week 4 lazy, hazy #instacamp photos, and some final thoughts

Transient

We've come to the end of #instacamp, my friends, and as expected, you closed it with a bang.  As with every week, I've loved watching your images as they appear online, knowing that we're all focused on finding the same kinds of beauty in our every days.  And here are some of my favourite lazy, hazy summer images (don't forget to click on the images to learn more about each photographer):

"Beach read on a rainy Tybee day" by Jen

"Beach read on a rainy Tybee day" by Jen

"Lazy, hazy (dog) days of summer" by Courtney Carver

"Lazy, hazy (dog) days of summer" by Courtney Carver

"Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home" by Tami

"Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home" by Tami

"Keeping time" by Robin Dance

"Keeping time" by Robin Dance

"Sunset seals each memory" by Amanda Magee

"Sunset seals each memory" by Amanda Magee

Lovely, right?  I've so enjoyed hosting #instacamp this year, and am so grateful that you all played along with me.  Before we close the door on our little virtual summer camp, though, a few thoughts:

When I first came up with the idea for #instacamp, while I was drawn to idea of creating a virtual community, the truth is that I had an ulterior motive:  I believed that the act of an entire group of people all around the world posting images of the good in their daily lives would be an antidote to the negative that can sometimes overtake the internet if we let it.  And the reason that I wanted people to use camera phones, rather than regular phones is this:  we all generally and innately tend to capture happy moments, or things that make us laugh, with our camera phones anyway.  I mean, think about it:  99% of the time, we use our phones as a convenient way to remember something lovely:  being out with friends, or capturing something cute our kids or pets are doing, or even signs that make us laugh.  We use our camera phones to take photographs of good things without even thinking.  Imagine if we put a little positive intent behind it?  A little gratitude behind it?

And so, even though I'm not going to be sharing weekly prompts on Chookooloonks for #instacamp anymore, I really hope that you won't stop giving yourselves prompts.  Consider using your camera phones as a way to practice gratitude.  Hell, do something revolutionary:  print out the images and keep them in a journal.  I hope this month has shown you that your camera phone can be an amazing tool for seeing the happy and the beautiful in your life.  And I hope you never stop using it.

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts, though:  if you participated in #instacamp, how did you find the experience?  Did anything about shooting to the prompts surprise you?  Did you gain more or less respect for the phone on your camera?  And if you didn't participate, what were your thoughts about seeing the images at the end of every week?  Did you find yourself thinking about the prompts anyway, even if you didn't shoot the images, or share them online?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  And as with every week on #instacamp, I'll do another giveaway:  this week, I'll give away not just a signed copy of The Beauty of Different, but also copies of all the other books I gave away this month:  Susannah Conway's This I Know, Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened, and Roger Thurow's The Last Hunger Season.  You'll officially be totally set for summer reading!  I'll pick one commenter at random to win, and will announce on Sunday, after we return to Houston from our holiday.  So leave a comment!

With that, go be happy, friends.  Also, before I go, I'll leave you with some words that someone shared on twitter earlier this week -- be forewarned, they're pretty cheesy, but weirdly on point:

Life is like a camera:  just focus on what's important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don't work out, just take another shot.

See you next week  -- from Houston!

UPDATE: The winner of the books is Jihane, who said, "aww Summer... I must say this pictures capture its essence in a magnificent way! Even if the colours of summer change from country to country and place to place. . . Coming from UK I must say, sticky hot and ice cream filled Houstonian summer days aren't bad at all, even if I miss my wet, cooler English summer (sometimes).. brilliant pictures!" -- Congrats, Jihane!  Please email me at karen@chookooloonks.com, and we'll get you sorted with the stack of books!

Thanks again, everyone - this was so much fun. :)

SongSummer breeze, as performed by Jason Mraz