The word of 2020, as we all know, besides “chaotic”, is “virus”. We are reading about it, hearing about it, and face it each morning as we head out to school or work. Most of us are donning masks on our face to try to keep us from giving anything to anyone else and, on a smaller scale, reduce our own risk of catching a virus the medical community doesn’t know much about.
It isn’t lost on most of us that COVID-19, or whatever the medical community is calling it today (some say SARS-CoV-2), isn’t the only bug out there that can infect us. COVID-19 is one of the more unpredictable at this time, but influenza, the common cold, and respiratory infections can strike us when we least expect it, especially during the autumn and winter months, even when we try our best to keep ourselves safe and sanitized. We can’t ever guarantee we won’t catch a bug or virus, but we can help build up our immunity to help our bodies fight off or repel the viral onslaughts that come our way.
There are nutritional and physical ways we can improve our immunity, but we can also improve it by focusing on our mental health. Harvard Medical College tells us there is no guarantee that we can actually “improve” our immunity at a cellular level, but there are steps we can take to strengthen and support our immune system.
Here are six simple ways to help support your immunity anytime, but especially over the colder months.
Sometimes my dad writes little stories about growing up. That’s when I realize I must have got the storytelling bug from him.
This is something he shared this week on Facebook.
Story, photos and captions by Ronnie Robinson.
”Windy, Your Ears Are Freezing”
It was a calm but frosty minus zero morning; one of those mornings you could see particles of frost glisten in the air as the sun arose. Windy and I met each other at the Laddsburg Pond Bridge. It is the coldest spot in Laddsburg. It was one of those days that was just too cold for Willis Howell’s school bus to start.
Windy, full name Harold Wandell, was a foster child who homed with the loving Effie and Stalwart Carl Norris. He had walked the mile down from the top of the hill. Not much communication in those days and I don’t know if they had a phone but neighbors just met-up. We were there to wait for the bus that did not come.
Windy was one of the older boys that would help put the chains on the bus when it would get stuck in a snow drift. That would be a 20 min delay. But a frozen up bus or bad storm could be a 2 hour delay or a no show at all. Some times we would pile up in Willis’s station-wagon for the first part of the route, then go to his place and see if the bus would start so as to pick up the remaining students for the trip to the high school. Windy never wore a hat to school. The top of his ears were starting to turn white and I said “Windy I think your ears are freezing”. Then we made our way to New Albany.
I don’t recall walking or running or how but I remember us being there and then getting a ride to Wyalusing in a milk truck that was picking up milk from the platform at the bottom of Dempsey Hill. You see, we were not that loyal to school but there was to be a WVHS Rams wrestling meet that day and we were on that team.
Another event I remember well was: “The After School Blizzard.” Mary,Mary Inez Corson and I got of the school bus one blistery evening to walk the two mile (well not quite, it was a quarter mile) up the dirt road to my place. My parents lived there too. The wind was fierce and cutting. It was difficult to see. It was blowing frozen sheets and chunks of icy frozen snow from the fields.The previous snows had melted from the sun shine and then refroze. They were now breaking up and air-born in the strong wind. I think the drifts were making it more difficult also, but the blowing ice and the snow is what I remember most. We had to shield our face from getting hit by them. I was about thirteen then and I felt so manly proud because finally I was able to be ahead of my adventurous mentor and surrogate sister. I walked backward some and I could see her still walking.
Thinking back on this now with a touch of shame I realize it would have been more manly-mature of me to help her.
She may have been wearing a skirt. Girls in that day wore skirts. Sometimes they carried snow pants with them. Also being a good student she may have been carrying books. I don’t remember anything after getting to my home. Mary had to walk the five hundred more yards to her home.
Mary, my forever friend, died suddenly at the age of 56. She donated her body to science. She lived in Texas with her husband. My wife Carolyn and I spoke with her when she and her husband were in Bradford County for her father’s funeral.
The portion of that conversation I recall was about being born again. I hope to see my sister again in the “Land Of No More Storms.”
Thank you to Elizabeth Willson of It’s Still Life Photography for this great post about visual storytelling and authenticity in your photography! I loved it and hope you do too!
It was a process. As my children grew I dedicated my free time to learning the technical aspects of my camera. To obtaining gear. To capturing images for others. Yet over the past year, I’ve found joy in embracing the story. Each time my camera is raised is an opportunity. It’s a chance to capture a bit of the true life unfolding in front of my eyes, my lens. Not every story is perfect, yet my challenge is to find the emotion and beauty in it. To connect the brilliance and light to the heart.
While each image may tell a story, sometimes a collection of photographs gives the viewer an enhanced scope of the richness of the moments. Here are a few simple suggestions on how to document YOUR story for you to experience in your memory and others to grasp through your visuals.
Choose an event.
In our home of South-Central Pennsylvania, we are surrounded by gorgeous orchards, fields and farms. Our climate leaves only a few short weeks to pick seasonal fresh fruit. When I received an email that our favorite apple-picking orchard offered cherry-picking, I jumped on a free afternoon. Packed up water bottles and my four kiddos, rolled the windows down, and headed for the mountain. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. An afternoon at the playground, baking cookies, your bedtime routine…
To grasp the “big picture” use a wide angle lens. My go-to is the Canon 24-70 2.8L. If you find yourself with the inability to go wider with a lens, then simply back up!
Capture the details.
Cherry-stained finger nails? Yes! Yes! Yes! The little things all combine to create the larger narrative and add the sensory element (smells, tastes, touch) that enrich the story as it unfolds.
Vary your perspective.
Shoot from above, shoot from below. Lie down, climb trees. Perspective makes a huge impact in giving the viewer a more holistic look at the story.
By using framing of objects in the foreground you can create a “tunnel” effect, like you are peeking through a keyhole or looking glass into the action. There is a mysterious and secretive nature to shooting through objects.
Switch up your lenses.
Yes, it’s ok to change lenses in the middle of a cherry orchard! Personally, in order to add a bit of wonder to my images I shoot with either of my Lensbabys (Velvet 56 or Sweet 35), but you could grab a macro lens, switch out primes or even free lens to get varied effects that contribute to your story.
Capture the connection.
Relationships are tough, right? But they are so very rich and deep. I simply adore the connection of my children particularly during the rare moments when they peacefully work together (and enjoy one another).
Get. In. The. Frame.
I know, I know. But bottom line is, YOU. WERE. THERE. TOO. And although you remember it was you behind the lens, your children and loved ones (and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren) want that visual reminder that you shared intimately in their story. So, sit your camera down on the ground (gasp!), set the timer and run 🙂 Or if there happens to be someone else around, pass off your camera to someone you trust. Let go of how you may look and embrace your beautiful role in the story.
Include photographs of “things”
While every story has a “main character”, the setting and supporting elements certainly contribute (sometimes pivotally) to the plot. Grab those “things” even when the people aren’t present.
Contrary to what you may see on Pinterest-perfect social media, I’m sure you’ve experienced that stories have their ups and downs. There’s whining, there’s frustration, there’s disagreements, there are hot, tired children (and let’s be real, parents too!). Go ahead and capture them. We’ve all been there. And it’s incredible to share the joys and triumphs through it all.
May you be encouraged to embrace your role as “storyteller” and capture your daily adventures.
I’d love to hear from you with any questions and/or see your favorite storytelling images based on this post. Contact me at: