After the age of 16, a lot of the arguments I had with my parents revolved around driving. I didn’t get any speeding tickets, or hit anyone, or even crash into a tree, or go in the ditch (which in Minnesota snow is quite a feat, thankyouverymuch) … so why the discontent? Simply put, I liked driving too much. I would disappear on a weekday afternoon and head to a town over an hour away, just to see what was there. I routinely took bizarrely long circuitous routes to get home that covered twice the distance I needed to. Often they would find that I was short on money, because I was simply using it all on gas. I still remember the first time I parked in a parking ramp, to see the Bodies exhibit in Minneapolis. Proud would be an understatement.
Driving appeals to rural kids, I think, because it is the only way to get anywhere. Since adulthood I’ve talked to people who grew up a few short blocks from the movie theater, or a quick bike ride into town. They don’t seem so attached to their cars, because they didn’t need them. But kids like me — kids who lived 7 miles from the nearest gas station — we love our cars. From twelve years old, we talked about was what it would be like to be able to drive. I think we weren’t talking so much about the actual act of driving as we were about getting away, about not needing a chauffeur, about having a little more control over getting to where we
needed wanted to go. Keep in mind, we weren’t speed demons, or motor heads, and we certainly weren’t interested in them for “parking” purposes. We were in the band, ok? For the most part we didn’t date until college.
(This car stuff is totally not random, I promise. Stay with me.)
By now, you’ve seen photos for dogs that you know I’m not fostering, like this little lady, this guy, or Sammi the Brave. After I took an updated profile picture of my first-ever foster, Lance, my regional coordinator started requesting that I travel around and take pictures of the other DRNA dogs in the Shenandoah Valley. Pretty soon I was making a trip anytime someone picked up a new foster. Everyone seemed to worry that they were inconveniencing me, but I secretly celebrated every trip. Since the day I
miraculously squeaked by passed my driver’s test with flying colors, I’ve loved an excuse to take a drive. It makes the eco-freak in me cringe, but man-oh-man! The possibilities of the open road! Even if I’m only driving an hour or so to another foster’s house, I try to take the opportunity to stop in a little vintage store, or try a local cafe. I’m convinced that travel is a mindset rather than a number-of-miles-from-home thing. Plus, it makes the 16 year old in me bust into a big grin.
That’s how my little Canon Xsi and I got serious. One little weenie named Lancelot. From there, it turned into lots of dachshunds. Then I started showing up at Augusta Dog Adoption’s weekly PetSmart events. I pose a simple question: “Who needs a better picture?” Dog handlers talk to potential adopters and take donations, and I slip away with their fosters one-by-one, to a whatever small patch of shade I can find to snap a photo of them.
My photos are not amazing. I have an entry-level SLR with a kit lens. I shoot in aperture priority 95% of the time. I never use any lights other than the sun. I don’t own photoshop and I’m not entirely sure I could manage to do anything other than crop and up saturation and contrast anyway. My photos attract adopters, but your photos definitely can too! This post from way back in the day talks about my basic doggie photo tips. I promise, if I can do it, you can. As much as I would like to inflate my ego by telling myself I’m indispensable to the groups I work with as a photographer, that’s simply not true. And it makes me feel even better knowing maybe I can help other people learn how to take attention grabbing photos. Even a road-loving girl like me can only drive so much!
Do you love driving? Have you worked a formerly “wasteful habit” into something positive? Does anyone have a Chevy Volt and love it? I’m totally serious, I need to calm my inner hippie down!