I've had a camera since sometime in my teens. I've taken photos as often as I thought about it and I am happy I did.
When I went to journalism school I learned how to operate a 35mm SLR and my pictures improved. I took my camera everywhere, as we were told to do, for many years.
I'm glad of it as I have pictures of places and friends and things. I can look back on them as see how much the person place or thing has changed over the years whether it's apparent to the naked eye or not.
Today I have digital cameras and while I don't take them everywhere, I do see that they get out and about fairly often.
I like them, although nothing can take the place of a hard-copy print and the negative from whence it came. They're great to find again and hold in one's hands. I find it easier to go back to the moment when I hold a print rather than when I see it on my computer screen.
Yes, of course I can make prints from digital pics, but I don't. It seems a waste for some reason, mostly because it is easier to play with them on the screen and make several copies at no cost.
All that's great, and I am grateful for it. But it is not today's point.
Photos are a great way to keep track of the passage of time, and growth and change, but more than anything, they are anchors for us. They are reference points from which we can hang a memory, an occasion, a life.
Below are two photos taken nearly a quarter-century apart of a place in the Sandhills near Fort Assiniboine. It is known locally as Horseshoe Bend for the way the Athabasca River bends in the valley. If you wanted to find it today you'd ask for Athabasca Lookout.
This photo from October 1985 was taken from about the same spot on the hill. The bend in the river is obvious. The hill is still mostly sand.
In the upper right hand corner I can see where Clearwater Creek, which ran by our farm, joins the Athabasca River. I am grateful I took these photos then and now for the record of time, and for the memories they bring me.