I am She

It’s probably about time that I updated this part of the site and let y’all know a bit about the clicker pressing this particular camera’s shutter! I’ll be honest, I have no idea what should go here and at this particular time am not interested in researching appropriate format or content for an About Me section…

If you’ve explored any of these pages yet, you’ve probably gathered that I love nature, writing, and photography among other things. If this is your first stop…be prepared for some rambling. It’s what I do.

I’ve spent a significant amount of time behind a camera since I was a child- I have boxes of blurry photos depicting stuffed animals lined up on the couch, family pets, and unrecognizable subjects. I remember getting my first camera from a school candy sale in my elementary years. I don’t recall much about any interim cameras, although I always had one. I began getting more serious about photography around 2007, at least, that’s the first year I won an award for photography that I had entered in the local Fall Festival Art Show. At that time I was using a Sony DSC-W70, which took beautiful macro shots, but was basically still just a “point and click”.

I got what I considered my first “serious” camera in 2010- an Olympus SP-590uz . The zoom on that thing was phenomenal, but I only ever used the auto settings for everything else.

In 2013 I upgraded to my first DSLR, a Canon Rebel t3 that I lucked in to on a Facebook flea market site. It came with a bunch of goodies- a few lenses, a decent tripod, filters, remote shutter, a few external flashes even! I started to dabble in manual settings but it was with that camera that I discovered manual focus, and I really haven’t gone back to auto-focus since.

Around September 2017 I acquired a Rebel t6i, again through Facebook Fleamarket. It also came with lots of goodies, and some upgrades from the t3 model such as wireless transfer and the ability to control the shutter with a mobile app. (I guess my point is, keep an eye out for good deals. Both of these cameras were in perfect condition and I’ve ended up scoring some great gadgets and a ton of extras for less than I would’ve paid for just the camera body or lenses. Don’t be afraid of second-hand!) I’ve started doing more in manual mode with the t6, although am basically self and friend-taught.

I would like to eventually take a photography course and learn about settings in a way that I’ll retain! Any “skill” that I may seem to have is mostly the result of patience, willingness to crouch/lean/squish in to unconventional or awkward positions, and the invention of digital photography. For every 1 decent shot, there are often 2 dozen “outtakes”! But I enjoy the process and for me, that’s the point. Having material to display at a gallery or enter in art shows is wonderful but witnessing the patterns, colors, symmetry, and intricacies of nature is really what it’s all about in my book. Have you seen how a bee wing looks like a miniature stained-glass masterpiece? Or the hundred hues it takes to give a flower its particular shade? It’s downright spiritual.

I don’t tend to edit much of my work. I’m of the mind that if it isn’t good enough as is, use another picture! I’m much the same with my writing- going back and editing is a real road block for me, because in my head, it takes away from whatever I happened to be feeling or experiencing in the moment and makes it less genuine. When I do edit, I use a super old version of photoshop…CS2, maybe? Because it is free enough for me to afford it! Don’t get me wrong- editing writing and photography is both useful and probably conducive to making it better. I’m not implying that one shouldn’t edit. Just that I have a really difficult time going back and doing so after a certain amount of time! I did used to spend a fair amount of time playing about in photoshop in college, and I enjoy digital manipulation. I just haven’t gotten back in to it yet, for various reasons.

As with photography, I’ve been writing since I was a kid, as well. My friends and I would create newspapers and other random “publications” in our pre-teens, and I discovered in high school that not only did I love to write but that I was decent at it, too. It made sense, since I basically spent every spare second reading! I’ve kept a journal (inconsistently) since I was probably 9 or 10. Nowadays, I tend to use paper journals for poetry and short prose and keep my actual diary type writing on online sites with varying levels of anonymity. I’ve had more formal training in writing than I have with photography- other than general English electives in college, when I was failing out of nursing school I took several poetry and creative writing classes. This led to being a contributing editor for the college literary arts journal for several years, which was an amazing experience. But again, my writing is also somewhat hit or miss…for every good poem I churn out, there are 15 mediocre pieces of word-vomit floating in the ether! Also, I very much write from my gut and it’s more about the process of getting whatever feelings or thoughts are banging around in my head out than anything. I found writing for assignments super challenging (although also super rewarding when I was successful) because that’s just not how my brain generally operates. Still, probably my most cherished compliment came from my poetry professor who wrote on one of my assignments that I have a “coffee-house soul.” In the end, I suppose writing, photography…art in general…is about being known. Being heard. Finding connection. When I read that comment, I felt understood. I felt known. (Same with photography…I find much more satisfaction when winning awards if the judge in some way conveys seeing a similar vision or perspective when viewing my work than hearing that it satisfies technical standards.) Nowadays I continue to write because I hope someone else might find some solace in the recounting of my experiences…which often sends my posts and entries down rabbit holes and deeper into my psyche than some think is appropriate for general consumption. But. I figure, someone might find a thread of similarity in my thoughts that translates in to some sort of strength to help them take even just one more step or feel just that much less alone. Because, ultimately, I would not be anywhere if it weren’t for all of the people who – on purpose or unwittingly – lent me the strength to take one more breath, to stumble forward one more step.

Thank you for reading, listening, looking.