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May is mental health awareness month and we could all use a bit of calm after the last 15 months of the pandemic. On my recent vacation, I visited Ocean City, MD. On one of my early morning walks on the beach I got to thinking about what keeps me calm. For me it is water, any kind of water. From listening to the waves caressing the shoreline while the sun rises, to raindrops on my window in a spring thunderstorm, to swimming laps in my pool, water has such a calm, relaxing affect on me, and it’s something I am not afraid to admit I need daily, especially after the year we’ve all just had.

My friend Joanne knew I needed a dose of calm when she recently, one Sunday, took me to Rickets Glenn to see the magnificent waterfalls. Listening to the sound of the water spilling over the rocks kept me calm despite having my knees nearly buckle under me when climbing the steep inclines over tree roots and slippery stones (I don’t like heights). I spent my childhood vacationing at lakes in TN, PA and NJ, water skiing with my family and friends, or spending my summer afternoons at the community pool, mostly under water (I thought I was part fish). As an adult, I loved spending leisure time with my parents on their pontoon boat on the river or fishing with my uncles for bass and blue gills, or just going along for the ride.

What’s this got to do with photography? A lot. Being involved in the creative process can also be calming as well as a distraction from our infinite thoughts and feelings, worries and more. I know that when my mind is focused on...well focus, ISO, the perfect f-stop, shutter speed, lighting and framing, the perfect pose, my subject, I also experience a form of calm. What is your “go-to” calm place or past-time? Haven’t been there in awhile? Maybe it’s time to revisit your happy place, your calm, for the sake of your mental health.

Diane, Zinn and I are planning our next event for either late August or early September (June and July are already fairly booked for us). We’ve heard from several of you that you are ready to get back to creating and we’re right there with you. If you have not yet experienced one of our events, you won’t be disappointed. We will have more details for you in June. Until then, please continue to stay healthy, safe and calm, and stay you.

Cindy, Diane and Zinn

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