This afternoon I placed the last of the photos from my North Korean vacation into an album. I still print out my vacation pictures as I enjoy sharing them with others as we flip through the pages. Digital photography allows me to correct the lightness and darkness at home before I send them in electronically to be developed, however in spite of my own corrections I have had to get about 10% of my pictures reprinted. My adjustments do not always come out to my own specifications, for reasons I don’t understand. The staff at the camera store has got to know me because each time I come in to pick up an order, I drop off a memory stick with a dozen re-do’s, which they will happily print out for me within the hour. In addition to the memory stick I also include post-it note instructions to each picture I want redone, so the developer can compare the original photo with what I want it to look like. Fortunately the photo place has a policy of printing free re-do’s and they always come out looking perfect the second time around.
Back in October when I picked up the first batch of my DPRK photos the clerk went into the back room where they do the developing and brought out another employee. This guy was curious about the pictures that perhaps he himself had just developed and had many questions to ask me. Sometimes the staff asks customers about their pictures, making small talk with them as a sign of good customer service. This went to a different level, as I could tell from the guy’s enthusiasm and from the way he was interacting with his coworkers that he must have been discussing my North Korea photos with them. I got the feeling that he probably told everyone he works with that if this Craig Rowland comes in to pick up his photos and if he happens to be working, then to fetch him out of the back room to have a talk with this guy. I enjoyed sharing with him details about my trip.
I have filled out six photo albums with 2136 pictures. This is the biggest photo haul ever. Even when I lived in Finland over the summer of 2000, I only developed 584 pictures. I have loved going over every single photo on my computer and adjusting its lightness or darkness to make it look perfect, but having over two thousand to look at is to say the least very time-consuming work. I am glad it’s all over.