A year of us | day 174

A year of us | day 174

day 174

No one saw the bear cub in our yard but one look at the dismantled compost bin was proof enough. The same thing happened each spring, the plastic bin gets torn apart and its contents spilled out next to the garden. One of our neighbor’s up saw the bear mulling around their backyard the other morning when it happened. It likely strolled down the hill and feasted on banana peels, eggs shells, fruit and vegetable trimmings, and baby oats the little one snubbed. I couldn’t imagine a cub finding much sustenance in all that, maybe the oats, though not much else. After breakfast, I walked around to the front yard with the grounds from my morning coffee. I looked over at the compost heap and poured the slurry on the blueberry bush instead, making a note to clean up the mess later.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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A year of us | day 173

A year of us | day 173

day 173

Sunday: coffee, photo show down, city walk, deli picnic, photo booth portraits, barn sale, tennis rackets and backup tent, street volleys, rain drizzle, petrichor, full sun, garden store and ice cream, herb starts, tacos, routes radio there is something on your mind (professor longhair): summer ready.

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I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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A year of us | day 172

A year of us | day 172

day 172

“Hey, what do you think about packing up all our stuff and driving cross country in a campervan for the summer? We could visit all the national parks and…” “Will there be bears because if there’s bears, I’m not going.” I played Born to Run in the cassette player on our drive to the Farmer’s Market. Windows down sun angling in, his eyes drooped. “Oh, they won’t bother us. We’ll add this track to our playlist.” I looked back in the mirror, his body was slumped against the door.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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Story in a Frame Instagram Challenge

Happy May Day!

I’ve been thinking a good deal about creative habits of late. I’m 171 days into my year long photo story project, A Year of Us, and I have to admit, my work, or my ideas about how I approach my work has changed. A few weeks ago, a friend asked me how the project has affected me. Going through a daily routine, one I know I have to keep no matter what, has given me a new sense of freedom in my work. I’ve learned to check my ego at the start and articulate something true in a moment. I also follow the shitty first draft or shitty first click notion and move on. Edits happen after the real action of making the work, uninhibited.

Story in a Frame Photo Challenge | Nikki Gardner

If you’ve taken one of my photo e-courses or completed a creative 365 day project of your own, then you understand how a daily habit helps improve your craft. Routine habits are also a sure-fire way to hold ourselves accountable in an honest and real way. Storytelling plays a big role in my writing and photography. I studied fine art and editorial photography in graduate school and apply a strong narrative craft to the work I’m creating.

Stories connect us to moments and to each other. Using narrative techniques in photography creates meaningful strong images. If you subscribe to email updates here, then you’ve heard mention of the new storytelling photography e-course I’m writing called, Story in a Frame. The course shows how to craft strong photographs through storytelling.

I can’t wait until the course is bundled up and ready to share. Until then, I thought it would be fun to create a story-inspired Instagram challenge for May. I’ve included 31 daily prompts to inspire you to capture a story snippet with your favorite camera (mine will be an iPhone). Feel free to interpret the prompts literally or figuratively. Complete all 31 or only 1, it’s up to you. Make this challenge your own. If you play along, and I hope you do, use the #storyinaframe hashtag so we can find and follow along on Instagram.

Ready, click, go!

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A year of us | day 171

A year of us | day 171

day 171

The carafe of Italian Roast tasted strong. I walked out to the garden to clear my head. The basil L and I planted weeks ago died soon after we tucked it in the soil. A brief flurry of snow tailed by a few near freezing nights didn’t help. The seeds would have a fighting chance. I looked for green sprouts but didn’t find any sign of the herb yet. Grass tufts lined the edge of the garden bed close to the reseeded scallions that went wild the past two years. The faded silver and blue pinwheel L christened the bed clicked rhythmically in the stop and go breeze. I imagined the tomato sprouts we started in an egg carton waist high bearing hefty fruit in the coming months. I could hardly wait for summer.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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A year of us | day 170

A year of us | day 170

day 170

Around lunchtime, I walked outside still wearing pajama bottoms and a tee shirt. The cold settled in and caught me this round. He pulled up a lawn chair next to his and we sat together in the backyard beneath whispery thin clouds and watched the little one push a plastic riding car in the grass. I left my seat and returned with a bowl of vegetable noodle soup and crackers. The little one picked yellow buttercups from a small patch and sampled a petal before spitting it out. I felt the loose edge of time splay out like a shawl; one I would likely wrap myself in twenty years later.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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A year of us | day 169

A year of us | day 169

day 169

I used to iron shirts and handkerchiefs for fun. I was five and my love for pressing wrinkles was short lived, proven true by the blue gingham button down I wore this afternoon. My grandmother kept a play iron and iron board with a gray slipcover and creaky pink legs that once belonged to my Aunt. The iron was stored in the playroom wood cupboard along with a smoke metal teapot and white Bakelite teacup and saucer. Something about the wrinkled shirt and salmon colored teapot I poured black tea from this afternoon reminded me of the room that held her childhood things.

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I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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a year of us | day 168

A year of us | day 168

day 168

I should have seen it coming. The guitar magically appeared in the living room two days ago after many months in storage upstairs. It’s been the new wake up call since. They banged on the guitar together while L screamed darkness over and over like the lead singer in a death metal band. The little one would soon to follow his lead. Umm, what? Forget six a.m. “Where’d he learn that song?” It’s from the Lego Movie.” “Oh, okay then.”

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

 

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a year of us | day 167

A year of us | day 167

day 167

After dinner, I convinced him to draw with me. We sat at the kitchen table. I gathered three yellow onions and drew the curtains back. When he wasn’t looking or trying for that matter, his pencil moved quickly across the page before he picked up a yellow then olive green marker to outline then color in the center. His drawing was quick and effortless. I made a note to follow his lead.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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a year of us | day 166

A year of us | day 166

day 166

Sunday: coffee, green smoothie, car ride, pinhole workshop, cameras, darkroom, city slivers on film.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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