Last week’s just past full moon – I’m over the moon about the response to the eff stop.
I don’t typically write posts about my blog, I kinda prefer to write about photography or to at least put images into some type of context. I hope you’ll forgive me this one time, and I’ll do my best to make this post at least partly about images and context.
A rose by any other name…It’s been sweet getting to know so many of you through the blogosphere.
I wrote my first post on this blog on May 20th of last year. I had just come home from an epic vacation and had tons of photos. I thought it was the perfect time to start a blog, I only opened a WordPress account to follow my brother’s blog and he kept leaving me spam-like comments on my empty blog, so I thought if I wrote something I would at least have one reader. I thought it would be fun to share photos and a bit of humor with him in the format he was communicating in. The next day I wrote my second post with an eye towards complete silliness. I had read no tutorials and had not even read any blogs except for my brother’s – heck, I didn’t even know what the Reader was. I did everything wrong. I used too many tags, I didn’t check my spelling, I used over 50 photos – in retrospect that post was a mess. About an hour later I got a nice email from WordPress about my post being “pressed” or something, how nice of them to let me know my post was live. I had no idea what that email was, I tossed it. I went to work the next day and casually commented to a coworker at lunch that I was getting a lot of email from my blog – how cool, I had heard from my brother that the WordPress platform was easier to connect on – it must be working. I noticed a lot of the comments offered congrats, how friendly – something about Freshly Pressed or FP’d, so I sent my brother a text:
I clearly was clueless.
After texting Max, I googled Freshly Pressed and found this – there’s my photograph of a yonng elk in the top right corner:
Ahhhh – so that’s what all the fuss was about.
That day I had over 2000 hits – on a blog that was 2 days old. Of course I did nothing right at this point either. I was a bit shy about replying to comments. I accidentally replied to spam and not to real people – I was moderating a dozen comments at a time without even knowing what “moderating” was. I should have had the courtesy to reply to every comment, I was a bit reserved about entering into conversations – I didn’t really know what to say. I was afraid to empty my email in-box for fear of losing something I was supposed to keep up with. My post stayed on that front page for over a week. It was a wild ride.
I’ve been overwhelmed by my instant audience for my work – I appreciate you all.
Over the next few weeks I read a lot about how to manage a blog and have always wished I had done a better job of it from the start, by now I was embarrassed to reply (silly, I know) If I failed to respond to you, and you stuck around, I really appreciate it. I was a complete novice. I would be another month and another text conversation with my brother before I was keyed in to what the Reader was – it was only then that I really began to interact with other blogs. Another month passed before I wrote an “About” page.
This is my shy pup, Kirby. He’s timid about new things, a lot like me at the start of this process.
A little over 140 posts later and I am really enjoying the interaction. I studied photography in college and have gotten more serious in the last few years. I have been diligently shooting almost every day for about the last 5 years so I have lots of images to work with and it’s been great talking about my work with you.
It’s been a treat to introduce you to people like Mary Jane – a 99-year-old hiker through this blog.
This blog has helped me to organize my work, it’s given me focus. It’s allowed me to introduce you to my amazing 99-year-old neighbor, a herd of deer, a tougher-than-nails goldfinch, and a hummingbird who enjoys the rain.
Bee-lieve me, I have enjoyed sharing my work and getting to know you.
The interaction is something I never anticipated and it has been really rewarding – it has pushed me to try new things. Last fall I read a post about NaNoWriMo, it got me thinking and it challenged me. Back in May when I pushed “publish” the first time, who would have believed that I would take on a writing challenge and that I would have 50,000 words in me? I started a second blog, The King of Isabelle Avenue, to post excerpts from my memoir on. It’s been a rich experience with just a few followers, but it has been more rewarding than I could ever have imagined.
The King of Isabelle Avenue has let me introduce you to my family and their history – this picture of a hat with a wedding in the background is a more recent part of that history.
I have gotten into a rhythm – a couple of photo posts a week and a King of Isabelle post every 10 days or so. Initially I would look at my more recent photos and see if I could find a common theme and sometimes that worked out pretty well, gradually I moved more towards shooting something with a post in mind, occasionally I did a little of both.
Photography is about more than mechanics – it’s about a point of view. I hope to find unique points of view to share with you.
More recently I have worried about keeping things fresh. I challenged myself to shoot birds last year and I have posted dozens of times on the topic. I wondered if you would tire of my obsession with cardinals. Still, my favorite posts are those that feel like serendipity – when something just comes together.
Trying new things and sharing them with you has made me a better photographer.
That happened again a couple of weeks ago. I was supposed to have a working lunch but the other party cancelled. I grabbed my keys and headed to my car to run grab some fast food. I stood in the parking lot and it hit me, I didn’t want junk food – I turned around and decided to see if I could kick out a post in the 20 minutes I had left of my lunch hour. I started to write a post I was going to call “Deer on Pine Mountain”. As I started to tell my story the title sounded stupid and boring. I took the post in a different direction and wrote this story about my encounter with an old friend on the mountain. When I hit publish I knew I had shared an experience that was special to me, if no one else. Less than an hour later I got that email – this time I did have a clue about what it meant to be Freshly Pressed.
No need to text Max this time…
The last couple of weeks have been wonderful – I have enjoyed meeting new people and have done my best to interact with everyone who took the time to comment – even if it was in another language. I saw my friend on the mountain again last night – I hope to share more stories of my white nosed friend with you as the weather warms up.
To those of you who started the conversation with me – Honie, Paula, Michelle, Elyse, Jackie, and Diana – you got me going, you found me before I figured out how to find you, you showed me the ropes. Thanks so much! (Seriously – check out their blogs!)
The bottom line is this – I was incredibly lucky right out of the shoot. I am grateful to those who followed from that early post, and to those who have joined the party in the last few weeks – now that I have written that obligatory Freshly Pressed post, I will get back to taking photos and telling stories. I am checking out the blogs of everyone who commented or followed – it’s taking some time, but I am finding some amazing new blogs to follow.
I’ll sign off for now – there are photos out there to be taken – this shutterbug is ready for another adventure!