Daily Inspiration #239 by Joan Teno

A Picture a Day:  Six years of  sunrises and too many dogs pictures

Joan M Teno


While flat on my back post thoracic spine injury in 2004 and bored to tears, surfing the web,  I found a wonderful group of persons who took a picture a day.  Two months later on January 1, 2005, I started caring a camera everywhere I went with the goal of taking a picture taken on that day.  Now 6 years later, I still try to take a picture of day. Sure there are days when I spent all my waking hours in meetings and then, get on a plane arriving home at midnight that I come up empty.  But most days, I manage to find some beauty in an ordinary mundane every day existence of my life.  Now six years later – a few pearls from my journey.

1. The best camera is one that is with you

MY Leica x1 leaves my small backpack only to take pictures. There is never a day that I don’t have the X1 mixed in with my pager, stethoscopes, and all the junk that I carry around.  Some of my most favorite pictures exist because the camera was with me.  This sunrise shot only possible because the X1 was in my backpack.

2.  Don’t be afraid to challenge your comfort zone

Few of my pictures are of persons.  It just not my nature to ask a friend, family, or a patient to let me take their picture.  One of the times that I did – I am so glad that I photograph a picture of one of my favorite patients.  My dog, Java visited Norman when I saw nursing home residents on weekends.  Norman always had a well-stocked drawer of doggie treats.  One of my last visits when I knew Norman was dying– I asked to take a picture. A shot I cherished and gave to his daughter. His daughter granted me permission to use the picture in talks about the importance of the nursing homes in the care of the dying.

3.  After 10-hour work day, a cute black lab saves your PAD project

It is not easy.  Work often demands long hours.  Freezing rain.  Wind chills below zero often has me wondering what to take a picture.  On those tough days, I yell “treat” and  a cute black lab (and he knows he is cute) will pose for doggie treats.  Yes, I am using either an M9 or X1 that I probably don’t deserve to take picture of the my black lab named, Moki.  All I have to say —

Life is short.  Don’t forget to try to find some beauty in each day.

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  1. Beautiful photographs Joan. I was especially touched by your photo of Norman and Java. I am in the medical field in home care as well and am curious about any legal or ethical issues about photographing your patients. (if you care to discuss that aspect)

    Again, wonderful work and advise.


    • Thanks for your comments. Joe, I only have taken pictures of patients 2 times in 20+ years – but this was done with his and DPOA’s permission. He was one of those patients that will stay with me for my life – a very special person. Best, Joan

  2. Joan, you are an angel.

    “Life is short. Don’t forget to try to find some beauty in each day.”

    Well Said!

  3. Wonderful Joan, and truly “inspirational”…

    The last picture nearly brought me to tears… I love dogs and feel they have a wonderful sense of purpose, wish I had the same sense…

    Photography allows you to capture “one-off” details of life and capture moments which can be truly special, your last picture does this for me, Normans look and your labs serenity is one such moment…

  4. I found your photograph of your dying patient, Norman, being visited by your Labrador very moving – it shows the power of the still photograph. The Labrador is a wonderful dog, and you hear so many cases of dogs visiting patients in hospitals and their therapeutic value to the person suffering from an illness.
    Yes, keep a camera with you at all times as the best camera is the one you have with you.
    Like the photo of the sunrise, and Moki looks very handsome – and he knows it.

  5. Wonderful and inspirational.
    I’ve only recently (within the past twelve months) got more “seriously” interested in photography – I’m not a DSLR owner, just a decent compact and a decent bridge camera, considering using a friend’s EPL1 more and more – but I’ve been trying to take a photo a day for a while now. I’m currently on about 350 photos (not all taken on consecutive days, much to my disappointment!) and reading the thoughts of someone who has been doing something similar helps me carry on.
    Thank you.

  6. Beautiful work. Excellent and rewarding philosophy carrying your camera everywhere, and what a great little camera to take 🙂

  7. Thanks so much for your kind words. It has been one of those days where I got on plane at 6 and home by 8. Deeply appreciate your comments. Joan

  8. El amor por los perros es siempre infinito, mis tres perros ya fallecidos siempre y todos los días están en mi corazón y todos con buenos recuerdos, sus fotos siempre llenan mis ojos de lagrimas.

  9. How wonderful are the pictures ! That is about how we can catch the moment that makes us thought about what life is all about . Just love it . Thank you for sharing with us.

  10. Stephen, well said. 🙂 Here’s another saying, to communicate is to listen not to talk. Too many people communicates by doing the later.

  11. Lovely images, especially “Norman.” The images of your sister and her younger daughter are lovely, also.

    I agree with Stephen B.

  12. Really like this, your humility is refreshing. The part about your lab really touched me. I too had a lab, many, many years ago when I was a child. That dog could tell if I was ill just by sensing, perhaps it is the unique bond between dogs and their owners, I don’t know. When we are young and the world is quieter we connect better. Perhaps as we approach the end, the noise subsides and we can hear again.

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