Saturday, February 7, 2015



Is a picture truly worth a thousand words?
Without a doubt, some photographs lend themselves to a story. Others fall into the category of maybe,such as this one I snapped on my 2013 Himalayan trek in Nepal.

Which prompts me to wonder: How much more effective is a photo when accompanied by a passage of words?

Take, for example, this photo from July 2012, which depicts me standing on the summit of Forester Pass (13,200 ft.) in California's Sierra Nevada.

While one might guess that my joyful expression results from our successful completion of the pass, the following lines from my trip log add a new dimension to the scene:

Having only eaten oatmeal in the morning, I ran out of steam and was STARVING! Not only that, but all I wore (on my way up) was a T-shirt, and because of the wind and the sun ducking in and out from the clouds, I froze . . . but it was amazing when I finally made it to the top!”

Isn't it so much more satisfying to read a firsthand account detailing what I went through to get there?

I'm not saying that every photograph should be accompanied by words, but a photo-journal is a wonderful creative outlet for the aspiring writer and amateur photographer to combine their love of the two. Both are easily transformed into books through online websites such as Shutterfly where it's a cinch for people to preserve their photo memories while embellishing the pages with text. In recent years I've designed several Shutterfly books linking photos to my journal passages, and I've experienced incredible results.

By the way, the photograph that opens my piece—the nondescript scenery shot? Allow me to share my background story, and see for yourself if you think it turns a so-so shot into a great one.

My day began before the sun's first rays appeared, and ends as it dips into the fog. Pastel pink and purple cotton wisps beckon from beyond the teahouse windows luring me out of the smoke-filled common room to expand my lungs with fresh air. The snow-hardened peaks and razor-sharp ridges appear to round in the fog. Hello Ama Dablan I say as I greet the contours of Mother and Child's familiar profile. Imposed upon her flank is an enormous, rectangular-shaped shadow, an anomaly reminiscent of Shiprock in the New Mexico desert or the square mast of some ancient vessel.”

Does it enrich the photo? I'll let you decide.

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