What does THIS button do?

Faded Geranium

I lived in Denver for a few years in my twenties, mostly piddling around, as my mama would say. I took a brief break from academia (where I should have been hard at work), to dance a little, but mostly to explore. The last year I lived there I worked in a frame shop with a gallery in the front of the store. We framed high-quality prints of renowned artists and photographers and sold them at a deep discount. It was my first exposure to some of them, including the work of Ansel Adams. I was smitten from the get-go. Some day I’d love to own an Ansel Adams; the chances are slim to none.

His work made me want to pick up a camera. I returned to my home state of Tennessee and promptly stepped into grown-up shoes, married, finished my undergrad degree, went on to grad school, started a family. Life gets in the way of grand ideas. But after school I kept on writing while parenting a tricky kid, and then founded a ballet school, and obtained pedagogy credentials from a significant institution at the epicenter of the ballet world, and ultimately brought that world right to my doorstep in Knoxville, Tennessee. And I kept on writing and writing through all of that.

And then everything fell apart.

But three years after the involuntary demolition of my marriage and family and what I built in Knoxville, writing endures, and probably has preserved my sanity. In fact I’ve been writing nonstop for most of my life and now I earn my keep doing it. Since moving to New England I’ve had some new opportunities to improve my chops and to finally venture, however haltingly, into the world of photography. Finally. I see this as something that goes hand in hand with writing, that has been sitting on the back burner long enough. And I have no clue what I am doing.

I’ve relied until now on smart phone technology and Instagram to illustrate my stories. It frankly feels like cheating. Learning something about classical photography (is that what you call it?) will push me far outside my comfort zone. It’s an excellent time to be pushed: I do not care how silly I look. In early October I will have my first swat at learning from people in the know. I will ask stupid questions, and that is okay by me. Life is too short not to ask stupid questions.

Friday my second-hand Nikon and lens kit arrived from a merchant in San Francisco who was kind enough to message me several times with words of encouragement and some rudimentary instructions. The camera is old and a little smelly. But it appears to work fine. I’ve only tried it in auto mode thus far—I snapped that photo up there of a half-spent geranium, a perfect metaphor for this foray into the unknown, by somebody whose skills are questionable, but who possesses potential to bloom (I hope). I am frankly thrilled I could figure out how to take the picture, upload it, edit it a teeny bit with five-year-old Canon software, and post it here.

There is so much to learn. I keep hearing language from a movie, not sure which, possibly Out of Africa, where a child quotes his tutor, and I paraphrase: there is so much to learn in the world there is not a single moment to waste.

Focused on learning here. (See what I did there?) ‘Til soon.




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