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Summer: The Photographs Await

Summer's change of pace is here. Although planning and preparation for future initiatives and assignments never end, many of the more weighty projects have just been completed. At last, we're able to turn our attention to those things we've looked forward to for a long, long time.

For some this may mean a fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime experience abroad, while for others it might be a simple, long-delayed trip to a spot only a short distance from home. Summer provides time for other things too, like backyard Bible clubs, VBS, mission trips and family gatherings. Regardless of how we spend our time, we are likely to have experiences that will become our stories in the fall.

In only a few days, our family will rendezvous in a location that most may not think of as a dream vacation spot. There are no fabulous vistas, cobblestone streets, beaches, malls, examples of classic architecture or hotel pools. We're headed for south Arkansas, a place where the heat and humidity compete every day for the highest number. Mosquitoes and ticks call it home. So do I.

Carol and I were raised in the small town of Fordyce. Over the years her Dad, Jack, converted a small dairy barn into a house, surrounded by farmland and forest. There are a couple of ponds, a barn, cows and a long gravel lane leading back to the house. Although their primary home was in town, Jack went to the farm every day to feed the cows and work on the house for as long as we can remember. Some in the family call it, "the house that Jack built."

Most of what we do next week will be of our own design. Without ready-made entertainment, we'll think up what happens next. Our meals will consist of family favorites, each prepared right there in the farm's kitchen. And hopefully, we'll have the chance to try several versions of homemade ice cream.

Currently there are no big plans, but at week's end I know we'll have stories to tell. We're about to have some great fun, and the photographs taken next week will be enjoyed for years.

I can almost see some of the pictures. There will be broad perspectives of the farm, cows grazing with the farmhouse in the distance, a freshly caught fish, board game winners, Frisbee golf, storytelling, late-night snack-making and laughter, lots of laughter.

BCA members will scatter all over the world this summer. Like me, some of you will stay close to home, while others will travel great distances. Regardless of where the summer takes you, make photographs along the way. Think about the visual stories you'd like to tell.

Provide a glimpse of where the story is taking place. Find a wide perspective that shows the character of the location, even if you're inside a building. These photographs give us the chance to go with you and to gain a better understanding of the overall story.

And as important as the place can be, people almost always provide the best storytelling images. Look for ways to show their relationships with each other within the environment. These moments can be truly magical, but they're not that easy to capture. Rather than being an active part of what is happening, as the photographer you may need to pull away to observe and anticipate what will happen next.

Another type of photograph that helps provide the feel of a place is detail. Like photographing a moment, noticing the details in an environment is very deliberate. Think about the best stories youve ever read. Very likely the details probably helped make the story memorable.

When it comes to visual storytelling, there are many considerations, but these are at least a start. When fall gets here, you'll not only have stories to tell, but to show.

Enjoy your travels this summer. Take plenty of photographs. And as for me, I'm just making sure to pack plenty of bug spray.

POSTED: Jun 27, 2013 | Jim Veneman - jimveneman@gmail.com

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