Finding Photographic Spirit

When Scott asked me to write a guest blog I thought, “Sure thing!  This will be a piece of cake.”  Even when he added the instructions, “Remember…my only ‘rule’ is that it must be about some aspect of photography” I still thought this would be an easy blog to write.  (Scott knows I am prone to ramble on and on about sixteen different subjects in one blog—that’s why he probably wanted to keep me on the subject of picture taking and not, say, the fawn we saw romping with his mama yesterday morning.)

From left to right: Spirit woman reflected in stone, Pink girls at the Pow Wow, Daddy long legs eats raspberry.

He said he asked me to write this guest blog because of my 365 day project last year.  For those of you who don’t know, I decided to go outside every day from December 21, 2008 to December 20, 2009 and write a daily blog about Opening the door, walking outside.  My husband suggested it would be a good thing to take pictures.  He’s a weekly newspaper editor and he insisted that more people might visit the blog if it included a few photos each day.

OK, I said.  I can do that.  I think I can do that.  I have no idea how to use a camera (beyond pointing and shooting), but how challenging can it be?

Luckily, I had been presented with a point and shoot camera a couple months before by husband and daughter.  They are both great photographers.  I figured it really couldn’t be that hard (kind of like writing this blog.)

From left to right: Little girl in pink at Farmer's Market, Begging a hummingbird to drink--and please live, Inner world of a flower.

We have to back up half a lifetime.  Sorry, you guys knew this blog was going to ramble, didn’t you?  You see, I was not a visual person.  Not at all.  You know the kind of person who looks at the writing and ignores the photos?  Yep, that was me.  You know the kind of person who can’t tell you what you’re wearing or whether you have a new haircut or if your living room was remodeled?  Yep.  That was me.

So a camera was an interesting thing.  The Sony Cyber-shot began the chore of making a Photographer out of me.  It was a hard task-master.  “Shoot this!”, it would say impatiently in the hand.  “Open your eyes and look at the shadows on the snow!”  “Darn it, can’t you see that intricate pattern of leaves?”  “Snap the picture, isn’t that a lovely angle?”

The first photos for the blog snapped at night—when we danced around the Solstice fire and set our intentions for the upcoming year—looked like, er…challenging photos.  I cringed.  Could these be published for the world to see?  Never mind.  It didn’t matter.  How many people visit brand new blogs anyway?

From left to right: Driving over the Mackinac Bridge (slowly), Mirror of a bike, Patient dog.

The days passed.  I learned.  I still didn’t know how to adjust any of those fancy settings, but people began to say things like, “You’ve got an eye.”  An eye?  What the heck did that mean?  Don’t we all have an eye?  (I didn’t want to tell them that the Sony Cyber-Shot had the eye.  It was the one pointing and shooting.  My job was to remember the camera and peer at things from strange and different angles.  No problem for a person who is always viewing situations from strange and different angles.)

So now comes the reason why it’s been so challenging to do this blog.  Scott said to pick some pictures that I liked and send ‘em along to him.  He would re-size them and do his magic to fit them in his blog.  All I had to do was find some photos that I liked.

That’s when the challenges started.  I just spent a couple hours staring at eighteen months of photos.  (After the outdoor blog ended I swore I wouldn’t blog again for a long time.  This vow lasted ten days before Lake Superior Spirit birthed January 1st of this year.)  That translates to 15,000 photos.   How the heck does one limit her favorite photos to ten or twelve?  How does one do this?

From left to right: Ice fishing auger drills hole on Lake Superior, Bubble in the spring melt, Oregano through dryer mist.

Let’s zing up to this current moment now.  I have buried the first Ms. Cyber-Shot, which means the second one is probably middle-aged.  For about three months I have been learning how to adjust the ISO and tweak the settings.  I have now graduated to 6th grade in the School of Teaching Yourself Photography.  The eye still comes in handy, but now I’m learning about light and balance and EV and lens and apertures.  (Thanks in part to Scott Thomas Photography.  Isn’t he the greatest photography teacher, you guys?)

One of these days I may buy one of those fancy cameras like “real” photographers have.  Except this one is so easy to slip in the jeans pocket when you’re picking raspberries or wandering in the woods.  Ms. Cyber-Shot has been a real great friend these past eighteen months.  She’s taught me how to see—even though I still might miss noticing your new haircut.

It would be awfully hard to say goodbye to the gifts she’s shared…

Click Here for the Canon Cybershot S90 Camera

Click Here for the Canon Cybershot S90 Camera

Canon PowerShot S90 Digital Camera

The Canon S90 Digital Camera features:

10.0 Megapixels
3.8x Optical Zoom Lens (28-105mm)
3.0″ LCD
Compact and Stylish
Manual Exposure Control
High Sensitivity (ISO 3200)
RAW File Capture
Optical Image Stabilization
Advanced Face Detection

Highly acclaimed for its clean high ISO capabilities, the Canon PowerShot S90 camera is the perfect blend of simple and advanced features for those looking to step up their photography or as a small second camera to carry at all times.

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27 Responses to Finding Photographic Spirit

  1. Karma says:

    Nice post, Kathy! You and I came around to blogging via similar routes but different byways. I also did the 365, but without a blog ( I didn’t feel I was “tech-savvy” enough at the time) so I used Flickr. I am a very visual learner, to the point where if someone is talking away trying to explain something to me I will often have to stop the person and say “show me a picture!” – then I understand.

