Oregonia, remembered

  • Aperture: f/7.1
  • Focal Length: 17mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter: 1/200 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D1H

Samantha, Alabama

Years ago, I spent Sunday afternoons looking for a feature photo our paper called “Where is it?” I hated the name, but readers loved guessing where the photos were taken. After a while, I enjoyed the game as much as they did. Maybe more.

The winner of the contest got a free subscription to the paper, and you’d think they won the lottery. As for me, I got the chance to explore the far reaches of the county and connect with people I never would have known existed if not for this silly little feature. I picked up story ideas, met new friends, and made more than a few shots that pleased me.

Most importantly of all, I found a way to clear my head. As the gravel flew beneath my wheels, I lost myself in the stories of NPR’s “This American Life,” analyzing the syntax of contemporary wordsmiths like David Sedaris, Ira Glass, Sarah Vowell, Jonathan Goldstein and others. The pacing worked its way into my daily writing and changed the way I saw words forever.

Today, I listened to “This American Life” again as I went back to find an old barn I remembered from my travels. And standing knee-deep in a field of broom sage, no one around for miles, I realized it was all still there, exactly where I left it, just waiting for me to pick up the camera, the pen, the narrative, one more time.

Music: Luka by Suzanne Vega (lyrics)

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