What is your favorite color? I have never found that an easy question to answer. When it comes to what I wear, the answer is predominately black. Black is a basic wardrobe staple and is extremely versatile. I don’t like to fuss a lot when picking out an outfit so black has been my go-to choice for about as long as I can remember. I wear mostly black slacks to work and just change up the tops I wear…Like I said, not a lot of fuss. Back in my early twenties I spent the majority of my weekends at goth clubs in LA. And of course everyone there wore black. I loved it!!
But when it comes to the colors I use inside my house, the answer is not black. I tend to feel at home surrounded by earth tones or neutral tones. There is a richness to be found in dark shades of greens, blues, and reds. I also love the simplicity of white.
In recent years I have learned to branch out and explore other colors and the various shades within those colors. As people grow up and mature as individuals, they seem to develop a taste for things that they previously disregarded. Perhaps an author or style of music. For me, I have developed an interest in colors. Photography has helped me learn to stop and take a closer look at some of the colors I have missed out on. More specifically, photographing flowers has really opened my eyes to the depth of color I was overlooking. Taking pictures allows me to go back at a later time and appreciate all over again yellows, oranges, pinks and purples. And so in this post I want to share a few of the colors I have learned to enjoy.
So last month I started this blog. I wrote two posts and started on my third. I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then I got stuck on my third post and my mind went blank for a few days.
I finally came to the realization that I was having trouble finishing my post because I wanted to write about something different at the moment. And it hit me that I had made the initial focus of my blog a little more narrow than I actually want. Given the fact that I have just started this blog and, let’s be honest, no one really knows about my site; I figured I would change the name to make it better fit what I decided I wanted to do. So, I have changed my blog’s name from My Photo Allegories to This Photographer’s Reflection. I chose the word “reflection” because it means both an image and a thought. I will continue to write about my photography. But now I can expand my focus onto other topics as they come to mind.
One of my favorite places to go in Washington, D.C. is Arlington National Cemetery. Each tombstone or grave marker tells a story that humbles me. While the cemetery is often quiet and tranquil, it is also still an active cemetery so it is not uncommon to see or hear a funeral in progress.
I love history so it fascinates me to look at the rows of white headstones and think about the fact that each one of them symbolizes an individual with their own story. I admire the representations of service and sacrifice surrounding me every time I go. Each headstone represents the final resting place for someone’s hopes and dreams. Each one embodies a person who is loved and grieved. It is always interesting to see what information about a person is engraved into their headstone.
Colonel Edwin J. Cook
For example, during my last visit there I stumbled across the headstone of Colonel Edwin J. Cook. I was so struck by what I read that I immediately took a picture. This one man served in the Army, Navy and Air Force. He flew B-29s during World War II; F 94 fighter jets during the Korean War, and served at the Military Airlift Command headquarters during the Vietnam War. What an amazing example of service to one’s country! Can you imagine the things he experienced or witnessed? It would have been an honor to meet him.
Taken as a whole, participants from over 150 years of our country’s history lie within these grounds. Presidents, judges, military figures, scientists and medical personnel, men and women, and even the nameless are buried at Arlington. The earliest monuments date back to the Civil War. Of course, more current events and individuals from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are memorialized. There are over 400 acres of beauty and valor to explore. However, the history of the land itself goes back even further. The land once belonged to George Washington’s step – grandson and later became the home of Robert E. Lee. It was occupied by federal troops during the Civil War and later used as a burial ground out of necessity.
But perhaps the most profound experience one will have while visiting the cemetery is watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier…..that is another conversation.
For a few weeks now I have been toying with the idea of writing a blog. But the internet is full of blogs. I don’t want to be just one more line on a page of search engine results. And so I wondered, what would I write about and who would want to read it? A blog represents a commitment. Once I pick a subject I have to keep writing about it in different and meaningful ways. When I was in college I learned that one does not write a research paper simply to rehash what has already been written. The goal is to provide a fresh perspective. Granted, a blog is not a research paper. But I do believe in providing a fresh perspective. So, what to write about? One of my friends said, “Your photographs, of course!”
Running came first…..
I do take pictures. I didn’t plan on it. It was quite by accident really. About seven or eight years ago I started running outdoors. I was working full time, going to grad school, and I had a toddler and a baby at home. I needed time to myself and some peace and quiet. So I went outside and started running.
Not only did I enjoy the physical benefits of exercise, I discovered that there was so much to see. I was running on the same roads that I drove every day. Only I had no idea how much I was missing being inside my car. Running outside I experienced for the first time how exciting it is to watch the seasons change. Then a friend invited me to join a group of runners at a nearby Civil War battlefield. And I made another discovery. Getting off the beaten path is extremely therapeutic!
And then came the camera….
I don’t remember exactly the moment when I decided to take my first picture. At one point I had developed a stress fracture in my left foot and wasn’t able to run quite as much. I think it was somewhere during that time that I picked up the camera and started taking pictures of some of the flowers and plants I had become familiar with on my route. Whenever it was that it happened, I became hooked.
I began to see the world around me in terms of snapshots. Perhaps it was a texture, perhaps it was a color. But these images brought back memories and reminded me of things I hadn’t thought about in years. Sometimes they related to the present instead of the past. I realized that behind each of these images was a story.
And so, that is what I will write about. The stories and meanings behind the photos. My posts will not contain tips about photography. I do not know enough about photography to offer any such advice. The internet is full of sites for anyone wanting to really learn about ISO and aperture. I can even recommend a few. Instead, I will write about the images my camera has captured. I hope you will enjoy the journey.