Slapped. Twice.


Life has a way of slapping you across the head to make you pay attention. That happened to me yesterday. Twice. There are no accompanying pictures to this post. You will have to make them in your head. It was a long day, but I had hoped it was going to be a good one. I did not know what was in store for me.

All day yesterday I was looking forward to the last class of the photography seminar that I have been attending. I thought it was going to be fun, positive, and I would leave all happy and glowing inside, with a sense of satisfaction and pleasure because I had achieved at least one of my goals. It was indeed interesting, but above all, enlightening, just not in the way I had expected.

As evening fell, I arrived at the class and took my seat. Of the six of us who were participants, only four would show up. The missing were gone because of circumstances they could not control. Oh, we’ll get out early, some of us thought. It turned out that class actually ran late because we were so busy luxuriating too much in the extra time that before we knew it, it was very late.

We all had our turn at having our “projects” reviewed. I went first. My project when I started the class in Sept.  was going to be the book I had planned about the Wallow fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history, that happened during the summer of 2011. I had the concept started, the progression of photos shot, but I needed a little direction. I had hoped to find it in the class. I have been working instead on a “new blog” at the suggestion of the people running the class. So, I got sidetracked, but I presented what I had last night, the photography blog.

Let me just say that I thought my photos were good, but that was not the feeling I got after the review. What they seemed to want was what I already have been doing for the last three years, on this blog. True, I do not always write about riding experiences here, mainly because I am not retired and I do not get the time to ride every day. I am lucky if I get once a week. So, on the days I do not ride, I write about other things. The blog is what it is, and even if I changed the focus of this blog, narrowed it down to only writing about riding, people are never going to line up to sponsor it, to buy advertising on it, and make it an entity by which I can make a living. There are too many other blogs out there, too many other people writing about or photographing similar things, to make what I do stand out. That’s the reality. Making this blog an art form was not the intent anyway. It was originally to have a place to share my riding stories, which people seem to like.

As I sat in the class last night, I wondered what I was doing there. I felt again like I had lost my focus, something my brother-in-law and I had discussed a few weeks ago while we laid out the book ourselves. We did it fairly quickly, without agonizing over every photo arrangement, but still made it pleasing and made it into something that would achieve my goal. We all, my husband included, have been in the graphic arts business for a combined total of over 90+ years so I feel we have an “eye” for what works. This class at least gave me the impetus to get the book well on its way. I only have the winter photos left to shoot, which I will be doing in the coming months, to complete the book. I don’t care if I only publish it myself on Shutterfly.com, and use it only in my classroom for my students. At least they will be interested in it judging from their reactions to some of the photographs I have shown them.

While I was “presenting,” my phone rang, but of course, I was unable to take the call. Little did I know how that call would affect me.

What I mainly got from the seminar was learning a lot from the other participants, appreciating their work, getting to know them. I also realized how differently I see things compared to people who have a background in “art.” Way-y-y-y-y-y-y differently.

I learned a lot from the people in the class: I really enjoyed T’s photographs/short stories. He had a series of five photographs, each one with its own accompanying paragraph that was a perfectly-formed vignette. I thought the photos were all perfect as well, and the best thing is that he is such a natural, raw talent. I don’t think he even knows how good he really is. Then there was B., a professional photographer, and all his work was amazing. Another woman in the class, J.,  did some really nice macros of unique flowers and plants.

After I finished my presentation, I checked my phone. I was surprised to see the name that was there, and wondered why my motorcycle mechanic would be calling me that late in the evening. I could not have imagined what I would find out when I returned his call.

(Tomorrow: the phone call)

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