Tuesday, 31 May 2016

June Photo Challenge

Even though I missed a few days because of illness, I really enjoyed the 30 x 30 nature challenge.  It was good to have a reason to get outdoors and appreciate the beauty of nature every day, and I liked taking my daily photos. I also really enjoyed the photos my Facebook friends were kind enough to share with me.  It was a delight to see some of what they enjoy about their surroundings.

I had so much fun with my daily photo routine that I've decided to take inspiration from my Facebook friend Sue. She has an ongoing photo challenge that she shares with a friend.  They make a list of words or phrases each month and then use one of them as a photo subject each day.  

I've decided to make up a challenge of my own and I'm hoping that you'll join in the fun.  Here is my list of subjects for June:

You can find a printable version of the list here. I'll post them on Facebook day by day along with my photos as well.

Here's a reprise of May's 30 x 30 photos.  You can click on any picture to arrive a slide show of larger views.  Enjoy!  

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Photos and Memories

Yesterday I came across  a meme on Facebook that said "I'm so old that I remember going an entire day without taking any pictures."  I chuckled because it is so very true.

Since purchasing my first digital camera in 2005, I've taken and kept more than 18.000 pictures. 18,000!!  I know this because, recently, my computer began behaving oddly and when I checked its disk capacity I found that I'd used 96% of the available space.  Most of that space was taken up by photos. I transferred them to an external drive for storage and, as I transferred them, my computer told me how many files were being moved.

I draw and paint and write blogs so I refer back to my photos a lot.  It helps that from the beginning I've been a careful file manager, deleting duplicates and sorting my images into files labelled by date, or - in some special cases - by subject.  I find it surprising how many of these images I remember, and how readily I can find them within my files when I need them, but the fact remains that it's a ridiculously large number of pictures.

There are, of course, a reasons for this excess.  Because they're built into our phones almost all of us have cameras with us,almost all the time.  Once we've paid for the camera itself, it costs nothing to take as many photos as we like and, once we've paid for our internet access, it costs nothing to share our photos with friends and acquaintances. Since both phone and internet are considered everyday expenses now, it makes sense to get as much use out of them as we can.

Before digital cameras, photography was a much more expensive project.  Film had to be purchased and, once exposed, had to be developed.  You gambled that your photos were good enough to justify the cost of paying to have them printed. Unless you owned a Polaroid camera, nothing was immediate.  You had to wait while your film was being processed.  

I took fewer pictures back in the days of film; maybe 500 a year. Expense and lack of storage space both encouraged moderation.  

I tended to choose my subject matter and frame my shots more carefully when using film but, even so, my photos now are much better than the pictures I took then. Perhaps my skills have improved with practice.  

I was never one for arranging things in photo albums so most of the photos I took on film are still in the envelopes they came in, packed into boxes and stored in my craft room cupboards.  Because of the inconvenience of pulling the boxes out and sorting through them, I look at those older pictures far less often than I do the digital photos in my computer files.

This last fact got me thinking:  I don't need those printed photos to remember back to the years they portray, so if something happened to my digital photos would I miss them?  

I would miss them.  I do refer to my photos often.  They're a rich source of inspiration for my creative endeavours.  Still and all though, I'd manage just fine without them.  

A photo is just an image.  A memory is so much more; wrapped in emotion and including all the senses, not just our eyes.  When I look back, I realize that most of the really big moments in my life - those times of great epiphanies, or emotions, or life changing importance - were never captured in an image anyway.  I have no tangible, visible reminder of those times but they're etched forever in my heart.  And in the end it's those moments that count.  They define who and what I am.

I'll continue to take photos.  I'll continue to save them, to work from them, and to enjoy them.  I'll continue to be grateful for how easy and affordable it's become to capture an image.  More importantly, though, I'll continue to make memories; to set aside my camera for long enough to look at and truly experience the gifts life brings my way.

Monday, 2 May 2016

The 30 x 30 Nature Challenge

In January, I set myself a challenge to walk 161 kilometres/100 miles in a month.  I missed my goal by 6 kilometres but persisted with my walking.  I tried again, and by the end of February exceeded my goal.  It felt good to attain my goal and even better to get back into the habit of walking daily,

This month I'm participating in the 30 x 30 Nature Challenge promoted by davidsuzuki.org.  The goal is to spend 30 minutes a day in a natural setting for 30 consecutive days.  With my now-established walking habit, this should be a fairly straightforward challenge for me to meet.

Since the challenge is a relatively simple one for me to achieve, you may be wondering why I've undertaken it at all.  The answer is simple too:  I find peace, comfort, and calm in being in nature.  It encourages me to observe, appreciate, and value the beauty of my surroundings.  I thought it might do the same thing for you.

The photo above was taken yesterday, at Bright Angel Park, just a few kilometres from where I live. The park has long been a part of my life. My dad was one of many community members who contributed volunteer hours and fundraising work to its creation, and I've been going there ever since it first opened on Canada Day in 1967.  It's truly a wonderful place to be on any day of the year but on a warm sunny day like yesterday, it's pure magic.

I'm going to continue sharing photos of my daily nature breaks on Facebook at B on Balance, on Google+, and on Twitter,  I'm hoping you'll take part in the challenge with me and share your photos and stories too.  We can encourage one another to stick to our new routine and we can enjoy the gifts our time in nature gives us. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.