And then there were two…

Thursday night was a blessing, a confirmation of my decision to “pass the baton” of my photography class to Cheryl. While I enjoyed sharing my thoughts on composition that evening, as 9:00 pm rolled around I was tired and ready to call it a night. One of my students asked a question about capturing the little raindrop splashes formed when rain hits existing puddles. I froze — not because I couldn’t answer, but because class was over and unlike in the past, I did not want to stay late.

Cheryl jumped in and offered to take the two students who’d stayed behind (everyone else was gone) out to a fountain near the entrance of the building. She said they could play with their cameras and see what they came up with. I put my things in my car and then wondered over to the fountain to see how the impromptu shoot was going.

I could not be putting this class in better hands! Cheryl very generously explained some technical concepts required for shooting both moving water and shooting in low light. She then offered to pull her car around so the two students could use its headlights  to play a little longer, since by this time it was well past 9:30 pm.

We have two classes left (if you don’t count the Saturday field trip to Galveston that I throw in as a “bonus”). I’m feeling a little bittersweet, but in a good way. I’ve already given some of my resource materials to Cheryl to use (or not) as she sees fit. There’s a lightening in my spirit with the passing of this particular responsibility.

I expect I’ll always enjoy making photographs of the things that I find lovely. For that reason, I expect my blog name will continue to be “A Scribbler & A Shutterbug” for the random occasion I share a visual story with you.

 

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I regret not picking up this Baby Brownie I saw in an antique store in Comfort, Texas last May. Aside from the fact that it’s so stinkin’ cute, I wonder who owned it and what memories he or she captured with its lens. 

 

Wrapping Up and Moving On

I taught my first photography class in the spring of 2011. Having always been a hobbyist, I felt incredibly unqualified. I had to concentrate intently on not hyperventilating from the barrage of nerves that threatened me each week. When I try to remember that first class, it is mostly a blur. In its original incarnation, the class met three hours a week for 14 weeks. I cannot for the life of me remember what I managed to talk about for a total of 42 hours, over the course of the semester! Apparently whatever it was was mildly informative and moderately entertaining, because the 24 people who signed up left me with positive evaluations, and I even had some people say they enjoyed the class so much they planned on coming back. I am still a bit flabbergasted by this.

Over the years, the class has morphed into its current format — a six week class presenting the technical aspects of photography, followed by a second six week class composed of guest speakers and photowalks, each with a maximum of twelve students. Sometimes there’s a waiting list, other times it’s me plus four — the minimum number of students required for the class to make. The class I dubbed the “Making Friends with Your Camera” class ended up bringing me more than a few friends of my own.

One student from the early days wanted to learn to take photos of her granddaughter. It’s funny, though, how she started down one path and ended up doing something completely different. A classmate’s invitation to go on a wildlife photowalk sparked a passion for bird photography that came completely out of left field. After she finished my basic class, she took off running — seeking out additional photography classes, watching YouTube tutorials, practicing, practicing, practicing. Always learning! And her work has won awards — people have purchased her work to hang on the walls of their homes and their businesses. I’m incredibly proud of her.

It was really a no-brainer when I realized this fall that I really need to, really want to pass the torch and I thought of Cheryl. I’ve enjoyed the almost eight years that I’ve taught this class. I guesstimate I’ve probably helped between 250 – 300 people make friends with their cameras. But I have other things I want to focus on and I know my former student — my now friend — will do a fabulous job of helping people make friends with their cameras when she becomes the new photography teacher in the spring. I’ll begin my last session this evening with my friend observing and assisting. I’m a little sad — teaching this class has been a huge part of how I define myself:

“What do you do?”

“I have my own business, I’m a writer, and I teach photography at the college.”

I have the business to help our family economy. I teach photography because my teacher asked me if I would when he moved away, and I discovered I enjoyed it.

But the thing that I’ve done since I was in grade school, the thing I want to find more time for, the thing that I always find myself coming back to is there in the middle, in the heart of my answer:

I’m a writer.

I’m Still Here…

…just been super busy with business stuff, family stuff, and a wonderful trip to see my bestie in Ohio the last week of August. We’ve been friends for 41 years — since we were 13 years old. She probably knows me better than almost anyone, except My Guy, of course. But even then — she has probably known me longer than anyone not related to me! She is my “sister by choice,” and I am ever thankful God brought our paths together.

I have one grainy “selfie/usie” I snapped of us with my phone when we stopped to have some coffee. Other than that, I chose to “be in the moment” while I was there. I actually took an extra suitcase to hold my camera bag, and never even took it out! And I don’t regret it one bit.

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Best Friends/Sisters by Choice since the last day of school in 1977.

Sometimes you have to let your mind record the memories. You miss so much when you have a camera separating you and what’s happening. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s true to some degree. If you’ve never seen the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (which is nothing like the short story, I’ve been told) I strongly urge you to watch it. The ending has a powerful message about slowing down, sitting still, and really SEEING what’s happening before your eyes. Here’s the clip:

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Where Did That Come From???

I’m almost 54 years old and I can count the times that it’s snowed where I live on one hand, with fingers left over. I’m not talking about flurries or a scant dusting on the deck. I’m talking about a good blanket that allows you to make a snowman and requires the wearing of rubber boots. I’ve seen that less than five times in my life.

Today’s surprise snowfall would have allowed for snowmen, except we’d already had several days of rain, so there’s mud under that pretty white blanket. Who wants to build a muddy snowman? Then there’s the fact that it’s December 8 in Southeast Texas and it was almost 80 degrees less than a week ago. The ground is still too warm for this to hang around for any length of time. In fact, it started melting just a short time ago, so I’m really glad I got out there and took these photos while I had the chance. (Click on each for captions.)

This may be all we get this year/decade… the last time was in 2003… or 2004. I forget. But when it’s here, it sure is pretty.

Re-boot

I’m in the middle of a re-boot of sorts. Moving stuff around in my office, hoping to make things a little more user friendly. One of the things I’ve done is move my computer to a standing desk. I find that when I’m working on the computer, I sit way too long without getting up and moving around. My hope is that I’ll move back and forth between the computer and my desk — doing some work standing and other work sitting, and reduce the amount of sedentary time each day.IMG_1215

It’s a quirky setup, but so far it seems to be working. I’m moving around more and I’m becoming a little more conscientious of my posture. Which is terrible. But won’t be for long. The other bonus is I now have a five foot table that is for the most part clear. The goal is to keep it that way. If I have business to take care of, I have room to spread out my papers and prepare quotes. Then the papers get filed and the table is clear if I want to work on a photo project (organizing, scanning, scrapbooking). But I have to put things away when I’m finished for the day. The trick will be disciplining myself to do that. I’m not always good at putting things away. But I’m working on it.