From Camp to Kites

A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away. 

Eudora Welty

~~~

This post inspired by two challenges this week…

Lens-Artists Challenge #115: Inspiration

We look forward to seeing your thoughts and images on what inspires YOU.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #113: How It All Started

…think back to those moments that changed your life. No need to use the prompt; just demonstrate how β€œit” started.

~~~

I was only 10 years old when I got my first camera. And fell in love with photography. I don’t remember the circumstances of who gave me the camera or why. I just thought it was cool (or as we used to say back then…”Keen!”…”Sharp!”) and I’ve never been without one since.

My first attempts at photography – with a Kodak Brownie camera and black & white film – manifested as square blurry images of trees, lean-tos, and other 10 year olds at Girl Scout camp. Hard to believe that a week of rustic living became a defining moment in my life as a photographer, but I guess it did. This despite my most vivid memory being the latrines (just plywood for seats, people – I mean seriously?) and how I dreaded making the trip to That Building (no pictures, sorry).

It was also where I discovered (after the film was developed) that when I held the camera on the lean-to railing the blurring disappeared…

Over time, I slowly improved at steadying the camera and moved on to capturing my younger siblings when they least expected it. As the years went by I became the family photo historian by default. Even more so when I advanced to color film! Very exciting.

My friends knew I would always show up with a camera as the unofficial keeper of the memories. Even at a young age I became acutely aware of how quickly life – and people – could change. It became very important – for me at least – to preserve what I could. I do remember feeling all of that. Which kind of astounds me now.

Oh…and it was fun.

I was 14 Β½ when my 4th and youngest sibling was born and he became a willing subject for photography practice. Never mind that he was exceedingly cute and followed me around constantly. I was “in charge” of him most of the time so taking pictures was easy.

The photographs I took at college and summer jobs are best left off the internet, but they are definitely treasured keepsakes.

I graduated to a Canon SLR camera shortly after I got married and burst onto the taking-pictures-of-my-children-at-every-milestone-possible scene. They were my inspiration for decades and have appeared in many blog posts, so I will restrain myself from adding them in here. Same goes for my grandson, who is now 4 and very comfortable getting his picture taken as a child of the smartphone generation.

However, now (accompanied by a Canon DSLR camera) I am also inspired by the ordinary…what’s outside my window…down the path into the woods…winding around that chain link fence. The mesmerizing waves at the beach. I am constantly looking up and down and to the side…not in as much of a hurry as I used to be.

The best photo moment – for me – still springs from the unexpected…no matter what (or who) the subject happens to be.

Last week I was able to return – after several months of Covid restrictions – to walk along the water’s edge at Hampton Beach. The tourist season is over. Crowds are gone. The parking rules have been relaxed. I couldn’t resist the trip on such a beautiful…sunny…blue sky windy day. Even with a mask on, it was worth it.

As I made my way across the sand to walk back along the street, I spotted something bright in the sky.

Off came the lens cover.

It wasn’t the surf or the rocks or what usually fascinates me about the beach.

I had to get a closer shot.

I set the camera on what I call Grandson Mode or Freezing the Action Mode.

And I was off…

Hampton Beach, NH

And…by the way…it is still fun.

32 thoughts on “From Camp to Kites

  1. Such a wonderful, fun post! I too remember so many wonderful days in the 1960s, precious memories. Not too long ago, my dad said “you’ve always got a camera in your hand”. Yes sir! πŸ˜‚ Stay safe up there. ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much V.J. and welcome :)!
      It took me a while to get the hang of that camera (hence all the blurry photos). I still have the B&W negative strips and many are worse than blurry LOL. The story was an interesting look back for me as it kind of took on a life its own – thank you for your challenge inspiration.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Terrific post Andrea – your closing image tells a great story! Like you I’ve become the family historian by default. Any time my siblings (or more often in-laws) need a photo they know where to come 😊. Their favorite things are the books I do featuring the family gathering thru the years – our annual Christmas get together and our annual beach reunion for example. Anyway, loved your post and the back story that inspired you to be a photographer. (and BTW I remember those GS Camp latrines only too well!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tina! You had me LOL about the latrines – that must have been traumatic on some level, if only to make us better appreciate indoor plumbing! So glad you liked the story and the photos. To me, every photo has a story to it. Yes, I am the go-to person for photos and I usually have kept what is being asked for. I have made photo books (especially reunions) – with the stories – as well. But not for a while. Mmm…I like this idea.

      Like

  3. Thank you, Andrea for sharing your sweet memories and precious photos. Many of my precious old photos got lost during our relocation. it was very painful…The last image is stunning, I can only imagine the fun of being there. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Andrea–Your love of photography shines through your entire post! A wonderful journey right up to the present. The sky in the beach images is amazingly blue! It’s been a gorgeous week. I’m glad you captured it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Patti. I do love photography and I guess I always have :). The weather has been amazing and cooperative for those of us with cameras in hand. I’m glad I was in the right place at the right time at the beach!

      Like

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