Hi! I’m Merri. Thanks for taking a moment to hang out with me.
I’ve been a shutterbug for as long as I can remember — from my first pocket and Polaroid cameras to my first digital camera — I remember it well — a gold Olympus Camedia with a whopping 1.31 megapixels. I inherited a Canon digital camera from my dad in 2005 (I still use it today for it’s ability to take amazing macro shots), and it was only recently (2016) that I graduated up to my first DSLR (a Nikon). Yes, I’ve finally made it into the world of interchangeable lenses.
I probably inherited my love for photography from my dad. He would follow me around the house with a camera in his hand when I was little. He even won a photography contest with an image of me … I was on the potty chair. Yep. Plastered on the front page of our town’s newspaper for all to see. Maybe, I inherited a love for photography despite my dad. 😉 A lot of photographers also have a love of cameras and can tell you all about them. That was my dad. He was a collector of many things and cameras were one of them. And he could tell you about f-stops and aperture and everything photographers know. Every photographer except me. Despite growing up with a dad who loved cameras and photography (he even had his own dark room and developed his own film), and taking photography in high school, and taking several classes at Mike’s Camera, I just don’t seem to grasp / retain the numbers and hows and whys of photography. I don’t let that stop me — I just keep practicing. I’ve heard of people who write songs or sing, who can’t read music, so maybe I’m just the camera land version of that.
Where I’m at Now
My current “enthusiast’s” camera was a gift to myself while undergoing chemo for breast cancer. That year (2016), “Brave” was my One Word. I had no idea how it would come in handy as the year progressed. The hot air balloon festival had returned for the year, and I wanted to get out and experience life, despite being in the middle of chemotherapy. I had been to the festival a couple of times before, but this time, I wanted to experience the event from the air! If you knew me, you’d know this was stepping WAY out of my comfort zone. A hot air balloon ride was a (semi-reluctant) bucket list item for me. It was time to get some equipment that supported my picture-taking passion. By then, chemo had taken my hair, but not my spirit. I wrapped a scarf around my head and not only enjoyed the views and the ride (so serene!), I also participated in several photography workshops to get familiar with my camera. We went on field trips to the zoo, Hawk Quest, Hudson Gardens lit up at night for Christmas and a wild mustang ranch. I lived 15 minutes away from a wildlife refuge and drove through frequently for snaps of the bison, and deer. I’ve found that photography has started me down another path — turning me into a bit of a birder. As I spent time in nature, I’d come across blue heron, egrets, eagles and more, which led to joining bird photography Facebook groups. I was amazed at some of the bird images — from hummingbirds in flight to colorful species just passing through during migration. It’s had me looking up a lot more and wanting to learn how to spot and capture (on “film”) these amazing creatures.
Photography Bucket List
Besides wanting to improve on my skills and expand my knowledge of birds and action shots, there are two photography-related quests on my bucket list: 1) Photograph polar bears in Churchill, Alaska and 2) Photograph the Aurora Borealis. We can occasionally catch a glimpse of the northern lights when they dip into the northern part of Colorado on the very rare occasion, but I’d love to stay in a glass igloo hotel in Finland for viewing those amazing dancing lights. I still haven’t seen them, so even catching them when they reach Colorado would be a dream come true.
Speaking of bucket list, this isn’t photography related, but I’ve never seen a firefly. Nope. Never. I know, I know, I live a sheltered life. My dream is to go to the Smoky Mountains to see the synchronous fireflies.
My Goals for this Website
In addition to sharing my love for photography and encouraging new photographers, I’d like to start adding services and possibly offer stock photos. I love creating fliers and brochures almost as much as I love photography, so I’m thinking through a “Fotos & Fliers” service. I also enjoy real estate and pet photography. Something that has been tugging at my heart lately, is end-of-life photos for pet owners. I’ve lost a few pets over the years, and not having any photos to remember them by would have amplified the pain of missing them. I’m thinking of a service that would keep the pet’s comfort the #1 priority (keeping them in their home environment or a place they love to explore), and lovingly documenting your fur baby’s life before you need to say ‘goodbye.’
Photography as a Lifeline
Before the breast cancer and pre-DSLR purchase, I took my Canon PowerShot along with me on two, month-long road trips. Before starting out, and not having any clue that I’d be exploring for so long, I was feeling panicky about being on the road alone. My camera, and documenting those adventures, are what carried me through. Photography helped me tell a story, and captured those memories to revisit again and again.
I think photography has a lot to teach us about life … from lessons on perspective, focus, story-telling, recharging our batteries, and patience to yes … actually putting this wonderful apparatus down once in awhile to read, breathe, take everything in and be present in the moment.
May your lenses always be smudge free. 🙂