Welcome to the Pam Johnston Photography Blog!
A few little "behind the lens" stories from some of my photographic adventures along with some (very) random and somewhat unrelated topics!
If you're a prospective client, please take your time to view some of my photo captures on my home page. Then, come back here to read some behind the scenes stories from behind the lens and inside the mind of this Pam Johnston person!
With the holiday season fully upon us now that Black Friday has come and gone, many of us are still pondering what to give those on our gift list. You know, I've noticed of late that when asking folks how they are doing, their answers are one of two things --- either 1) busy, or 2) tired. I've been pondering these answers, wondering if this is all our lives are meant to be...sailing along at warp speed, trying to get places, check items off our "to do" lists, rushing to make sure we and our families are fully occupied. I see it all around me. Rushing, running, in a hurry, never enough time to do what we believe are necessary activities in our lives. Now stack holiday activities on top of our normal routines and we become both extremely busy AND overly tired. So, this year, let's put on the brakes just a little...enough to be able to breathe the beautiful air that keeps us all alive, appreciating the gift of our breath, the very thing that allows us to accomplish all we feel is needed. Then, while we settle in to focus on that simple task, let's gather with those who hold special places in our hearts and do a very simple, special gift exchange. This year, let's give each other the gift of "presence"....PRESENCE --- The dictionary defines this word as "someone or something that is seen or noticed in a particular place, area, etc." So, as you sit with your loved ones, put away your cellular devices, turn off your television sets, close up your laptops and just be present....oh what a wonderful and free gift we all can give each other! For truly, the most precious gifts come from our hearts; the very act of just listening to someone who needs to be heard, or sitting with someone who needs your company, is more valuable and way easier than camping out in the cold for a gigantic television screen that many give their FULL attention to for hours on end. Now, I admit that I use technology when it is convenient, for my business, and for personal reasons as well. But when asked what I want for Christmas, my answer won't be anything expensive, or anything that requires an extensive on line search, or something that will sit and collect dust with all my other "stuff", it will be simply the gift of 'YOU'....your presence, your open heart, your love.
Here are some alternate ideas for giving (and they are all free!!):
1. Forgive someone who has offended you
2. Let go of your resentment of someone
3. Hand-write someone a love/like/admire/thank you letter (Letters are such a lost art...believe me, you will want to see the handwriting of someone you love after they have gone, but that's another topic for a future post..)
4. Take someone out for coffee and just LISTEN to them, letting them know you enjoy their company.
So, this holiday season, we can give presents, but let's make sure we also give others our presence---truly, a wonderful and priceless gift! Holiday Blessings to you!
How many of us has either uttered and/or responded to the question: “Mom, PLEASE can we keep her?” For me, I asked the question when I was 16 and my first love, Dave, drove his little red beaten down car into our driveway, told me to close my eyes, and opened the driver’s door to reveal a little ball of butterscotch-colored fluff of a kitten sitting there staring at me. “It’s for you,” he said. Now, what girl wouldn’t LOVE that, like a scene right out of a movie! Then, reality set in when I realized I would have to ask my mother, who was not an animal fan, for permission to keep her. So, I collected my giddy self and walked into the house, holding the cute little bundle who I was sure would melt her heart enough to produce a “yes” answer to that very question...."Mom, can I keep her?" Well, luckily, my mom liked Dave and must have also thought “Butterscotch “ was cute. The hoped for response was quick to come…”Yes”!!
Fast forward “several” years and I am now at that same place as my mother…having to ANSWER the question, instead of asking it. My daughters were volunterring at the local human society in Canton, where they attend college, and fell in love with one of its residents. After receiving several photos of this little kitten via cell phone, the question finally came….”Mom, can we keep her? She is so cute?” Well, my mind raced back to the very scene described above….how my mom answered me when I asked, how I advocate for “paying it forward”, how glad I was that my girls have a heart for the homeless…….So the answer came, “Yes, we can.”
This little tiny ball of fur with the white eyeliner came to our house nameless when the girls brought her home during their Thanksgiving break. We struggled to think of a name we all could agree on….”Cosette” or “Penelope” or simply “Kitty” were all tossed around until we finally all agreed on “Sophie” (short for Sophia, of course).
She was a tiny little thing, not even weighing one pound.
