At the beginning of March, GOOD offered a challenge, 31 Days of Art.  I shared the link with my Facebook friends and recruited my sister and a friend in Savannah to participate with me.  My sister dove right in, posting pictures of her son and she making art, both digital and physical art.  Yay! I was inspired.

My friend in Savannah took walks and posted lovely pictures of the scenic city.  Again, I was inspired.

I didn’t have alot of resources at my disposal, but I did have my iPhone and the Instagram App, so I decided my 31 days of Art would be to take pictures of anything that captured my interest and imagination during my morning and evening walks with my dog, Caro.  She isn’t the most patient of assistants and many photos were taken haphazardly, slightly askew, out of focus or not set up as I would have hoped, but thanks to the magic of Instagram, I was able to salvage these quick shots and eventually find a way to tap into my creativity.

The first walk was on a rainy afternoon and I didn’t have too much hope for the results of the shots I took of my pathway to the beach.  Ok, first, before I go any further, I have to admit than when your backyard is the ocean, it isn’t hard to 1)be inspired and 2)find lots of good shots to take.  That being said, a gloomy, dreary afternoon didn’t promise to be too fruitful. But I was committed. Those first shots, once filtered through the magic of Instagram, set a high bar for me to keep to.  The feedback from my Facebook friends was immediate and supportive, and so I was “hooked”.

Soon, I found myself eager to wake to capture a sunrise.  If you know me at all, you will know that sunrise isn’t my favorite time of day.  During yoga teacher training, I heard many times that meditation at dawn was recommended, yet I never managed to get up for that early practice.  Yet, here I was, waiting on a cold dark beach with plenty of other early birds (who knew?), excited to see what kind of sunrise would emerge that morning.  Some were hazy and disbursed.  Some were bright, fast and awe-inspiring.  One was so amazing, I had goosebumps as I saw the light glaze through the clouds and knew I had a once-in-a lifetime shot.

Sunset became another highly anticipated time of day.  Eager to watch the sun dip below the horizon on the sound side of the island, I would observe the current of the water and found to my delight one evening that the water was a still mirror, reflecting exactly what was above it.  Some of my favorite shots emerged that night.

Some walks with Caro were limited to a one-block radius from my house. Caro is fifteen (yes, she really is that old!) and so has her bad days. On those days, I could talk her only into a quick trip across the street and so I would scan the lovely old beach houses for quirky features: beautifully potted plants, flamingo yard art or the colorful contrast of stairs and walls.

What I learned from this 31-day experiment was a new talent I would never have found otherwise. I have always admired my father and my brother’s work in photography and jealously wished I had that talent. The ability to frame a shot and apply lovely effects to it to tell a story about a place that I am falling in love with more and more each day, was a gift that I am excited to continue to explore, perhaps with some discipline and training behind it (and a “real” camera).  It was nice to get kudos from friends, but the real reward happened each time I opened my Instagram history and reviewed the pictures I had posted.  I would remember not just the place I had visited, but the emotions and story behind that photo.

I look forward to continuing to explore photography and I look forward to uncovering perhaps even more hidden talents that I didn’t know I had.  At forty-five, it is fun to discover that you can indeed surprise yourself!