative out isnít always desirable.  The digital has no negatives, so the evidence of any misdeeds or bad hair days is eliminated immediately and completely. I can take the good pictures home, print them off myself on my own printer, and delete the pictures once I am through themóor I can save them on my computer for future blackmail possibilities. 
10) The reunion  is finally over, and my family, camera, and I have returned home. Now comes one of the most fun parts of owning the digital cameraóemail. If I were to have taken my SLR, I would have to wait until the pictures are developed, scan them into my computer, and then email them.  Doing so would work well with my wife since she has the patience of Job, but I am into instant gratification. So I immediately download my pictures (while children and wife unload the car) and start emailing the reunion attendees and those poor family members who missed the occasion. I donít have to wait until the car is unloaded to get the film down to the local one-hour developer, and I donít have to wait another hour for the film to be developed before I can share my pictures. Voila! There they are and there they goóinto cyberspace and family history.  
11) Family reunions come and go, but having pictures makes the occasions last forever. My SLR camera would have taken beautiful still photographs that I can pass around the dinner table, but my digital camera also has taken good photographs that I can pass around the table after I print them and that I can pass around the world when I email them.  After all, the world is supposed to be one large community, and itís important they we know what we look like! 
 Digital cameras capture an image on a sensor which contains thousands of photosites. Each photosite captures a pixel (a 3.3 mega pixel has 3300 pixels); therefore, the more pixels the better the image.
1) Extended attention-getter to set the scene. It's in two paragraphs because of a shift in time of two days and a focus on cameras. The middle of the second paragraph provides a transition from the attention-getter about the wedding and the reunion to the thesis about which camera is better for the situation set up in the attention-getter. Return to paragraph 2.
2) The thesis includes the subjects being compared (SLR and digital camera), on what points they will be compared, and how the one is better than the other for the purpose of a family get-together. Return to paragraph 2.
3) The topic sentence in this paragraph comes at the end of the paragraph. The specific details for proof come in the middle, and the analysis, who the size fits the need, comes in the sentence following the specific data. Return to paragraph 3.
4) Use of specific data to prove topic sentence. Return to paragraph 3.
5) Use of specific example to set up need for this particular comparison. Return to paragraph 3, 5, 6.
6) The last two sentences are the topic sentence to this paragraph. The However in the middle of the paragraph shifts the emphasis from quality of pictures to ease of pictures, which is the point being analyzed in the paragraph. Return to paragraph 4.
7) Topic sentence in the middle of the paragraph. Return to paragraph 5, 6, 7.
8) Drawback, but followed immediately by analysis that explains away drawback. Return to paragraph 5.
9) Referral back to reunion to provide connection between this new point and the rest of the paper. Also sets the scene for the new point. Return to paragraph 6.
10) Analysis of the specific example of the wedding dance and of the topic sentence about the need for video capability. Return to paragraph 6.
11) Allusion to television show to make a connection between writer and reader by providing a common reference point. Return to paragraph 6.
12) Specific details are analyzed to explain how they fit the thesis about the need for a specific time of camera for a family get-together. Return to paragraph 7.
13) Topic sentence containing proof. The topic sentence is then followed by analysis of how the details prove that the digital is better for the family get-together. Return to paragraph 8.
14) Topic sentence that continues the point about how the digital camera is better because its instant pictures can also be deleted. Return to paragraph 9.
15) Explanation of why the SLR camera can't meet the need of deletion. Return to paragraph 9.
16) Explanation of digital camera's ability to meet the need. Return to paragraph 9.
17) Topic sentence to make point about the need for email capability. Return to paragraph 10.
18) Explanation of why SLR can't meet the need. Return to paragraph 10.
19) Explanation of how digital camera meets need. Return to paragraph 10.
20) Continual references to family gathering to remind readers of the specific purpose set up in the thesis. Return to paragraph 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
21) Conclusion that restates main points about how digital camera is better for family get-together than SLR. Return to paragraph 11.
22) Closing attention-getter. Return to paragraph 11.
23) Use of footnote to add information that helps in understanding the paper but isn't necessary to the paper's content. Return to paragraph 5.
Return to Writing the Comparison Contrast Paper or OWL.