Thankful November 7th: Photography

I love taking pictures. I love taking pictures of people. I love taking pictures of places. I love taking pictures of abstract things. I just love taking pictures. My love of photography started with I was very young. Starting from about age 7, if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you, “A free-lance photojournalist for the National Geographic Society.” And I knew what that meant. My parents had a subscription to the NGS, and each month I would pour over the photos from around the world of amazing places and cultures. I got my first camera when I was about 10. I took a photography class in 9th Grade where we learned all about light, f-stops, aperture, and how to develop your own black and white film (yes, film). I got my first really good camera when I was 23, and I loved taking black and white slides. My first trip to Europe (when I was 26), all of my photos were slides. Crazy, I know. But now, with everything digital, most photos are shared online and shown in a new form of slide show. I was just ahead of my time.

Recently, I’ve delved in portrait photography, and it’s been a blast. Weddings can still give me some anxiety, but it is so much fun to capture moments and memories for people.

I had a hard time deciding what photo I would include on this post. I decided to use the first photos I posted when I started this blog seven years ago. I still can’t believe it’s been that long. What an amazing adventure!

A Photo a Week Challenge: In the Neighborhood

I realized that I haven’t taken many non-travel photos lately, so I stepped out my front door and took this picture this morning.

I really like my neighborhood. We have great neighbors, the area is relatively quiet, and there is a wonderful park with a walking trail at the end of our street. The elementary school is just behind the church on the corner, and kids are usually out playing after school when the weather is good. During the holidays, people deliver neighbor Christmas gifts, and the youth take one evening a couple of weeks before Christmas to deliver Christmas cards for anyone (you do have to address your own cards) to anyone in the neighborhood. People out walking or driving wave to each other, and regardless of your religious status (or lack thereof), everyone is welcome to come to the big neighborhood block party every September at the local LDS Stake Center where the congregations (known as wards) in the Stake (six to eight LDS wards in an area) take turns providing the barbecue meal. It’s best when the Tongan ward is in charge and we get a luau!

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO (OR TWO OR THREE) OF YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.

Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Each week, I’ll come up with a theme and post a photo that I think fits. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Thursday, when the next photo theme will be announced.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “A Photo a Week Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.
  3. Come back here and post a link to your image in the comments for this challenge.
  4. Follow nancy merrill photography so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements.

Thankful November 6th: Utah

Earlier I posted about how I’m thankful for the beauty of our wonderful earth. Today, I wanted to focus on my home state of Utah. Utah has amazing diversity in nature, from lush forests to desert to red rock formations and mountains. When the Mormon pioneers first settled here, the leader Brigham Young prophesied that the industries of the pioneers would make the desert blossom like the rose, and it truly has. The Salt Lake Valley has a population of over 1 million people, and the state has a population of over 3 million.

I love traveling around this beautiful state, photographing nature and people across the landscape.

Thankful November 5th: Sisters

I have three sisters: two older, one younger. Growing up, we were the bane of our brother’s life. He even told my mom once that he didn’t care if it took twelve sisters, he wanted a brother. He didn’t get one until my oldest sister got married and he finally got a brother-in-law.

I have a lot of friends with only sons, and you frequently hear (or read in a meme) the saying that boys are harder to keep alive, but have less drama. I’m sure my parents went through a lot of drama with us. Even with all of the drama, I love my sisters. We are now all really good friends. We live close (all within 10 miles), and we love getting together for family parties or a girls’ lunch with mom.

Thanks, guys (well, I guess gals), for helping me have a wonderful childhood and built in friends.

Thankful November 4th: Russell

When I found my husband, I really hit the jackpot. I was in my early 40s. I had never been married and had reached the point where I was fine with that. Funny how life has other plans for us sometimes. We met doing a play at a local community theater. I was the music director, he was a bass in the chorus with a small speaking part, and when the show was over, I took him home and kept him. That was almost 12 years ago, and I now can’t imagine my life without him. And while he is the first one to admit that he isn’t perfect, he is perfect for me.

Thankful November 3rd: Wonderful Parents

My parents are wonderful. My childhood was somewhat amazing. We didn’t have much money (my dad was an elementary school teacher when I was younger and finally retired from the United States Department of Agriculture; my mom was an office manager), but we always had enough. My mom and grandmother made a lot of our clothes, and friends would ask me where I got many of those clothes. My father was a hard worker. When he quit teaching, he took whatever he could find to support his family before getting a job with the USDA Arial Photography Field Office. I had more than one friend tell me that they wished they had grown up in my family.

But more than just providing for our physical needs, my parents instilled in each of their five children a love for family. When we could afford to travel, we drove across America seeing amazing things, learning crazy travel songs, and playing every travel game you can think of (license plates, alphabet match, I see). My parents also loved each other fiercely. They loved holding hands, sitting next to each other, and sharing a quick kiss no matter who was watching.

When my father was at the end of his life, my mother did everything she could so that he could stay at home and not have to go to assisted living. When it got to be too much for just her, hospice came in the mornings to help, and we took turns helping her at night. Dad didn’t always remember which of his kids was there helping, but he always knew when my mom was near him.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for a wonderful example of selfless love and devotion.

Thankful November 2nd: The Beauties of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.
Folliott S. Pierpoint, 1835-1917

I have been lucky enough to do a bit of traveling around this amazing planet on which we live (that sentence structure is a nod to all of my English professors at the University of Utah). I’ve been to Asia, Europe, Mexico, Great Britain, and most of the United States of America. Everywhere I go, I find beautiful things to photograph and wonderful people who fill my heart with happiness.