Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Ok, so you actually get two posts from me today!  I managed to pull one together covering 3 of the days I've missed from my photo challenge.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Three of the pictures from the challenge I can put into this category. Day 13 asked for my favorite band or artist, day 16 for someone who inspires me and day 23 for my favorite book. All three of these pictures give me inspiration in different ways and for different reasons.

My favorite band or artist was hard. I know they meant musical band or artist, but I went into other arts as well, since all art, not just music, has played such a large part in my life. I chose Ansel Adams as my “favorite”. Like I’ve said before, it is very hard for me to ever choose a favorite anything. But, today Ansel is my favorite. He’s another one of those people I want to be when I grow up. His images are so powerful and masterful. The patience he had to see the potential image and then actually wait for the light to be just right and think about the exposure and the angle and all the other things that go into making a spectacular photograph, not just a snapshot.

I’ve been working most of my life on “seeing” things. I was lucky enough that at an early age, even before I could use a camera, my parents were teaching me to see, to watch, to think about the images. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, so many of my favorite childhood memories include taking walks with our cameras and then receiving those little yellow boxes full of slides in the mail and talking about the photographs we took. The smell of darkroom chemicals will always bring back fond memories.

I hope some day that I’ll be able to pick up my camera again and “see” things. Lately I’ve been taking too many “snapshots” and not enough “photographs”. I need to slow down again, see what’s around me and think about it and figure out how to capture the essence of the moment.

In some ways it’s easier now with digital cameras or at least less expensive in the long run. I will always miss working in the dark room to take a negative that’s not quite good enough and turn it into something amazing. I’m a very hands-on kind of girl and while Photoshop and the like can do a million more things than you could easily do in the darkroom, it’s not quite as satisfying to me. And some times, the instant gratification of the digital image takes some of the fun and excitement out of it. There was nothing compared to the anxiety of putting your roll of film into one of those little yellow Kodak envelopes and sending it off to get processed and then the very long wait to see what all that hard work yielded.

Day 16 asked for someone who inspires me. One of my childhood heroes was Sally Ride. She was the first American woman to go into space. She has worked long and hard over the years to get girls interested in science and to follow their dreams. I recently read some interesting things about Sally. Like the fact that she originally wanted to be a professional tennis player, but realized while she had the drive, she didn’t have the raw talent. She pushed herself hard and has done so much. I heard a lecture by her while I was in high school. She was amazing to listen to. I think the lesson I take from Sally is that anything is possible as long as you have the drive and you put your best talents to work for you. That’s something I still struggle with today.

Day 23 asked for my favorite book. Again with the favorites! Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a book work and then some. I love books. I love to read. I’ll read just about anything. I do love certain genres more than others, but I’ll give just about anything a shot. There are some books, however, that I return to time and time again. One of those is To Kill a Mocking Bird. I first read this book in 6th grade. I think I’ve read it a half a dozen more times since then. Even though I know the story well and the characters are all old friends, I still like to go back and visit.

I truly identify with Scout Finch in many ways. I was too smart for my own good, I don’t always “get” social situations, and I’d much rather be playing in the mud in my overalls than being a pretty girl stuck in a dress. There is so much more to her though. She really is a kind soul just trying to figure out how this crazy, messed up world works and wondering why it all can’t be right and why the “good” people have bad things happen to them. I draw strength from Atticus and his relationship with his daughter and the faith he has in doing the right thing, even if it isn’t the popular thing. I think that’s the biggest lesson for me in that book. Well, maybe two. Like Scout, I need to be true to myself and who I am and like Atticus, I need to do the right thing, even if it isn’t the popular thing. I think I’m pretty good at both of these, but there are days I need to be reminded of them.

So, I bid you peace and may you find inspiration where you may.

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