Yes, she was cute. But, we also had the struggle of our other cat, Bella, adjusting to her, not to mention litter boxes, food, etc. Of course, once we were all set up, the girls went BACK to school and I was left with figuring out how this was all going to work. Soon after, Bella developed a nasty case of stress induced diarrhea. I questioned my decision to allow Sophie to come into our house, which had a pretty good routine going BEFORE she came along. Thankfully, after a few vet visits, we got things all straightened around and we all were able to adjust. From day one, little Sophie was always at my feet, keeping me company where ever I went, running to the door when I came home from work.
She helped me with the dishes, sat on my lap while I was the computer, and took naps with me, her loud little purr motor revving along everytime she saw me. Could this little trouble maker be making her way into my heart? Well, the answer to that is the same one that my mother gave me and the same one I gave to my children…. YES.
I know now that Sophie was meant to come into my home. At a time when I was facing an empty nest, this little kitten has provided me with companionship and joy; something that I had not expected. Even today, when I was home sick from work, she lay at my feet, under the covers with her two little paws encompassing my stinky feet in a furry embrace.
Always keep an open heart, you just never know who will slink into it on four little black paws.
Thank you Mom, for saying “yes” and also to Victoria and Meghan, for the gift of Sophie.
I recently helped photograph a wedding in Huron which I was told would be extremely interesting. I admit I was curious about what exactly that may entail, after all, most, if not all, weddings now-a-days contain both traditional and unique aspects in some combination. Well, my imagination, which I have considered in the past to be quite active, could not have conceived the concept of Lydia and Greg’s wedding.
In Lydia’s words, the wedding was “goth-steampunk" (after nicely correcting my “goth-like” definition wrongly applied to a facebook post). Of course, being the curious type, I had to google "steampunk” to investigate exactly what this term meant. According to Wikipedia, steampunk means "airships, gears, industries, and Victorian clothing.” Steampunk clothing itself may not be the most traditional Victorian dress, but adds a fun twist to it, using futuristic and mechanical accessories, to create an interesting and innovative look. Visually, the combination of textures and styles, from delicate lace, in combination with leather and brass buckles, time pieces and top hat, combined for a visual feast.
Yes, this was a fun loving bunch who actually came down in the aisle in various combinations of dance and theatre. The ceremony itself included a “hand tying” ritual from which the officiant told the guests, "This is where the phrase 'tying the knot' comes from!" I am always happy to learn a new fact (if I can remember it for 24 hours afterward is another story).
Whole lotta creativity, whole lotta love! Congratulations, Lydia and Greg!!!
Anyone who knows me, probably realizes that it doesn't take much for me to cry....I cry at commercials or at the sight of anyone else crying, whether I know them or not. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can happen at less appropriate times. At each wedding I've photographed, I end up crying during the dances, especially the the parent dances. Most likely, it's because I am a parent myself and the emotion that I witness through the lens touches my heart. We are privileged to glimpse into their little private world as they exchange loving words and hugs. At one of the weddings, as I pressed the camera to my face intent on getting "the shot", and as tears ran down my cheeks, I heard someone say, "Look, the photographer is crying!" Yes, I was. Good thing cameras don't rust! Just another reason why I love photography, being able to capture those moments that touch your heart. Just remember as you are packing up for the event with your camera cards, flash, batteries, lenses.....make sure you bring kleenxes!!!
I stumbled across this word recently and was intrigued with its meaning. Eudaimonia means the fulfillment of our potential from within our souls, our passion, the thing that when we are operating in it, we are so engaged, we forget time, and even our own selves. For me, it is looking through the camera lens. Everything disappears...I don't notice anything outside of what I am doing...I even forget myself, which, oddly, is the most freeing thing of all.
So, here is my example of one of my "Eudaimonia" moments! Once, while sitting on a park bench taking pictures, I wanted to get a wider angle on my subject, so I kept scooting back on the bench, taking a photo, re-evaluating it, and scooting back more, and even more in order to frame it just right...well, the bench eventually ran out and I landed directly on my behind in front of ALOT of people. So, sometimes, getting lost behind the lens works, as in this case...I went immediately back to taking pictures so I could hide from my embarassment (after checking that my camera was ok, that is!).
What's your passion and are you pursuing it? If not, start today!
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