Deep in the Archives

In Digital, Life,, Memory-keeping
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There was a time when my 50.0 mm lens lived on my camera, and my camera was always accessible. I carried it with me almost all the time, and it sat out at home, ready, for whatever caught my eye. Slowly I stopped packing my camera with me and started using my phone for those random shots, and only took my Nikon if I was going out specifically to take photos. 

And then couple months back, I bought a new external hard drive to backup almost 38,000 photos. They are, for the most part, organized, tagged, and in folders by date going back to 2015 so there really was no need to go through them, I just needed them backed up. 

But like any box of old photos, one is drawn in, it can’t be helped, and before I knew it I was looking at them one by one. And here is what I noticed. . . light, oh I love light, evening light on flowers and the dining room table, morning light streaming in through the kitchen window. And, those shadows that come with that light, they wake me up.

I love bowls of things, my breakfast, a beautiful salad made with ingredients from my garden, or a cool gin and tonic on a summer afternoon, bubbles dancing around the lime. I love photos of dogs, dogs playing, running, rolling in the grass, and sleeping. I love photos of my kids, especially when they don’t know I am taking them. I love photos of the tide coming in and ducks on the lake and birds at the feeder. I love photos that jog a memory deep within me, a memory I can then sit with for a few minutes. 

Of course I love photos of Percy as he grows right before my eyes and learns new thing. And, I love watching my son being a father. 

Once again I am reminded of all the reasons I take photographs, why I love this medium so and what it does for my well being. So this is the summer of leaving my camera out with that beautiful 50.0 mm lens on it. The summer of slipping it in my bag, as we venture out once again, after a year long lock down, and taking photos of whatever moves me. 

Hope your summer is full of beautiful moment to capture,
xo, Cathy


  1. My 50 mm lens also used to live on my Nikon and was always out on the table to grab it and take pics. Like you, I started to take it with me only when I went out specifically to take photos. These days I try to switch up lenses and almost always wish I’d taken the 50 mm with me.
    At the end of each year, I transfer the whole year’s photo yield on an external disk drive without even looking at them. During the year, I add each month’s favourites to my screensaver slideshow, and when I look back to earlier years, I can’t believe I took those photos myself. Like yours, they’re full of light, spontaneity etc, and I wonder where I got the inspiration and motivation from…
    Your post makes me want to go back to the old pics and try to see how I can regain my inspiration and motivation by looking at them.

    • Kiki, I love the idea of a screen saver slide show! It surprises me how I can get into that comparison mind mode and question what I love. Going through these really helped me see what I love about photography. Thanks so much for sharing your process.

  2. Same here! I could make a life of beautiful pictures with that one lens. It’s like finding your favorite wooden cooking spoon, or shoes that make your feet feel like you could walk miles, or the best pillow for a good night’s rest. When we find the tools that work for us, everything just gets easier. As much as I’ve tried to love the smartphone camera, I just don’t. The canon camera with the 50mm lens is most always on the seat next to me. Great to see your views from the archives!

  3. I think my 50mm will always be my favorite.
    Thanks for sharing this archive dive with us…so much beauty and warmth, so much humanity and *real* living.

  4. Beautiful, beautiful memories and images, Cathy. And that remembering is all about falling in love a little again, isn’t it? This post makes me feel that it does.

  5. Oh yes, me too. Me too. Just like you — all of it. I love what you wrote, and photographed, here so much.

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