Picture This

We’ve talked about pens, we’ve talked about notebooks, but those are the obvious tools of a writer, like a brush to a painter.   What about the not so obvious tools a writer uses inspire their work?
What items do you carry with you to support your pursuit of the craft?
For me, it is a digital camera. I have an iPhone, so I always have a camera and a video camera with me, but usually, I also carry my point ‘n shoot digital camera and my Flip Video camera.  Overkill?  Maybe a little, but you know what they say about the right tool for the job . . .  And yes, I know I am spoiled, I blame my husband.
I am no Ansel Adams or Annie Lebowitz, but still, I snap away.  Most of the pictures never go any farther than my iPhoto library, but that doesn’t mean they are not useful. I keep almost everything I shoot.  Even the blurry shots.  I just never know when something will be useful or inspiring. I snap shots of signs that make me laugh or trigger a memory or idea.  I’ll click a photo of a passerby or a crowd that strikes me in some way.  If I’m researching a story or a blog entry, video has come in handy for impromptu interviews (with the interviewees permission of course).
Photos serve an educational purpose for me personally.  I don’t have great distance vision.  It can be hard for me to discern details at a distance. The camera’s zoom lens can often capture things that I might otherwise miss. Details that really make the story pop.
The added advantage of always having a camera at hand is that sometimes when the stars align, I take a good picture. A picture I can use in a blog post or even in submit with the story for publication.  Enhancing my photography skills is in my short list of things to do.  I will never be a world class photographer, but I view it as a complimentary skill to writing.  To me, a camera is like a dictionary or thesaurus, something that is not used everyday, but when you need it, it can really save you.
What tools do you use to support your writing efforts?
Pictures I've taken recently, a bus in Concord, an ice cream menu, Daughtry in concert, A tea I like but can never remember, a fresh made s'more, my daughter hiding behind a ball, a pool viewed from above, Capital Commons, Mocha Chip Ice Cream in a Waffle Cone.

Snaps I've taken recently.

3 thoughts on “Picture This

  1. Lee – Great advice. I know I need to carry my camera with me at all times … and yet I don’t. I’ve been lucky enough to land a few photo essay gigs. Who knows what I could do and the assigments I could get if I was more vigilent. Thanks again, Susan

  2. Lee – I’m a fellow iPhone Junkie and am currently lusting after the iPhone 4 for the improved camera and new video features (but, I think I’ll wait ’til they sort out the signal issues!). I use my iPhone camera to:
    * Capture snapshots that will help me remember settings for fiction pieces
    * Covers of books I’d like to read later, but don’t want to buy just yet
    * Posters for events that I’d like to attend (maybe) … doesn’t have much to do with writing, but I think it’s dead useful anyway.
    * Snag the occasional shot that may prove useful for a blog post

    I have another digital camera, but I never carry it with me. I am, however, considering a Kodak Zi8. I have only an old-school cassette (gasp!) video camera, and I’m thinking about doing some vlogging, so it’ll be a “business” expense. 😉

  3. Jamie, I LOVE my Flip video and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a svelt, sharp hand held video camera.

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