But I do and I want them. Rules improve my art.
My mother came to visit me in my new home in late August 2017. And what do you do with visitors when they come to visit you in Arizona and you live only 2.5 hours away? You visit the Grand Canyon—one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World! So, she and I went—twice. We ditched my husband the second time who believes if you’ve seen an amazing crack in the ground once, you’ve seen it enough. Though, he does want to take the two-week rafting tour down the Colorado River. I think it sounds wet, maybe even cold, but fun.
Now, my mom has been using her mobile phone camera to advantage since she and a longtime family friend took a month-long southwest United States driving tour together a few years earlier. She had purchased gizmos (that we will discuss in another post) to make her mobile phone an amazing tool for great photography. And she learned something spectacular on that trip that she imparted to me at the Grand Canyon...
Enough about story. No really. Actually, I’m gonna touch on story periodically, but I think I will fast-forward to contests. Um, are you sure THIS is where you go next? I mean, we haven’t even learned aperture, F-stop, black and white, lighting… post production! Yes, it does feel inside-out to start with what seems like an end, but for this amateur-amateur it was a boon to my creativity, a catalyst to my understanding.
I spent two whole months snapping photos of subjects like my grandfather’s memorial service and our family gathering afterward, as well as even more photos of our magnificent area in Arizona. I even took a few on our way from Arizona to Georgia for the memorial service. And on the way back. I didn’t take pics of everything though, and I kicked myself for the oversight. But that brings up a valid point: we must LIVE our lives. We cannot always be snapping photos as if we were outside our lives looking in. We are the heroes of our stories, are we not? We must be present for the memories, too.
An article popped up on Facebook, something like “15 jobs to earn extra money from home.” Having just moved and looking for a way to add to the family coffers and still maintaining a bit of freedom, I clicked on the article. Most of what I saw didn’t appeal and required qualifications I didn’t have nor wanted to have. But one did stand out...
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…
New lives can produce new perspectives. So when we moved for the umpteenth time this past May, I took the time to start snapping photos. I don't own a fancy camera, though it has been on my Christmas wish list for years. I mean years. Granted, they are not cheap so I'm not likely to get one this Christmas either. But I can wish. What I have at hand—what most of the modern world has at hand—is a handy-dandy mobile phone. A year ago, I was forced to upgrade my mobile phone and I stuck with the Samsung brand. I bought a Samsung Galaxy s7. I really didn't see why I had to upgrade, but the new phone did "do" what I wanted. So, the new environment this year prompted my desire to capture new moments in a world alien to me. Mostly, because we broke down near Tucumcari, NM and I was left with a few hours of downtime. These first photos, as you can see, were point-and-shoot-let-the-camera-do-all-the-work shots. I was pleased that Samsung had put in the effort to help us lay-people take decent pics without the need for training and expertise of amazing photographers.
I am an amateur. An amateur amateur. This blog is dedicated to those of us who may never own a "fancy camera" (see my wish list), have the luxury of attending a photography class, or find a blessing in the form of a photographer friend. What we do have is a desire to capture, for our progeny, moments in our history that convey our story, our emotions, our thoughts, and our aspirations. As we start seeing our stories speak to people, we sometimes desire to branch out and tell other's stories.
It is my hope to ignite and encourage fellow amateur-amateur photographers to tell their stories. One day history will be blessed
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.