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Our wonderful economy sure has taken us all for a lovely ride, hasn’t it? The past couple of years have been very trying for most people and much worse than that for others. My heart goes out to those who have suffered financially through no fault of their own.

And when times are tough, it’s harder to find the time and money for recreation and hobbies.

But our digital cameras give us an almost ‘free’ way of getting some instant karma and some of our good feelings back. If you remember the days of film cameras, remember all the costs and extra time that used to be involved in taking photos? Now we don’t have to pay for film or processing. Or wait to see our results.

So grab your camera. Here are some ideas that not only will assure you of some good pictures, but will definitely help your mood.

  • Take your camera for a walk. Get outside for even a 10 or 15 minute walk. Then really look at what you see. You’ll find something that will make a great photo. Maybe it will be a close-up of something with a striking design, or the way the light and shadows play on the street or sidewalk, or something with colors that you miss on ordinary days. See what you can find within a block or two of your house. You might surprise yourself. And if not, your camera will thank you for the chance to get out!
  • Find your children. It doesn’t matter what they’re doing. Use your skills to take some great shots of them in their current normal day to day activities. In the future candid shots like this will tell more of a story than the typical birthday and holiday photos. And when you look back on them in the future, you’ll be glad you did this.
  • Do you cook? (If you don’t you’ll have to stop by the store for this one.) Whip up a favorite treat for your someone you haven’t seen for a while. Maybe it’s your Mother or another family member. Or one of your friends who could use a boost. Take it to them and record the event with your camera. You’ve got the skills to create a memorable shot. You’ll feel better, they’ll feel better, and the best of all will be the memories because you used your camera.
  • Grab your camera bag and gear and give it a good cleaning and sorting through. Get the accumulated dust and grime off everything. Sort through your gear and get it reorganized so you’re ready the next time you think of grabbing the camera. (And maybe now your would use that polarizing filter because you’ll know where to find it.) I know this sounds like work, but if you would spend 15 or 20 minutes doing this now I guarantee you’d be a lot happier. And you can be proud of yourself!
  • Pick a hobby or project that a family member or friend is involved in and is proud of. Is someone growing a garden, or flowers? Is your buddy rebuilding a car, or your friend making a quilt? Use your camera to take some great shots. Process them and send by email so they will be able to share the photos with their friends and family. (And if you’ve got a few extra bucks, print an 8X10 and put it in an inexpensive frame and give them a copy of your best shot.) Do this and you might be amazed at how much better you feel.

Like a leaf floating down the river, we go on day by day repeating our same routines over and over. Bust out of that routine, if even for a few minutes, and you will be glad you did.

Then, never let yourself be a leaf again.

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