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Capturing Moments: A Simple Day of Photography and Rain at Lake Jennings Campground

Lake Jennings Campground
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It’s three weeks into the New Year.

I didn’t make any New Year resolution, I resolve to do things almost every day of the year. It seldom lasts more than a day or two, and then I go back to being me.

We are in our long-term campsite, having moved here on January 9th. Although it’s a fairly busy campground, our campsite is secluded. I have a view of a pond out my “sitting room” window and a short walk through the playground gives me a view of Lake Jennings, a water reservoir for the Helix Water district.


It seems to me the campground is not as busy as it has been in the past. Perhaps it is our location on the outer edge of the campground, but I don’t think there are as many campers as past years. The only other time I’ve seen it so quiet was during the pandemic. Lake Jennings was one of the few campgrounds that honored long-term reservations. I think that winter there were literally a handful of us staying here.

At any rate, it seems quiet this year. Our daughter says it’s because it’s so cold. I’m not sure I agree, but then again, I’m sitting in the trailer with the door open. Cold is a matter of perspective, I suppose.

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It starts with noticing things that are little “off” about your loved-one. They often seem to be forgetting words, are not always able to follow conversations, or are unsure about how to do household tasks that were once second nature. No one wants to admit that something is wrong with Mom or Dad, but sooner or later there is no denying they are not the person they once were. Labels like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia get bantered about and it’s easy to deny the reality of it all. This is my story of my mother’s struggle with dementia, but it was not simply her struggle, it was my struggle as well. This memoir talks about the heartbreak, the good memories, the laughter and the tears all lumped together in the telling of Mom’s story.

The boys stayed overnight with us last night. It rained the entire time they were here… and their electronics were left at home. What to do? What to do?

Well, we played Uno, watched cartoons, played more Uno and then I pulled out Grandpa Bud’s camera. It’s an older digital camera and similar to one I used during my newspaper days. Took me a few minutes to refresh myself on the use of the camera and then I taught the boys how to care for the camera, how to change lenses, how to download photos, how to hold the camera steady, the basic settings for taking photos.

My true photography/darkroom training came from photo journalism classes at Central Michigan University — a long, long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away. I’m more familiar with F-stops than ISOs and white balance (ok, I have no clue what the latter two are), but most of it translates. I had to learn on the fly when newspapers switched from film to digital, so I guess I am an okay teacher for the basics.

rainy day

I pulled out my own (simpler version) digital camera and showed the boys the differences between the two cameras, hung a camera around each child’s neck and turned them loose in the campground between bouts of rain. We may have at least one Ansel Adams in the making.

Their Mom came for them around noon and they each went home with a fancy camera. Photoshop is next.

It’s the simple things that make life fun.

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