Now that we see normal making it’s way back to us, it’s time to learn to focus our attention on things other than pandemics and vaccines. This is going to have to be a deliberate and decisive choice as the distractions have been solidly put in place via the social media we’ve spent the past two+ years gluing our eyes to.

Nearly eight years ago I decided it was time to quit smoking but was sure I’d fail if I didn’t replace it with something truly earth shattering. My dad had recently given me his old bicycle so I thought I’d take up bicycling. Being a person who needs an objective, and having recently discovered an affinity toward old barns, I decided to combine said allure with bicycling and another hobby – photography.

After a few months I learned many things: Streets are dangerous (especially logging roads!), it’s nearly impossible to focus a heavy camera while trying to catch your breath, and a heavy backpack pushes your body down onto the bike seat. Those country roads are brutal. The incident in question was on a beautiful blue sky day. I was coming downhill at a good clip passed a pasture of cattle, a deep ditch running along the side of road and virtually no shoulder when a log truck sped by so close as to give me splinters. On top of that, I was lost. Not the end of the world, but definitely enough to make me rethink my game plan. I did manage to quit smoking, but one really frightful scare got me off the bike for good and I finished out the year driving to photograph the local barns.

This one in particular was the most difficult to capture:

I spotted it coming around the corner on a busy highway. In just a second, one wee blink, it was gone, lost in brush and trees, on a hill beneath criss-crossed telephone and electricity wires. It took me many attempts to get this one in focus with my long lens looking through, around, below, and above so many obstacles. As usual, without a tri-pod ( I could never figure out how to get one on a bike), it was all about stabilizing: Take a few deep breaths, set my feet, focus the image, let out my breath, and shoot.

I think a lot of us are right here at this point in time, but I believe we will get where we need to be with a little diligence. As long as we’re able to take a few breaths, set our feet, focus, release, and shoot, we’ll be just fine.

To see some of the barns and structures I photographed during my cessation period click here.

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