And then there were two…

Thursday night was a blessing, a confirmation of my decision to “pass the baton” of my photography class to Cheryl. While I enjoyed sharing my thoughts on composition that evening, as 9:00 pm rolled around I was tired and ready to call it a night. One of my students asked a question about capturing the little raindrop splashes formed when rain hits existing puddles. I froze — not because I couldn’t answer, but because class was over and unlike in the past, I did not want to stay late.

Cheryl jumped in and offered to take the two students who’d stayed behind (everyone else was gone) out to a fountain near the entrance of the building. She said they could play with their cameras and see what they came up with. I put my things in my car and then wondered over to the fountain to see how the impromptu shoot was going.

I could not be putting this class in better hands! Cheryl very generously explained some technical concepts required for shooting both moving water and shooting in low light. She then offered to pull her car around so the two students could use its headlights  to play a little longer, since by this time it was well past 9:30 pm.

We have two classes left (if you don’t count the Saturday field trip to Galveston that I throw in as a “bonus”). I’m feeling a little bittersweet, but in a good way. I’ve already given some of my resource materials to Cheryl to use (or not) as she sees fit. There’s a lightening in my spirit with the passing of this particular responsibility.

I expect I’ll always enjoy making photographs of the things that I find lovely. For that reason, I expect my blog name will continue to be “A Scribbler & A Shutterbug” for the random occasion I share a visual story with you.


I regret not picking up this Baby Brownie I saw in an antique store in Comfort, Texas last May. Aside from the fact that it’s so stinkin’ cute, I wonder who owned it and what memories he or she captured with its lens. 


Wrapping Up and Moving On

I taught my first photography class in the spring of 2011. Having always been a hobbyist, I felt incredibly unqualified. I had to concentrate intently on not hyperventilating from the barrage of nerves that threatened me each week. When I try to remember that first class, it is mostly a blur. In its original incarnation, the class met three hours a week for 14 weeks. I cannot for the life of me remember what I managed to talk about for a total of 42 hours, over the course of the semester! Apparently whatever it was was mildly informative and moderately entertaining, because the 24 people who signed up left me with positive evaluations, and I even had some people say they enjoyed the class so much they planned on coming back. I am still a bit flabbergasted by this.

Over the years, the class has morphed into its current format — a six week class presenting the technical aspects of photography, followed by a second six week class composed of guest speakers and photowalks, each with a maximum of twelve students. Sometimes there’s a waiting list, other times it’s me plus four — the minimum number of students required for the class to make. The class I dubbed the “Making Friends with Your Camera” class ended up bringing me more than a few friends of my own.

One student from the early days wanted to learn to take photos of her granddaughter. It’s funny, though, how she started down one path and ended up doing something completely different. A classmate’s invitation to go on a wildlife photowalk sparked a passion for bird photography that came completely out of left field. After she finished my basic class, she took off running — seeking out additional photography classes, watching YouTube tutorials, practicing, practicing, practicing. Always learning! And her work has won awards — people have purchased her work to hang on the walls of their homes and their businesses. I’m incredibly proud of her.

It was really a no-brainer when I realized this fall that I really need to, really want to pass the torch and I thought of Cheryl. I’ve enjoyed the almost eight years that I’ve taught this class. I guesstimate I’ve probably helped between 250 – 300 people make friends with their cameras. But I have other things I want to focus on and I know my former student — my now friend — will do a fabulous job of helping people make friends with their cameras when she becomes the new photography teacher in the spring. I’ll begin my last session this evening with my friend observing and assisting. I’m a little sad — teaching this class has been a huge part of how I define myself:

“What do you do?”

“I have my own business, I’m a writer, and I teach photography at the college.”

I have the business to help our family economy. I teach photography because my teacher asked me if I would when he moved away, and I discovered I enjoyed it.

But the thing that I’ve done since I was in grade school, the thing I want to find more time for, the thing that I always find myself coming back to is there in the middle, in the heart of my answer:

I’m a writer.

Voluntary Participation Makes Good Coffee Tuesday Possible

From my good friend, Tim. A story about good coffee… and other things.


via Voluntary Participation Makes Good Coffee Tuesday Possible

Grateful for Plenty

Thought I’d share the latest update, and a big part of the reason why I’m MIA around here most of the time (for now). My business has been really busy the last couple of weeks, so I’ve been meeting with clients, preparing quotes, tweaking quotes, discussing options to the point that I think my potential clients are never going to order anything.

