Oh, Shoot!

Last week, South Dakota Magazine reached out to me, asking if I’d be interested in having a photo featured in their Photo Friday series. Umm, does a three-legged dog swim in circles?! I was both humbled and honored.

I do like this shot. Specifically, the contrasting colors that play against one another. A lot of this I attribute to being in the right place at the right time. We had rolled into downtown Hot Springs right around sunset, at the tail end of a day-long excursion through the southern Black Hills. It was right around sunset, and the snow that had been falling was beginning to taper off. I loved how the steam and mist were swirling around the red canyon walls (a distinctive geological feature of red shale and siltstone known as the Red Valley or Racetrack that encircles most of the Black Hills). The lighting happened to be just right, so I got lucky with this one.

Photography has been a hobby of mine for as long as I can remember. I got my first camera when I was 13—one of those boxy Kodak Pocket Instamatics that used 110 film. I remember how satisfying it was to snap that cartridge into place. Less satisfying was the actual quality of the photos, but we’ve come a long way from those grainy days.

I don’t even remotely consider myself a photographer. I lack the technical knowledge, for starters, and would be hard-pressed to tell you the difference between an F-stop, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and a Ford F-150. I mostly shoot in automatic mode, rarely fiddling with ISO, aperture, and shutter speed settings unless a specific shot demands adjustments. I have taken to shooting in RAW format, at least, and editing through Photoshop. Baby steps.

I may not be technically skilled in photography, but I feel like I have a good eye, which is helpful when it comes to composition, framing, and simply recognizing what will make an interesting shot. As a writer I’m a storyteller, so it’s only natural that I would gravitate toward photography — the visual equivalent of storytelling. This is why Instagram is far and away my favorite social media platform.

Maybe someday I’ll take the time to learn more about photography and start shooting manually.

Speaking of storytelling, I’ll be contributing a freelance article to Ye Olde Publishing Company’s spring parenting issue next month. Ashley, my replacement, reached out to me last week and asked if I was interested in writing about mushrooms of the Black Hills. Clearly, she knows what a fun guy I am.

As fun as that will be, I’m even more excited that Tara will also be submitting an article! Ashley asked if I’d also be down to write about gardening, but I told her that isn’t really my forte. I was interested in the angle though, and when she said it’s about buying seeds, checking planting zones, getting them started indoors, and transplanting them when the weather warms up, inspiration struck. My dear wife lives and breathes that stuff, and has already purchased seeds in preparation for this year’s garden, which she has been plotting out using charts and graphs. I was so impressed with her grow lights and garden success last year, I knew she’d be a natural to write this story. So I made the suggestion, Ashley approved, and I ran the idea by Tara.

She accepted the challenge and is now working on an article that will lead to her first-ever magazine byline. I love this! Besides, I’ve been bugging her to get back into writing for years. Mostly she ignores me, but this time she took the bait. You might recall that we met over a blogging platform, after all. Tara is a really good writer; that’s one of the things that attracted me to her. Maybe this will inspire her to get back into occasional blogging. I doubt it, but hey…it’s a start.

Gardening humor FTW.

19 thoughts on “Oh, Shoot!

  1. Oh, wow, awesome and congratulations, Mark! Well-deserved. Beautiful composition. I sometimes call a good photo, “the goosebump factor.” Ha, ha, “fun guy.” Great news for your wife, too. Write what you know. I recall you mentioning how you met. Thank you for brightening my morning with a feel good story, Mark!😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love photography, and some day I will have a bitchin’ camera. Currently I just use my iPhone 11 ProMax; I love what I can do with it, but it isn’t that great for zooming in and close-up. I know I have a decent eye, and have gotten lucky with being in the right place at the right time. I see those iPhone photography classes all the time and sometimes wonder if they are worth the money.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! My mom used to give my son those disposable cameras when he was little…he took the coolest shots. One of my friends who also is a hood photographer told me her husband once asked her…”what do you see that I don’t? You obviously see things that others miss.” It’s a fun hobby, plus during this past “Year of the ‘Rona” I spent a lot of time exploring places in Maine that I had never been to before.

        Liked by 1 person

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