Capturing Life

"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever. It remembers little things long after you have forgotten everything." - Aaron Siskind

In 1997, I took advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity. A position had come available at the North Dakota Air National Guard, one that was highly sought after and rarely opened up...the position of "Still Photographic Specialist". Otherwise known as "a photographer". I was 1 year into college, and still didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I had loved photography for as long as I could when my dad told me about this position, it got my attention. I went for a tour of the base, and the rest is history. My life was changed forever.

I held up my hand and swore to defend our country. I spent 6 1/2 weeks in Air Force basic training, and another 6 months in training at Ft. Meade, Maryland. Ft. Meade houses the Defense Information School, which is basically the artsy fartsy school for all military branches. What a hoot...try to imagine...military meets art. Crazy. It was so much fun...and I learned alongside some very talented people with whom I am still in touch with today (a big hoo-rah to my ladies!) :)

I spent the next 6 years working for the military...shooting generals (now that sounds dangerous!), documenting deployments, donning gas masks, flying in KC-135 tankers,...always in search of the perfect shot. I started on film cameras because that is all we had back in the olden days. In school, we learned in the dark room, with black and white film...and then spent a lot of our time shooting slide film. We only had a week or so of Photoshop training.

When my unit finally bought us the new fangled digital cameras, every one was excited, but almost scared to use them. The first digital camera I used sported a whopping ONE MB image size. Whoa! And we were all amazed. And after that, the technology exploded. And we always seemed to have the latest and greatest. I feel very blessed to have had such a great background in photography and in learning Photoshop. I truly enjoyed my time with the military and I am thankful for the experience. I went in with one goal...and that was to learn as much about photography as possible. Mission accomplished.

I finished up my bachelor's degree in photography and design and continued to fall in love with capturing life. Fast forward to today...I'm now in business for myself, and loving every minute of it. I am passionate about life, and it's only natural for me to want to freeze my favorite moments in time forever! My camera goes with me EVERYWHERE. When I don't have my "big" camera, I use my iPhone. And this brings me to the whole point of this blog post.

I want to encourage all of you who are reading this to CAPTURE YOUR LIFE!! You will forget many things...but when you take a photo, you can remember forever. Who will be around in 100 years to tell about what you did every day? Not you! But your photos will be (if you remember to back up your hard drive! ha). Think of your photography as a treasured heirloom that you are passing down to your family.

You don't have to have a fancy camera to take photos. As Chase Jarvis would say, "The Best Camera is the One That's With You". And for me, that happens to be my iPhone. His philosphy is to use whatever you have with you at the time to make amazing, memorable photos. Chase's book is made up completely of photos taken on his iPhone (even though Chase is an incredible, sought after commercial photgrapher!). It's totally inspiring. It forced me to SEE really notice the details around me. In the book, he says,

"As an artist, I feel more free with the little camera built into my iPhone than I ever have with any other camera. I somehow recovered an innocence I'd lost, and I was able to see the world again for what it is: a beautiful, funny, sad, honest, simple, bizarre, and wonderful place. If taking pictures helps you see this, then keep shooting."

Yes! I love this. As someone who knows a lot about the technical side of photography, I sometimes over think and over perfect my photos. I can rely on my gear and post processing skill to clean up a shot or make it into something that it wasn't. I don't have that luxury with a camera phone. It is what it is. Sometimes it's grainy. Other times it's too bright. Or too dark. And blurry. Just like real life. And that's what I love about it.

Chase also has a GREAT app for the iPhone called "Best Camera". I love love love it. The photos in the collage above are some that I've taken recently with using the app. I'll be adding more photos (hopefully daily) to this set.

And lastly, here are some people, blogs, and a book that are inspiring me right now:

I want to hear from those of you who love capturing life...what or who are you inspired by? Why do you keep shooting?