Oh, ye of little faith!

I closed the deal on a house full of shutters this evening — almost 400 square feet of glass to be covered by beautiful custom shutters. Signed contract and deposit in hand – hooray!

I am waiting for the signed contract and deposit on a commercial order involving 71 window blinds — I’ve been told it’s as good as done, but until that signed contract and deposit are in hand, I’ll wait patiently to celebrate.

I’ve got a couple of appointments on the books for next week, and several projects are in process right now. God is good and I am grateful.


I’m Still Here…

…just been super busy with business stuff, family stuff, and a wonderful trip to see my bestie in Ohio the last week of August. We’ve been friends for 41 years — since we were 13 years old. She probably knows me better than almost anyone, except My Guy, of course. But even then — she has probably known me longer than anyone not related to me! She is my “sister by choice,” and I am ever thankful God brought our paths together.

I have one grainy “selfie/usie” I snapped of us with my phone when we stopped to have some coffee. Other than that, I chose to “be in the moment” while I was there. I actually took an extra suitcase to hold my camera bag, and never even took it out! And I don’t regret it one bit.

Best Friends/Sisters by Choice since the last day of school in 1977.

Sometimes you have to let your mind record the memories. You miss so much when you have a camera separating you and what’s happening. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s true to some degree. If you’ve never seen the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (which is nothing like the short story, I’ve been told) I strongly urge you to watch it. The ending has a powerful message about slowing down, sitting still, and really SEEING what’s happening before your eyes. Here’s the clip:

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

English Nerds

So my daughter shared a memory from six years ago on her FB page. It made me laugh out loud, so I’m sharing it here in hopes it will make you laugh, too:


“I had this dream where Gregor Samsa visited and he ate my head off…” -Me
“No more Kafka for you!” -@Laura Swan Jinkins
“Only one in ten families in America would understand that…” -@Trey Jinkins

English majors…Gotta love ’em.(:

Sayin’ “Hi!”

Here it is, 1:57 AM, my time, and I’m still awake. I finished a short story for my writers critique group and emailed it to my group. Putzed around a bit on the internet and I really should call it a night. Tomorrow (today?) I plan to do the lessons from the ladies Bible study I recently joined. Tomorrow (this?) evening, we’ll be headed to Galveston to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday.

The last couple of weeks have been super busy business-wise, which is great. This week looks a little slower, and I’m okay with that, too. It will give me the opportunity to take care of some other things and maybe read a book (or two).

One (two) thing(s) I am working on — planning more road trips with my guy. We’re going to stay home this summer (except for possibly taking a one or two night trip). Next summer, though — this girl’s got plans, and I am so glad my guy is always game for my plans! I’ve got two tentative trips cooking on Road Trippers.

Trip “A” involves flying to Pittsburgh and then renting a car to drive to Prince Edward Island, Canada. Southwest Airlines has reasonable fares to Pittsburgh (a smidge over $300 roundtrip for each of us). On the way to Prince Edward Island (the land of Anne with an “E”) we will pass through New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. I’m pretty sure I can find us some cool stuff to see along that route. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself — the states are so small that we can knock out some serious sightseeing in a very short time.

Trip “B” is a little more involved, since it takes us to the West/Northwest part of the country. I discovered it’s only about 8 hours to Carlsbad, New Mexico, where there are some incredible caves to be seen. Next stop: Phoenix, Arizona and Taliesin West — Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home. Followed, possibly, by Fresno, California (there’s an underground garden there???) and Medford, Oregon… on the way to Everett, Washington travelers pass the Mount St. Helen’s Visitors Center. It’s crazy to think the whole side of that mountain blew off when the volcano erupted.

I was doing good planning Trip “B” until I realized I’d want us to have time to travel over to Vancouver Island — by this time, the trip is getting REALLY long. So I’m thinking perhaps we should fly up to Seattle and then drive around Washington State and British Columbia (similarly to the Prince Edward Island trip).

I don’t know. There’s just so much out there to see and I want to see it ALL.

If you could plan your dream trip, where would you go? Comments below, please and thank you!