By Ashley Manley on | No Comments
August 1st met me with thick, hot, air and about a thousand voices of crickets, toads and birds yelling their songs for the world to hear. The evening was a colorful one, the sun exploding through the clouds at sunset in what seemed like a million shades of pinks as I looked out of the window from my kitchen sink. I picked up the camera to document the world and brilliant sky as the sun dipped down. And as I stood out there, in the midst of the wild things of the Illinois summer, I pointed my camera at other things, too. The dogs, the plants, birds in the trees…before I knew it, there were 100 new frames filled on my camera.
Later that night, after the kids went to bed, I went to pull my photos from the evening up on my computer. Before I imported them, the previous Lightroom Catalog appeared. Hundreds of photos from the month of July, filled with dirty faces from camping or playing in the backyard. I clicked back a little more, hundreds more photos of us welcoming the warm days of June and my husband and I on our vacation in Iceland. I clicked back more, finding May. Us hosting a cookout, birthday parties, visiting relatives. Thousands of photos sitting on my computer.
Not the photos themselves, of course, but the fact they were just sitting there. Before life got so crazy and busy, I was a well-oiled machine when it came to organizing, exporting and printing photos. I did it monthly, always caught up, always filling my walls with our most recent adventures. But things got busy and the printing had stopped…months worth of memories were living in the dungeons of my hard drive while my walls were filled with us playing in the snow even though life was happening in the peak of summer. Yet here I was, snapping hundreds more photos of sunsets and dogs…and for what? To have them fall to the same fate?
I didn’t cry (almost though!) but I decided I wasn’t going to take a single photo with my DSLR until I was caught up on printing. I put it in my camera bag where it sat for the entire month of August and into the first week of September. I went on family vacations and only snapped photos with my iPhone, which automatically are printed into books thanks to my photo printing warriors at Chatbooks. And slowly, I sifted through the piles of digital files. I printed albums of vacations, ordered 4x6 prints, and got 8x10 foam-mounted prints. I switched frames, hung prints, and laughed as I relived the memories of our summer. The kids squealed as the packages came in, filled with their faces and our stories. It didn’t happen all at once, it happened with a few hours a week, slow and steady.
August still was documented, just in a simpler way. And now? I’m happy to be moving into Fall with an empty memory card and a home filled with, well, us.