Photo Journal writing

Telling Stories, Part II

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Last night, we have a summer storm—wind, heavy rain, sharp lightning, thunder that rumbled for minutes. And it lasted for nearly two hours. I confess, I am not one who particularly enjoys storms, meteorological or otherwise.  And last night, I stayed awake throughout the whole storm from 2:45 a.m. until nearly 6:00 a.m.  I roamed the house from window to window to see if I could see what the wind was doing to the trees that surrounded the house; I even turned on a local TV station to see if the weather crew were covering the storm.  I will probably be doing something similar this afternoon, if the forecasters are correct in predicting another band of severe storm coming our way.

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And yet. . .

This morning, there is sunshine.  There is a freshness to the air that will be gone in the summer heat and humidity.  We will be grateful for the air conditioning, and some of us will be wondering how we did without it when we were children.  Though I grew up in a modern home with the conveniences of dishwasher, in-house washer and (gasp) dryer, baseboard heating, we did not have central air conditioning.  Only when my grandfather moved in with us did we have get any kind of AC—and that was a window unit to put in his bedroom.  It wasn’t too much longer when Mama and Daddy bought one for the family room.  I was married when they finally put in central heating and air.  To write this makes my childhood seem almost primitive, but then I didn’t think so. 

This morning, there is sunshine.  My husband is out cutting the grass around the house and probably later around the ponds as the weather permits.  I took out the camera to see this freshly washed world.

Jume 22

Honeysuckle, blackberries beginning to ripen, daylilies, vinca, daisies, Rose of Sharon—in bloom, leftover drops of rain in the petals.  Leaves torn from the trees scattered over the front yard. . . .

Remnants of the storm and the beauty that remains afterward.

Had I walked longer and farther around the pond, I would certainly have found more beauty, but for the moment, this was enough—enough to remind me of other stories: sipping the nectar from honeysuckle blossoms with my brother, sister, and cousins at Grandma Wessinger’s house during that week we spent with her and picking blackberries in the pasture behind the house and the blackberry pies that Mama would bake (with the gritty seeds of those wild berries). The rose of Sharon tree with its scars on the trunk from the fire eight years ago, still blooming, still standing, though transplanted, resilient and strong. Daylilies from Aunt Miriam, Granny.

These all have stories.

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Picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes, for me the picture gives me the thousand words to tell the story.


Storytelling and Photography

Today, I read Carol’s comments in “Focusing on Life” on the importance of telling our stories. She cited Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, which I still want to listen to. I am thinking a lot about this idea of telling stories and how I can do that through photography.

Yesterday, my home church had the annual Homecoming Sunday. It is a time for those who have moved away to come home and worship with family and friends. It is also a time for us to honor the Golden Agers of our congregation, those members who are seventy-five and older. And of course, there is the picnic on the grounds after services.


I did take my camera with me to help with the photography of the event. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I spent as much time talking and visiting as I did taking pictures! I did take the group picture before church and a few pictures of my family as they sat together in the pews. There were a few more of the golden agers fixing their plates. (Oh my goodness, the food on those tables. Yes, the tables groaned under the weight, and so did I after I finished eating!)

Ryan and Rhett

This is my nephew, Ryan, and my great-nephew Rhett. It’s not hard to figure out these are father and son! Unfortunately, Rhett’s twin sister was not in the mood to have her picture taken!

Golden Agers

There are some dear friends in this group of Golden Agers. Mr. Tommy is my surrogate father, a retired construction worker like my father was. He is always available to help neighbors. He had a serious heart attack a few years back and lost significant heart function, but that has not stopped him. He is a font of wisdom. Ms. Biba is one of my newest friends. She is a widow who took care of her invalid husband for several years. She inspires me. There are also others: my parents-in-law, my husband’s aunt, Pastor Lyerly, and so many others.

golden agers 2

The image above was one of my test shots before the actual picture. See the lady waving? That’s my mother-in-law, and that captures her personality! She is always glad to see her friends and family. I don’t know who she is waving at, but they cannot help but feel welcome!


(The lady above is my husband’s aunt, Miriam.)

Each Golden Ager (or couple) receives a print of this image. These pictures will be part of each family’s story, a story of faith, perseverance, and, most importantly, love.

Photo Journal

Story-telling Photographs

I knew it. . . . It was coming, but it came sooner rather than later.

I don’t know what to write about! I’m stuck. Or maybe it’s because it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon.  I’ve had my nap; I’ve been reading. It’s comfortable, though, outside—low 80’s after a cool morning (I wore my right pink sweater to church this morning).

I pulled out one of my photography books, The Photographer’s Playbook. You’re familiar with the idea of coaches and teams having playbooks with a variety of moves the team can make. The players are familiar with everything in the book, so nothing is new, but when the team gets in a jam, the coach can pull out a play.

So, today, I pulled out the playbook, and I looked through the subject index. I honed in on the keyword “editing.” I was expecting to find some interesting ways to edit images.


What I did find was advise on looking back over the photographs that I’ve already taken and start to look for the story or for the patterns or perhaps the story that I’ve found. I went back over my images I’ve taken this year, and selected randomly some thirty images. Then I culled that those images to twenty-five. Using the online photo-editor/collage maker, I created a three by three grid to make a collage. to make things really simple, I used the auto-fill feature to fill in the grid.

Water, florals, lines. These show up in my photography more often than not.

Editing Collage

These images, randomly selected, reveal my love for nature, for details, for atmosphere. I think I will be exploring the stories that my images reveal.