Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Aw, Shoot! (Guns and Cameras)

It’s weird the way I remember things. Some days, I can’t remember my sister’s grandbaby’s name, but I can remember the first picture I ever took . . . when I was about three years old.

I’ve always been amazed by things that shoot–both guns and cameras. 😛 Mom and Dad had a box camera when I was little. It looked a little bit like this–

Box_CameraFor some reason, I was amazed by it. On the Fourth of July, Dad’s family got together and went to the Sand Springs Lake. There were concrete picnic tables, and we (naturally) piled all the food and anything else we wanted to set where it couldn’t easily be kicked.

So when no one was paying attention, I scraped my knees on the rough bench and reached for the camera.

I didn’t pick it up or move it. All I did was reach over and push the little lever, and I heard a great sound.


Later, when they had the film developed, Mom showed me the picture I’d taken. It focused on a six-pack of Pepsis in a metal carton. (Anyone remember these?)

2527_1LThat’s all it took. I was hooked! I even learned how to use that box camera. You looked through that little glass square and couldn’t have any dark showing in the picture. And you had to keep your finger out of the way. (I’ve had a lot of finger close ups in my life.)

For my ninth birthday, I asked for a camera of my own and got a red plastic one from Sears. The pictures it took were small and square and for some reason, rarely clear. What I didn’t realize when I asked for that gift is that film cost $$ and developing cost $$. I didn’t have a lot of $$ and I didn’t know I could have charged it at the drug store. (Smart parents didn’t share that bit of info with me.)

😦 I didn’t take a lot of pictures.

The next year, I asked for a BB gun for my birthday. BBs were much cheaper than film and developing. And, to be very honest, I’m naturally a pretty good shot with a gun.

Cameras, I found, are a little harder.

001 I’m still learning.




When you’re on vaca, what do you like to do?

As an uber amateur photographer, I like to snap shots of the fam.

eureka-kissand friends


(Okay, I didn’t meet her, but I have a feeling we would have been friends if we’d had a chance. 🙂 )

I like to take pictures of old barns

cool-old-barnnot so old barns

barn,-barnand things in between.



And old homes.

eureka-buildingCool old place, isn’t it?

It’s even cooler like this–

eureka-building-2I like cabins,

eureka-cabinand teepees,

eureka-teepeewith their very own bear standing out front. (How cool is that?)

eureka-homeThis house is one of my very favorites. Know why?

Because, I’m practically positive, it has a story to tell. 😉

Besides fam, what’s your favorite picture topic?


Camera Catastrophe–Almost

After several days of tearing out my hair and banging my head on my desk as I tried to wrangle the sisters’ and my own schedules so we could fly to our aunt’s funeral, Dad (who probably got tired of the wailing coming from my office) encouraged us to drive.

But for some reason, he didn’t want us to drive alone. He might have been afraid we’d start shopping somewhere along the way and never get there. Or he might have been worried we’d find a cool old house and set up residence or even just keep on driving and never come home. I’m not sure why he thought we needed a man with us.

Naturally, I volunteered G-Man to be the guy at the wheel. We drove to Hays the first night, then on into Grand Junction the next.

I’ve learned a couple of things about the Spess Girls (at least the first three) on this trip.

  1. We’re fairly easy to travel with as long as you don’t let us get too hungry. (And with the travel snacks we packed, there was no danger in that.)
  2. We all inherited the gotta-take-a-picture-of-this gene.

When we got to the mountains, we all yanked out our cameras and started shooting out of the car windows. Here’s the picture I got.

I must have had an odd look on my face, because Sister Cindy pointed at my camera. “Oh, no. Look!”

Here’s what she saw.

At first, I was sick at my stomach. A trip to Colorado, and a broken lens was putting my camera out of commission. But I looked a little closer and saw it wasn’t the lens that was broken, but a protective thingy (I’m sure it has a name, but I don’t remember what it was) that was on my lens. I unscrewed it and was able to use my camera.

That’s when I remembered the strap of my camera bag slipping through my fingers. The bag is kind of a shield shape, with the lens end of the camera pointing down. When it hit the floor, that protective thingy must have shattered.

Time for a new bag!

This is everyday scenry for some Colorado folks. Imagine living where you had wonder-mountains like these, protecting you all the time. I could handle that!

As we drove, we were rained on several times! At first we were curious as to what that wet stuff, falling from the sky could be. Then G-Man, with his super memory, remembered. “I think it’s called rain.”

We immediately pulled the car over, got out and all four of us danced for joy in the downpour. Okay, not really. But in our hearts, we were dancing! 😉

Something else I learned on this trip–If you’re going to take pictures through the windows of your car, you should CLEAN said windows before shooting. This would have been a fantastic picture if it weren’t for the raindrop spots showing up.

And one last thing I learned–this one about me. I like to take pictures in tunnels. No, I don’t know why. It’s probably some dark, psychological thing and I don’t really want to know.

I like taking pictures of the light at the end of the tunnel best of all. Maybe because reminds me of the Happily Ever After in a good book.