Appropriately I’ll finish my first real vacation in I can’t think of how long on this image of sundown on a single flower. It was a little over a year ago that my wife and I separated, something I never thought would happen in a million years. I thought we would be the couple holding hands on our rocking chairs on the front porch. We are now officially divorced and moving toward the “amicable” part of the process. We share our beautiful, too bouncy, boy Sammy.
For the first 2 1/2 years of his life I took a little point and shoot camera with me whenever me and Sam went anywhere. I discovered the beauty of my town and started screwing around with the settings on the camera, started taking mental notes about weather, sunlight, terrain, shadows, and what the camera did with these events at different settings. I got to noticing different angles thanks to having to bend down and pick him up and later having to chase him up and down cliffs and along shorelines. Eventually I had saved up enough to get a better camera and with it a whole new world.
Sam and I visited every park and place in the surrounding area on a daily basis. When my wife and I separated in April of ‘09, I went out and took photos by myself for the first time, on Sundays and Mondays, the days I don’t have Sammy. In between bouts of crying, I started trying some techniques I had been dying to try, but it just wasn’t possible with a child that has more energy than 10 meth heads on a bender. I wasn’t used to having time to line up a shot. I even got to use a tripod! The shots started turning out pretty good, hell they were actually in focus, they were just missing my bouncy boy in the middle.
I started submitting some photos to our local newspaper. I remember sitting with some of our patients at their breakfast (I work on a crisis care Psych ward, but that’s a whole other story), I saw a picture I really liked under the “Best Shot” feature, it took a second to realize that it was one of mine! What a thrill, I was smack dab in the most painful part of my life and this came out of the blue and whispered to me that I should try harder because I might be on to something. We cut out the picture and put it on a bulletin board in a hallway at work. I started using all my free time studying the landscapes and learning as much as I could about cameras, staying up way later than I should have, editing and processing, after going out at sunset for a couple hours every Sunday and Monday. A little over a year later I just had my 54th photo published in the paper, the clippings from the paper have been moved from one bulletin board to another bigger one, and yet another even larger one.
I guess is what I’m trying to say is that a year ago no one knew me as a photographer. In what was easily and far away the hardest year of my life, photography, art, beauty, sprung up and gave me comfort and direction. They say art comes from pain, I think it comes from healing and dealing with that pain. Is it an escape from it? Probably.
So, what does this have to do with my summer vacation? Part of divorce is that you each will take a vacation a couple times a year This last week was the week that Sams Mom took him out of state for the the week. I’ve never been away from him this long, and it started reminding me of the first week of the separation when I had to get used to not seeing him every day. I started using photography to escape the silence of my house. Well, the house was way too quiet this last week, so I went out constantly, pretty much non-stop. I think I’ve uploaded about 30 photos in the last few days. I took time away from work and had a week where I didn’t have Sammy or work, and had the first time in the last year to process how different my life is now.
I joined this site last December and have got to know so many like minded people and really loved getting to know some of you and seeing all the great art, and learning so much from the many talented folks here. I originally(back a long time ago when I started this little description) wanted to apologize to all the group leaders, I think I’ve gone a little nuts with the submissions in the last week, and also to thank you for the features (82 in 14 days, yeah, that’s right, I went and bragged a bit).
In closing, I’ll just say that while a lot of things are happening a little too quickly for me, I can’t wait to see what the next year brings, but right now, I can’t wait until Sam comes home tomorrow, then my year and my heart will be complete.
I took this shot purposely as the last shot of my outings this last week, solitary, looking to the sunset, waiting for the Son-rise.
*After reading this I’m not sure it belongs here and not in a journal or something, it just kind of spilled out, but I said what the hell anyway.