I like to take pictures. Sometimes to document an occasion or place, or to remind myself of the name of a wine label or restaurant I’ll never remember later. But mostly, I just enjoy capturing a good image, whether it’s people, landscapes, or a snippet of nature.
My first couple of jobs at small newspapers that couldn’t afford a staff of photographers required me to use a camera. Many times, I had to shoot the pics to go along with my stories. My boyfriend, now husband, helped me learn about lighting and backgrounds and framing a shot. And I got to be reasonably proficient. (I could load film into the camera, but never had to develop on my own.)
Fast forward several years. Every event we go to, every vacation we take, we do double on the photos! Even though he’s a professional photographer and gets amazing shots that I can’t hope to achieve, I still drag my camera along and take my own photos. I especially enjoy capturing small vignettes…a bee or butterfly on a wildflower, some interesting fungus growing on an old tree trunk, a pretty fall leaf, or a cool shadow cast on a sidewalk. It’s fun to get just the right angle or an interesting composition.
With social media so photo-heavy and the need to post to stay relevant and engaged with people and readers, I find I’m taking more and more pictures all the time. I used to have prints made, then I’d put together photo albums. I have dozens filled with family photos and one for each kid of each of their school years! These days, in the age of everything digital, I rarely make prints. I occasionally make an album online for a special occasion, graduations, engagements, weddings.
I just finished an album for my daughter and son-in-law—a wedding album for their first anniversary. It was a big job, and I was a little nervous about trying to keep track of all the photos while I worked online. Happy to report it turned out great, and it’s a lovely keepsake of a fabulous event. It was so fun to go back and relive the moments but also to remember some of the smaller details that contributed to the overall occasion. And now, it’s easy to open the album anytime I want a smile!
Tell us about a hobby that you enjoy!
Speaking of photos…Here’s a short excerpt from my women’s fiction novel Second Wind where Dana has lost her home in a tornado.
— “Last one,” Claire said. She deposited the box into Dana’s lap.
“Another one?” Dana screeched. It was too much, but she had to admit, it sure was fun. This time, she tossed the bow in the air, and with a flourish, ripped the paper from the box.
“Now you’re getting the hang of it,” Mary said. “Nicely done.”
Nestled in heavy cream tissue paper was a beautiful leather photo album. “Oooooo. This is exactly what I need,” Dana said. “I haven’t got around to making prints from Maddie’s graduation, but they are going in here, for sure. Thank you.”
“Aren’t you going to open it?” Mary demanded.
Dana glanced around, lifting the gift wrap she’d strewn on the floor. Had she missed something?
“The album,” Claire said.
Dana held it up. “I opened it. It’s beautiful. I can’t wait to start–”
Claire nudged her. “Turn the page.”
And then it dawned on Dana, as she looked at the expectant expressions on her friends’ faces. They had done something amazing. Holding her breath, she opened the album. The proud smiles of her parents on either side of Evan in his high school cap and gown greeted her. The image quickly blurred, and tears streamed down Dana’s face. “Oh, my gosh.”
She flipped through the pages, hardly able to see, but pretty sure there were photographs of swim parties and school events, photos of her and her kids. The tears came harder, and she closed the album to keep it from getting drenched, hugging it to her.
“We copied everything we could find,” Mary told her. “By the time I was done, my house looked like a tornado had ripped through it.”
Dana shook her head. “You have no– no idea.” She tried to speak between sobs but couldn’t complete a sentence.
Claire’s warm arms wrapped around her. “Dana. Hey, come on. It’s okay.”
She couldn’t stop crying.
“Jeez, we thought you would like it,” Mary said, her words tinged with humor.
Dana sputtered something between a choke and a laugh, and Jane handed her a tissue. “Thank you so much.” She dabbed at her eyes, and they filled again. “This is incredible.” She ran her hand over the smooth caramel leather, then opened the album again. “I can’t believe you found so many,” she whispered. “My kids, my folks…”
“And us,” Claire said, tapping a photo page. “Check out those pool babes.”
“And the bikinis,” Mary added. “Woo-woo!”
Dana grinned. She, Claire, and Mary were stretched out on lounge chairs around Mary’s pool. Shades on. Drinks in hand. Oh, they’d had some good times. “We look so young. I can’t even remember looking like that.”
“We’ve been doing this friend thing a long time,” Claire said.
Dana caught Claire’s hand, but once again her throat clogged, and she could only nod.
Mary shot out of her chair. “Group hug.” She moved in close and turned her head, but not before Dana saw the sparkle of bright tears in her eyes as well.
Feelings so hard to put into words bounced in the vibration of all four of them patting each other’s backs – like Morse code tapping out a message of friendship.—
p.s. you can start the Women of Whitfield series of small-town friends for just 99 cents for a digital copy of Book One, The Storm Within. Happy reading to all!