Yes! That One!

This year, I've been showing images from the 2012 calendar I make for my family for Christmas. A link to previous months (that also includes a link to the text I illustrated) is here.

When I put together a calendar, I start by making a folder in Picasa with candidate images. I try to mix winter and summer shots; I try to find pictures that are different from those available in commercial calendars. And of course, because my audience is my family, who experienced this place in the summer and have warm feelings for particular scenes and views, I include a fair number of those.

Sometimes I have text first; sometimes I find it later. I have a couple of candidates for 2013 already, but I'm always on the lookout.

After I have the file of images and the text, I set aside uninterrupted time to read the text while looking through the assembled photos -- usually at least double the number that I can possibly use -- to see what speaks.

When I got to July, I knew immediately the image I would use. The text: "...and we say, I am who I am because I have been there."

The image:

Knew. Immediately. I don't know what it is about this heron, but I saw it and thought, "Yes! That one!"

And because I'm the kind of person who can't let an experience just HAPPEN, without any PONDERING (after all, I am who I am because I have been here), I've wondered if there's a way to use that sense of recognition in writing. For example: if I look at pictures "as" a character, what could I learn about the character? Or the plot, for that matter?

Images: an under-utilized tool.