At the beginning of the year I joined an online community called 52 Frames. If you would like to read more about them then head over here, but the short version is this is an online community that provides a weekly photography challenge. Their goal is to help you be consistent in honing your photographic skills, creating a community that gives you feedback, and most importantly to help us carve out some time in our otherwise busy lives to practice creativity. To that end, your picture has to be taken in the week of the given challenge to count.
I have attempted several of these types of challenges over the years, but this is the first one I think I will complete. I am well over the halfway mark, and I’ve been able to stay consistent despite some challenging life circumstances.
Here are my last 35 weeks.
Week 9 was a consistency shot as we planned for my brother-in-laws funeral.
This weeks theme fell after several weeks of sheltering in place due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. My daughters college, had just decided they would not be returning to in person classes for her freshman year. We had to sign up for a time slot to go move her things out of the dorm that would ensure no contact with others. It was a surreal experience. At one point I saw her sitting there in her empty room and I saw the picture that summed up this crazy season. The line from the song? “All by myself, don’t wanna be, all by myself.” Such a disappointing end to a year full of promise and expectations.
I have so appreciated this community and the weekly challenges that have kept me focused and consistently carving out time to be creative. I’m not gonna lie, there have been some hard weeks, where life has kicked me in the gut and I’ve posted a consistency shot. However, the key to growth is to just keep showing up, keep getting out there and doing what you can with what you have. I have seen the growth in my photography and I’ve learned some valuable life lessons along the way.
As we are in the throws of a pandemic, “normal” life has come to a screaching halt. For the most part outside of the whole “virus trying to kill us all”, I’ve not minded the slow down. It has felt like a reset button for me, though if I was honest the “reset” started long before the pandemic. Last October, an office transfer for my husband, led to a an uprooting from the house and neighborhood we loved and called home for the last 14 years. We only moved about 30 miles from where we were, not far by most standards, but just far enough to mean life would change.
There is so much good in this season of life, but it has also been marked by a lot of loss. Some small, some big, and some that are still hard for me to wrap my brain around. There are days that feel really normal, but lately there are many days where the grief overwhelms me and the weight of it literally takes my breath away. I am giving myself permission to feel, and grace to cry when it’s needed, but I’m also committed to looking for hope. To find the places where I see God’s graces to me, reminding me that this is season. He is still here in the midst of it all. My losses are not lost on Him. He remains my hope and my peace in the pandemic and in the storms of life.
This weeks photo prompt for my 52 week challenge is “Hometown”. Since Sunday’s has become my normal shoot day for my homework assignments and 52 Week challenge, I headed out in search of something to capture the town we call home. The prompt reads, “Tell us the story of your hometown. It could be a famous landmark, something the town is known for, or even just your favorite place to relax.”. I have a few other ideas, so we shall see what I can come up with if time allows this week. Stay tuned!
Superbowl Sunday provided the perfect opportunity to get out and get some night photography shots. With everyone downtown in Atlanta, or holed up in front of their TV’s, it was a ghost town in our little neck of the woods.
This weeks challenge provided me with an opportunity to explore and play with my off camera flash. Flash photography is something that I am not proficient at, but I have made a goal to learn and master this year. I’m grateful for the Dogwood community of photographers because I have already received some bits of feedback that I think will help me execute this type of picture better in the future. I’m excited now to try this again, and hopefully when I have more time than the 10 minutes before my daughter was running off to her ballet class!
Outside of the photography learning op this gave me, when I read the prompt for the week this was the picture that immediately formulated in my mind. I think because we are in a season of change with my daughter, and to me this picture tells a story of her exiting a stage. Her life has been so focused on dance over the years and at the beginning of this year she was sure she was headed in the direction of pursuing dance on a professional level. However God has sifted, and shifted those dreams and aspirations, and redirected them into new paths.
As a result this picture holds so much meaning to me. She is exiting a stage soon and headed a bit into the unknown. It is a beautiful and scary time for her, AND her mama. From the moment these little bundles of joy enter our lives, we are preparing them for this moment when they head into the world as adults. This season of holding on and yet releasing is uncharted territory for me. I am learning to trust God on a whole new level. In the end though, I know He IS trustworthy. He has her right in the palm of HIs hands and that is the safest place to be. I’m excited to see where He will take her.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.