Monochrome for a Month: Lost in the Wilderness During Week 3

monochrome, photography, projects

Snickering and making married-couple jokes, Chris and I should have expected an adventure, but I wasn’t aware just how elaborate some of the trails were at the nearby hiking ground. It had been raining all week, and I was looking forward to the fresh air, to getting some good cave shots for my cave series, some woodsy stuff, maybe even a group of tiny white flowers to add to my “flowers in the dark” series. We already knew one cave was closed–the bats are nesting–but the other was only a short walk away from where its trail began. I was planning on climbing out of the car and heading right up.

First time we went here as a family, we had no trouble at all finding the right parking lot and heading up (then again, we had no end in mind that day). This time, however, we had to pull a few u-turns before finding the right parking lot–still snickering and poking fun and marveling at the speckles of rain on the windshield.

“A little rain never hurt anyone,” I said. Goo excitedly announced from the back seat that she was going to splash in puddles. Howl licked at his closed window. Chris parked (finally) in the right lot.

Goodbye Twenties, Hello Howl

family

My husband has always been a dog lover–just the touch of their cold noses is therapeutic for him–and his dream has always been to add a purebred husky to the family. Something about cuddling with a descendant of wolves–descendants who appreciate snow as much as he does–makes his green eyes glitter with stars.

When Goo was born, the dog lovers in our house increased. Goo is always excited to see dogs being walked down the street, and beams wider than the sun when we see them at the park. No matter the dog, Goo asks each owner that crosses her path if she can pet it, and she laughs her little head off when the dog responds with kisses.

So, for the last several months, I’ve been (secretly) throwing the idea around in my mind to add a dog to our little family.

I Don’t Always Bring a Camera and That’s Okay

life

One thing I’ve been trying to work on is to live in the moment and to stop planning for that “someday…” I’ve always had a “big project” and when I don’t have a big project, I have a “big hobby” which is usually part of some “big project.” But I had an epiphany shortly before starting this blog: it’s okay to not have anything “big” going on. I don’t have to be immersed in a “what if” career. I don’t have to trudge toward a future that may never come to be. I don’t have to work on anything other than being a better me, a better mother and wife, a better person in general.

Still, that little voice in my head has been saying: you didn’t take pictures today. You didn’t blog. You’re slacking off.

In the past, that voice terrified me. If I didn’t work on my revision, or didn’t think a book plot was strong enough, or didn’t think my photography would ever “get there,” that little voice would tighten around my heart like a fist and squeeze. Anxiety attacks and feeling like a failure were part of my daily ritual. I was always irritable. I got lost in my own head.

But ever since I realized that “progress” comes in many forms, it’s been easier to brush the voice aside and widen my eyes at the vast, colorful, exciting world around me. I don’t always pull out my phone to take a picture of Goo at the park, and I don’t always take my camera with me on hikes, and that’s okay. Sometimes I just want to bring a book, or a journal. Sometimes, I really really just want my hands to be empty for a change. What a freeing feeling!

Leaving my camera behind has taught me a few things. I’ve learned that avoiding the shutter release gives me a newfound appreciation for the photos I go out of my way to take. I’ve learned that not carting around a giant DSLR and three lenses makes me about ten pounds lighter and allows me to hold more hands. Without a camera, I’m forced to take mental pictures instead of storing them onto an SD card so I can look at them later. By then the moment is gone, and I have to ask myself these days if I really enjoyed that moment, or if I just thought it would make a good picture.

No amount of cropping and sharpening can give me that moment back.

So, I don’t always snap selfies of us at the zoo. I don’t always have a good picture to show for our bike ride. I don’t always grab my camera when Goo starts making funny faces at the table. And that’s okay! Because it means I’m creating actual memories.

They’re blinks. They’re Haikus. They’re Polaroids. And they’re so fleeting that they could be already gone by the time I get the right aperture.

These two are the most important people in my life. They are everything to me. And not only do I want to have more hands-free mind-free experiences with them, I also don’t want to be behind a camera every single time they remember our best days.

Images © Lina Forrester

Hello, Bonjour, and All That Jazz

life, photography

What better time to start a photography blog than on Friday the 13th, during a full moon cycle, as an ice storm approaches outside? I’m sure I’ll be at my back window with my camera when the thundersleet arrives.

I decided to start this blog because I’ve reached something of a milestone. I’m turning thirty in a few weeks (maybe less, I’ve stopped counting) and after spending my entire twenties pursuing a traditional career as an author, I’ve finally had enough of plotting, revising, writer’s block, and empty goals. This same “epiphany” happened around three years ago when Goo was 8 months old and I closed my writing program for two years.

But I still love to write, and I love photography. I’ve always toyed with combining the two. I think this will keep me in the present and remind me of the real legacy I’m creating. Because, if I’m being honest with myself, my books are not the greatest thing I will leave behind.

Life is short. It’s gotten even shorter, it seems, since Goo was born, and I can’t spend it working tirelessly on a dream that may never arrive. But I can celebrate life with this blog, and with this blog I can also celebrate my family, and myself.

Have a good Friday! To those stuck in this storm: stay safe and warm.