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A Long Absence

It's been five years since my last blog post. Five years. I realize how pitiful that is. Why even bother with a blog if I'm not going to update it, right? Very good question. I started out with good intentions, but...well, you know what they say about good intentions.

Part of the delay was due to my procrastination in writing a new blog post. Sometimes writing doesn't come very naturally for me. I struggle with what to write about. Other times an easy topic comes to mind, but my nit-picky nature comes out and it feels like it takes me forever to find the right words. By that point, my interest in the topic has waned and I've moved on to other things. "Squirrel!"

Various life events happened during the past few years that resulted in my website and blog being pushed to the back-burner on my priority list. I got married (after waiting 20+ years for it to become legal. YAY for marriage equality!). I changed jobs in 2015 (same organization, different team). But the event that darkened my creative spark for photography was I unexpectedly lost my father in June of 2015. As most everyone knows, grief has a way of derailing things.

As a bit of back story, photography has played a big role in my life since I was a kid. My parents had a darkroom in the basement when I was growing up. Dad was a fantastic photographer who enjoyed shooting everything from flowers, plants and birds to landscapes, architecture and people. He had a particular fondness for windows and doors, a subject that has always drawn my attention over the years, also. Growing up, I spent lots of time hanging out with Dad in the darkroom, talking and watching him develop film and make prints. I remember being fascinated watching the whole print-making process, but my favorite part was watching a blank piece of paper float in its chemical baths, then transform into a beautiful photo, as if by magic. Sometimes Dad and I would talk about random topics. Other times he would explain the darkroom process and how things worked. 

The home darkroom hasn't been used in many years (even before Dad's passing), especially with the switch to digital photography. We continued to shoot photos and even got Mom interested in joining us in the hobby. She has a great eye for composition, lighting, and subject matter. Over the years, I've gathered a sizable collection of cameras (both film and digital). Some are old inexpensive Polaroids or Kodak Brownies I've discovered at local junk shops. Others are cameras I used before upgrading my equipment over the years. Still others have been given to me by family members of friends who have passed away. On several occasions, friends have given me their loved one's cameras, knowing I'll give them a good home and put them to good use. I now have Dad's camera gear. As silly as it sounds, I'm a little nervous using it. I know how to use it (we both use Canon equipment), but I worry that I'll drop it or it'll get damaged or stolen and I'll lose that personal connection to him. His camera makes me feel closer to him. In other ways it brings sadness that he's no longer with us. I'll always have the great memories of our family and all the photo outings we took together over the years. 

When I fly back home to visit Mom, I enjoy chatting with her while I dig through Dad's boxes of slides (all of which he kept meticulously labeled and organized). The boxes of slides contain photos of family members, friends, vacations, pets, strangers on the street... anything that caught Dad's attention at the time. I scan the slides with a slide scanner then organize and archive them with Lightroom and Photoshop. It's a fun way to revisit family vacations and road trips, holidays, and family members - especially those who are no longer with us.

It's been four years and most days I find I'm still processing the grief of losing Dad. People say grief never really goes away, it just changes over time. I've found that to be true so far. A day doesn't go by without thinking of him. I frequently think of things I want to tell him or share with him. Especially my new venture into drone photography (more on that later), and how much I think he would enjoy drones. But each day is different. Grief is weird like that. Each day a little bit of the sadness is replaced with happy memories or funny stories and I'm reminded how blessed I am having so many amazing people in my life.

"Don't grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form." - Rumi


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