31 Days To A Better Photo | Day 1 – Welcome!

31 Days to a Better Photo | Day 1 – Welcome!

There are no photos in this post; this post may be the only one on this blog with this many words and without any photos. It feels strangely appropriate that the first in a series on better photos wouldn’t have a single one.

I was living in Florence, Italy in 1998, attending l’universita’. I spent my carefree weekends with a Eurorail pass, a passport, and a backpack. I saw 13 countries that year. I photographed the snow-capped Alps, the clock and insanely crowded Old Jewish Cemetary in Prague, the beautiful volcanic beaches in Greece, the River Danube separating Buda from Pest with the glorious Parliament building in Hungary. I saw Anne Frank’s hide-away home in Amsterdam, the canals in Copenhagen, tulips in the Netherlands, the lights over Paris taking off from Charles de Gaulle. I saw where Mozart learned to love music in Vienna, and fairy tale castles in Germany.

I snuck a photo of much-too-young Polish soldiers who boarded the train with semi-automatic weapons and sashes of ammunition – their teenage bodies wearing grown-up faces. My camera captured old men on trains, gypsy camps outside of Florence, glass blowers in Venice, men playing bocce ball, kids playing soccer. I fell in love with Il Duomo, Michaelangelo’s Davide, frescoes in Rome, pizza in Naples, cannolis in Sicily, art in Milano – all behind the lens of my camera. I attended Stations of the Cross at the Roman Coliseum with Pope John Paul II and captured the sea of faces who collectively gasped as His Holiness mistepped and nearly fell. I captured piazzas, cafes, lines of laundry, plates of gnocchi, statues, churches… all the faces and places I loved there.

It was my year’s life story.

And when I came back to the States to develop a pillow case full of film…

it was all. gray.

The heightened security due to bombings of US Embassies abroad meant the rays used to scan my baggage deleted every single image from the film. I called Kodak and the lady on the phone cried with me as I told my story.

It was then I realized how powerful images can be and how much they tell our stories. My memories from that year are thinning, and it still makes me incredibly sad that I have nothing tangible to remind me of the faces and places that I loved that year.

But it lit a fire. And out of the loss emerged a girl who loves photos…. who understands the magic they hold, the stories they tell, and the precious, irretrievable time they freeze.

I treasure my photos. My boys sit captivated in front of their scrapbooks. My husband and I have taken photography classes, attended workshops, watched countless hours of training and tutorials via DVD and online. We poured ourselves in learning the technical so we could make the meaningful images we were capturing all along even better.

The lesson I hope you pull from today – no matter how good of a photographer you are, no matter how new you are, what you paid for your camera, how long you’ve owned it, what lens is on it…

What matters most is that you are freezing time and capturing memories. They will be treasured. Because life is constantly in motion. And that little boy smashing trucks and playing Legos will soon be borrowing car keys, and those once-in-a-lifetime trips can not be retaken. Your princess will soon wear a prom dress instead of a Disney costume, and time goes on…

So, today’s lesson? Day 1 to a better photo – take the photo. Always, always take the photo. You will never get a second chance at that moment. It’s a simple one, clearly. But how many times have you meant to bring the camera but didn’t?

Today’s blog sharing opportunity in comments:
When did you realize how much you loved photos? What motivates you to love your images?

Please visit my girls who are sharing this 31 Days journey with us:

31 Days of Grace :: Chatting at the Sky
31 Days to an Inspired Table :: My First Kitchen
31 Days to a Less Messy Nest :: Nesting Place
31 Days of Living Simply :: Remodeling This Life
31 Days of Autumn Bliss :: The Inspired Room
31 Days to More. . .With Less :: Beauty and Bedlam
31 Days to a Better Photo :: My 3 Boybarians
31 Days to Stress Free Entertaining :: Reluctant Entertainer

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