I am a writer at heart. Like so many people I discovered my spark for putting word to page when I was young, high school, actually. I don’t think I realized I could be a writer when I grew up; it was just something for which I seemed to have a knack. So, the skill lay stagnant. It wasn’t until I had birthed and begun to raise four kids that I discovered words lurking in the corners of mind that desired to see the light of day. Toddlers, while amazing and awe-inspiring beasties, can’t always hold adult conversations. In the very, very early 2000s, I took a correspondence course on creative writing. I haven't used the skill to its fullest yet. That happens with me sometimes and is a character flaw I’ve spent time correcting. But I did start to write; some of it worthwhile, some of it…
…not so much.
Sometimes folks will tell us, exhort us, to write our memoirs. Posterity will want it. Many of us don’t feel as if anyone, even family, would read something we’ve written. Why bother to write it at all if no one will care? So, we continue with our daily lives, never committing to paper years of lessons, dreams, and joys. You know what we will do, though? We will take pictures. We take selfies, and if we are prolific enough, we can even see our age progress like a flip-cartoon; we photograph celebrations, vacations, sporting events, and, from time to time, everyday events. These are stories we do share, stories we know at least our kids will want to know and appreciate.
My last post, I started a story with my pictures. I could have started it sooner, or even later, but I started it at a beginning: a complete upheaval in our lives with another move to a new area of the United States. The pictures depict car trouble with a couple of Rottweilers and our newly truncated family as we were on the road. I trailed off, using mental ellipses (…), with our first night on the road at the hotel, and then the final leg into the Prescott area of Arizona. Those pictures were all point-and-click with my Samsung Galaxy s7 built-in camera. I didn’t play with anything, nothing at all. I didn’t change from auto focus; I didn’t alter filters; I didn’t check my ISO. Nothing. The only thing I messed with, and even then, I forgot to check regularly, was the flash. You will see some of these failures in the photos below. For now, the poorly lit photos will be ignored for their quality and we will look for the story. Stories can be told no matter the quality. The obvious story the photos below will tell us immediately is that the photographer used a point-and-click camera and not particularly well. But once past the initial repulsion, the true story lies within.
It is my hope the story says something like this to my audience: Having safely made it to the new area, my family settled into the hotel. Our stay at the hotel grew long, so long in fact, we resorted to using a crock pot in our hotel room to have healthy meals; we even celebrated a birthday. We enjoyed exploring our new area.
Something that I noticed with my photos, though it may not yet be evident to the reader, is that as I used my camera more and more, though still very much at the point-and-click stage, my composition improved. I was still telling the stories unfolding around me, but the pictures became more dynamic. They drew me in more, made me smile, or reminded me of the awe of our area. I focused closer for macro-like shots; I moved my body from side-to-side or stood on something to better balance the elements within the frame. I was increasingly wanting to create more interesting shots, something that my kids might one day look back on and say “Wow, mom really did capture the essence of the moment” or something equally poetic.
**The last one, the one of Watson Lake in the Granite Dells, shows that even an amateur-amateur can take an amazing photo with her point-and-click from time to time.
Darcien Balog (that's me) started as an amateur-amateur at everything in life. She started making renaissance clothing 20+ years ago and by 2013 had reached a skilled professional status. And so it has been with almost everything in her life, from schooling her children at home to crafting for resale to writing novels.