Nature Photographer

You should call yourself a nature photographer, my son recently told me.

This was a compliment, and it prompted me to study the content of my photographs more carefully. He and his wife are professional wedding photographers, and he owns a camera shop. In other words they know a great deal about photography.

Photos have been a part of my life for many years. I have always said I take photos because I cannot paint! There is something magic about capturing a moment in time. I started when I was 10 years old.

My first camera was a Kodak camera. It had a cartridge that dropped in the back of it. It would take twelve photos. Later one could purchase a twenty-four picture cartridge. The flash was a four-use cube. It would turn with every photo taken. The directions included in this fancy camera box told users to always put the sun behind you ( the photographer) so it could shine directly onto the subjects.

It was great fun. Developing photos could be done via mail, or the local photography store. Going through the mail was cheaper, but slower. I sent mine off through the mail. It would take up to a week or more to get them back. How exciting it was to see just how they turned out!

On the back of each photo I would write it’s own description with the date, names of people (or animals), and the place it was taken. Finding old, family pictures with no details were frustrating and not of much meaning to me. So I spent much time getting the details correct. So much time, that I quite saving every photo I took and kept only the ones I liked best. I think this did as much as anything to develop my eye.

The most exciting camera I owned, and wish I still had, was a used Canon AE1 purchased at a camera shop. It was a great camera that taught me a lot about film, lighting, settings. It took my skill to a new, fun level. I started then having film developed at camera shops. Talking to the owners taught me much about film, light, and settings. All the photos of our five children were taken with that wonderful camera. It captured a large portion of life for me. I began entering my photos in local county fairs. Seeing a ribbon hanging beside a photo was very exciting! The back closure finally gave out so I set it aside, and left the joy of photography for a while (having a house full of teenagers took every moment of time). I am sorry to say I think lost it in the shuffle of our last move for I have not been able to find it. I may yet!

Later, family and business trips required a working camera. The Minolta Freedom Zoom 140EX was the one of choice to record these fun times. It was the first digital camera I owned. It came with us on our big six-week family outing out west years ago, where it fell from the roof of our truck and that ended that. However, I do still have that camera. Think I’ll take it to our son’s shop for repair.

Then came the Iphone. Photography has never been the same. I used it for years. Compact, easy to carry, nothing but keeping the battery charged was required. It did set me back on the path of picture taking again, and I am grateful.

The days of buying cameras are over now, as our son has helped get me outfitted with a wonderful camera and accessories to keep me busy for a long time. The Olympus OM-D camera works well for me. I use mostly the 12-100mm lens, and a fixed 300mm lens with a monopod. This camera can do more than I will ever be able to do, but it is fun learning. I have also taken several photography classes to improve my skill. I recall one teacher saying that photography is not complete until it is printed and shared with someone you love. My family gets a good many photos in the mail of times we have shared together!

So, as I have studied my photographs, I realize my son is right. I do take many nature shots. We live in the country. I see a lot of nature everyday. He is right, I am a nature photographer.

These photos tell a story (don’t all photos?), of the deer as I interacted with them through the lens of the camera. What story do they tell you?

In Focus #10—Handwork

Two years in the making to complete this handworked project.

The joy of picking up the final stage of it, i.e. framed and ready to hang on the wall was quite exciting. When I look at it all finished, I feel as if it took hardly any time at all. I guess in the course of a lifetime, it did not take that long. At the time it seemed like a never-ending project. But so did parenting, and now our youngest is twenty-eight years old! How strange a thing time is.

Speaking of our youngest. This cross-stitch is for her. She was the one who talked me into purchasing it while on a trip visiting Williamsburg several years ago on a bus tour. I tried for years to get her interested in cross-stitch, to no avail. She wanted me to do it. Ha! That is going to cost her.

Indeed, after I picked it up from the framing shop, I wrapped it and gave it to her with some very strict instructions. These are my exact words to her:

“I did this project for you. I hope you like it because I expect to see it hanging in a most prominent place in your home for the rest of my life. I shall look for it every time I come into you home. You must leave it on your walls until the day you put me six feet under. Then you can burn it, sell it, or give it away, whatever you like.

May I tell you she loves it? After laughing at me and telling me she knows exactly where it will go. It reminds us both of a very special time we shared together with a lovely group of folks. Blessings upon blessings.

Oh yes, in case you are wondering, it is the Palace at Williamsburg. The cross-stitch was purchased in one of the beautiful gift shops there in Williamsburg.