The Green Girl entered her first photography contest this weekend, the Say, 'Cheese,' Long Beach! competition.
The contest was sponsored by Justin Rudd's Community Action Team (CAT) organization.
The challenge was open to both amateur and professional photographers. The goal of the contest was to visually record aspects of the Long Beach community life in a 24-hour period.
I've never considered myself to be a photographer and instead have always referred to myself as a picture taker. To me, photographs are less of an art form and more of a documentary of my life.
My very first 'camera' was a Fisher-Price 110 Pocket Camera that allowed me to pretend to take pictures. With each click, the fake flash spun around and a new stock image appeared in the viewfinder.
My parents eventually got me a real camera. It was a giant leap technologically from my static 'A Day At The Zoo' pictures.
I was fascinated by the rolls of 110 film because they looked nothing like my dad's 33 mm cartridges.
I loved when my dad would take me to get my pictures developed. It amazed me that my pictures even turned out smaller than my dad's pictures - I was certain that the dimensions of a picture were directly proportionate to the size of the film.
In the course of the 24-hours, I learned a few things about myself. I discovered I am definitely not a photographer. If you were to apply a label to me, photojournalist would be much more accurate.
I never manipulate my pictures. When I see something I deem worthy of documentation or visually interesting, I will snap a shot. I rarely delete pictures and I never edit or crop.
I learned I prefer to take pictures of inanimate objects. I don't mind taking pictures of family and friends but taking pictures of strangers feels overly intrusive.
I struggled a lot with this challenge on Saturday because I was trying to force myself to capture possibly award worthy images.
I decided to take another approach on Sunday. Instead of trying to find places to take pictures, I just did what I'd normally do and snapped shots - like I normally do - along the way.
I submitted my dozen entries last night. The best photographs will be showcased this Friday in Bixby Knolls at First Fridays and $100 cash prizes will be awarded to the winners.