Most photos I take with my phone, so I often quickly touch them up with Google Photos editing and maybe a little cropping. If I’m making a scrapbook with them, though, I usually put them through Historian, a photo editing software designed for scrapbookers.
Most of the time, I like authenticity in my photos. The Sagrada Família in Barcelona has been under construction since 1882, and won’t be completed until 2026 or so. (Construction had to be halted briefly last year due to the pandemic, and who knows how it will continue to affect progress). So when I visited in 2012, all the pictures we took had large cranes and other construction equipment in them. While I wanted to document the historical progress of the basilica with my photos, I also gave into temptation and edited the cranes out in one photo!
So instead of a slightly tilted, overly busy image of the facade of the church, now I have a beautiful photo that allows one to focus on the fantastic details that Gaudí designed.
My parents bought me my first camera, a Canon Powershot A500 series, when I was a college student spending a semester in Spain. We paid a ridiculous amount of money for a 512 MB SD card, which helped me take a lot of photos and not worry about film. This was the start of my photography journey! I have no formal training whatsoever, I just like to have fun and record memories.
Next I got a crash course in wildlife photography with a week long trip to Ecuador and the Galápagos. It was a great place to learn because the animals on the islands have no natural predators and will just stand there next to you while you photograph them. During this trip, I started to think more about channeling my grandfather, who was an avid amateur nature photographer.
I really got into photography because I am a scrapbooker. I came back from the week-long Galápagos trip with hundreds of images, which I then made into a beautiful scrapbook.
We were gifted a Canon Powershot SD870 for our wedding, which I used to take pictures on our vacations for many years. Returning to Europe was particularly fun because I could practice what I’d learned since Spain, with slightly nicer equipment.
Starting in 2015, I’ve stopped using digital cameras entirely and just use my phone to take photos. The convenience is worth the relatively low quality (funny considering that my phone has a better camera than that first Powershot did). Since I’m not traveling anywhere at the moment, I’m trying to find inspiration around my home (not hard with two kids to photograph!)
So, here I am, meandering along on my photography journey, learning more from my fellow Lens-Artist participants every week. I have grown a lot as a photographer since that first camera and trip to Spain; someday I hope to find time to make scrapbooks for all these photos I am taking!
I am not a morning person. I like to take it slow when I wake up and ease my way into the day. Note that my current situation of having a toddler does not allow for this.
My ideal morning view: breakfast with the cows in Ireland.
I am also not a breakfast person. I dutifully tried the full Irish breakfast in Dublin, but once was quite enough. It was not something I could do every day.
Full Irish breakfast
On the other hand, the glorious tea service available at every meal was something I could definitely get used to! I don’t drink much coffee, but I do love my tea, and having my own pot with milk and sugar right there was amazing. I got quite spoiled in Ireland. At home, I tend to prefer vanilla chai.
I will refrain from posting pictures of every wonderful breakfast I had in Ireland (I swear I don’t usually take pictures of my food), but this one was much more my style. And the view was perfect, too.
I’ve been to Europe several times, but have never been privileged enough to visit the same place twice. There are many spots I would love to go back to, particularly the city of Salamanca where I studied for a semester in university.
I did, however, have the chance to return to Spain several years ago. While I was visiting completely different regions of the country, it definitely still felt a little like coming home.
I was taking pictures of every little detail that reminded me of my previous visit: a grocery store I had shopped at, a favorite jewelry store (I had to make a quick stop there to pick up a pair of earrings).
I loved being able to converse in Spanish again; though I was a bit rusty, we were mostly in tourist areas, and I only had one confusing issue where a cafe asked for a PIN for a credit card, despite the fact that US credit cards didn’t have those at the time. I did my best not to get flustered, as I was used to a bit of miscommunication; during my studies, my friends had once ordered lemon juice instead of lemonade, and I had once stood in a phone store for about 10 minutes trying to explain which phone card I wanted to buy (one I had previously purchased at that exact store).
Stained glass in Santa Maria del Mar
Palma rose window
Palma de Mallorca Cathedral, La Seu
It was wonderful to be able to see castles and Gothic cathedrals and be able to view them with my previous knowledge of Spanish history and architecture. We were also happening to visit soon after the Great Recession, which hit Spain quite hard, so we tried to patronize local cafes as much as possible.
Beautiful streets of Spain
In the meantime, I had also picked up the habit of photographing sewer and utilities covers that were interesting.
In San Gimignano, Italy, a letterbox provides a glimpse into the past to a simpler time. I don’t know how I would manage currently if I didn’t have email or video chats. Life would move so much slower if we had to wait for letters! I’ve had email for most of my life; I was very young back in the time when letters were people’s main method of communication.
But if you want an even simpler way of life, think about how these monks on Ireland’s west coast lived around the 12th century. Their homes were these small “beehive” huts, without even mortar in the stone walls. They lived off the land and what they could grow, and spent the rest of their time in prayer. I’m not sure I aspire to that extreme simplicity!