Yesterday, I went to Opal Creek for the first time ever. I know. A true Oregonian who has never hiked Opal Creek? What have I even been doing with my life?
The place was beautiful. It really lived up to the hype. But what made more of an impression on me was the eerie abandoned mines near the creek. Me and two girls were exploring off the main trail when we found some of these mine entrances that give off total horror-story vibes. I wrote a nosleep story to go with one of the pictures I took – will post later.
The girls I went with are currently in high school, and I’m so glad I went with them instead of the usual crowd. They dragged me all the way up the river. Like, literally through the river. We didn’t hardly even hike the main trail, and it was great. At one point, I slipped on a rock and fell completely in the water. Yes, I was wearing my camera. But don’t worry; I made sure to fall backwards.
There’s something great about finding friends that are willing to go out of their comfort zone and just dive into the water. Find yourself a couple people you can always rely on to go on adventures. You’ll be surprised at the places they’ll take you.
If you’re ever in the PNW around Salem, Oregon, I highly encourage you to take the trip out to Stahlman Point. It’s a 5-mile hike round-trip up a hill overlooking Detroit Lake and the surrounding valley. Both times I’ve done it I’ve tried to get to the top by sunrise, but I always vastly underestimate my physical ability and the time the sun actually rises. The view is so worth it.
I love shooting film.
You’ve probably heard it said many times, but film is different than digital photo shoots because of how intentional you have to be with each shot. It’s true – plain and simply, each shot costs money. I’m still very new to this game, so let me be the first to say, I waste a lot of money. Finding the right kind of film, getting the perfect settings, making sure the camera doesn’t malfunction, making sure the time of day is right – it’s all so much to keep in mind, I often screw up several pictures on a roll of film. It can be honestly overwhelming. Digital is easy compared to this; I can take 300 shots and not have to worry about losing a penny.
I used to be a part of the newspaper at my community college. The professor who ran it always said, “A picture is worth a thousand words, unless you have a thousand words.” He probably got that from someone else, to be honest. But this statement has proven true again and again for me – so long as those thousand words are intentional.
Have you ever written flash fiction? I love it. I had a professor in undergrad who challenged me to write a story every week under 750 words. Seems easy, right?
I found myself cutting whole paragraphs and sentences of what already felt like a too-short story. Those cuts are a lot like the settings on a film camera – you have to be precise with that shutter speed, the aperture, the focus, in order to get the image you want. Intentional writing is a lot like film photography. If your challenge is to write a thousand-word short story, you have to have complete and total control over every single word that goes into your piece in order to create the exact image you want your readers to see.
This summer, I want to shoot a lot of film. My goal is to have an entire roll of perfect shots. Yeah, that sounds crazy. It is crazy. But my hope with this isn’t just to improve my photography skills – it’s to improve my writing skills. It’s to train my brain how to be intentional with every single piece that makes up the thousand-word portrait of my story.
Want to join? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.