    I had no idea that Lake Superior Spirit started just this year. Are the archives of your 365 included at LSS?

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    • The link to her 365 project is in the article, Karen. It’s called Opening the door, walking outside. Click link to see. 🙂

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    • Kathy says:

      Hi Karma! How cool to hear that you did a 365 day photo essay, too. Can we see it on Flickr? As Scot said, you can click on the above link and open the door to that whole experience. (You know how non-visual I can be? When someone shows me a picture of how something must be done, I’ll say…can you please write this down in words? ha ha, we are all so different, aren’t we?)

      Thank you for stopping by & reading, dear blogging buddy and fellow photographer!

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      • Karma says:

        Yes, the 365 is still on Flickr; I still have a link to it on my site, but it may go to just my photostream. I should fix that link to be more direct.

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  2. Gerry says:

    It was a lot of fun taking that trip down memory lane! And I’m pretty sure the Pow Wow photos are still my alltime favorites. I predict that a new camera is in your future, but that you will always keep a little point ‘n’ shoot in that pocket, too, because “The best camera is the one you have with you.” (The Teachings of Scott.)

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    • Kathy says:

      Gerry, The Teachings of Scott have been very valuable to us pointers & shooters! I’ll bet those photos did bring back some memories for you. They did for me, too. You were such a faithful reader & commenter during the year-long adventure…I so appreciated the support and encouragement you gave!

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  3. Kathy, very cool! I enjoy your writing and the photos!

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  4. Elisa's Spot says:

    PEEK!! There you are! I am not commenting upon image taking because, I have not been inspired in quite some time. The feeling being a LOT like when I know that I LOVE the tree place, and yet find a gazillion reasons that I have something better to do and will not go UNTIL…

    I really love many of your water/stone images, they have great energy.

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    • Kathy says:

      Elisa, it is so interesting to see how our energy rises and ebbs. I know you are a wonderful photographer…it will be interesting to see when you are inspired again. It is also interesting why some images have more energy than others. So much food for thought! Thank you for playing hide ‘n seek.

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  5. holessence says:

    Kathy – You go, girl! This post is slick as a whistle. Whoohoo!

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    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Laurie. It was fun to write. It was soooo cool for Scott to highlight. Maybe it will inspire some beginning photography people to take 15,000 photos and learn about the craft!

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  6. Nye says:

    Love your photos and post Kathy, not rambling at all. 😉

    I want to try the 365 but was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to commit to it, and posting only 1 photo per day is kind of hard for me when I have many to post. 🙂

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    • Kathy says:

      Phew, Nye, glad it didn’t sound like rambling!! It was a little hard to commit to doing a 365 day project–really hard at times–but very worthwhile in the end. (But I didn’t only post one photo. Usually posted 3-7 photos per day.) You should give it a try!

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  7. Anna says:

    I enjoyed this post as well as the excellent photos, Kathy. Definitely Finding Photographic Spirit. You do have an eye and photograph that which is in plain sight that many do not see, and each of your photos are storytelling in of itself. Thank you for sharing your photographic view. 🙂

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    • Kathy says:

      Anna, thank you so much! What has been so interesting has been realizing that we all see things in different ways. And that photos can tell stories as well as words. I appreciate your comment so much.

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  8. Colleen Lloyd says:

    Kathy and Scott…what a great idea and post. Looking forward to exploring your site Scott. Have been meaning to for a while now. My well aged Canon PowerShot A95 will be happy to begin living up to it’s potential!

    Like

    • Kathy says:

      Scott’s site is great, Colleen. He has so much knowledge to share with us. (Guess what? Yesterday I started dreaming of buying something beyond a point ‘n shoot camera. And since July is birthday month…really thinking about this!)

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  9. milkayphoto says:

    It is nice to read the perspective of a newer photographer. I think first and foremost, photography should be about what YOU want to capture. If someone else likes your vision, then that is an added bonus. You DO have a wonderful eye! A good photographic eye can’t really be taught but it CAN be nurtured. I’m so glad you discovered a whole new world for yourself. Wonderful post and photos! 🙂

    Like

    • Kathy says:

      Milkayphoto, your words and encouragement mean a lot! Don’t know how I ever got that “eye” but it’s a good gift to have when you’re learning. Am so excited about continuing to discover this new world of photography. Thank you.

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  10. Pingback: The end of a long June day… « Lake Superior Spirit

  11. flandrumhill says:

    The technology of cameras can be so intimidating to beginners – even a visual person (like me) who isn’t into gadgets, finds it difficult.

    Kathy, you have a wonderful eye and an even more wonderful spirit 🙂

    Like

    • Kathy says:

      Amy, yes, indeed, camera technology can be daunting to those of us who are beginners. Thank you from both the eye and the spirit and the heart–I so appreciated your support and encouragement all during last year so much.

      Like

  12. truels says:

    Great to read about you finding your photographic spirit. And you are right: Scott is a great inspiration for many – and for me 🙂

    Like

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for reading, Truels. He certainly is an inspiration–and I may be asking him about the best camera to buy soon (beyond this point and shoot variety). Just maybe!

      Like

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