BellaOnline Literary Review
Grand Opening by Carol Dandrade

Table of Contents


Carol Dandrade

Lisa Shea

My educational background was in business which was a misfit personally, spiritually and creatively. I later moved into social services where I felt I could make a difference in childrenís lives. When we became empty-nesters, my husband and I filled the nest again by becoming foster parents, fostering 7 children and adopting a spunky little girl. This led to 15 years of the most difficult but meaningful work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) where I was able to directly advocate in court for children who were caught in the foster care system. There was little time to explore a creative outlet.

My early leap into photography began over 40 years ago with my first SLR. Only months into the experimentation, my camera equipment was stolen in a home break-in. Life was so busy at the time that I disappointedly went back to a point and shoot. Once retired, I invested in an entry level Nikon system and embarked on climbing the learning curve alone. I was ever so grateful that digital photography had all but replaced shooting with film. The immediate feedback has been critical in learning the intricacies of my camera and photography. In the five years since, I moved to a Nikon D600 which became monumentally heavy and then to the mirrorless and lightweight Olympus OM-D E-M1 I use today.

I suppose Iím officially a senior citizen now but have found that itís never too late to explore creativity. My first week with my first Nikon (admittedly on automatic) was an explosion of joy at capturing seaside images. I quickly moved to aperture-priority where I remain most of the time because it allows me to easily create a mood through manipulation of the depth of field. I havenít settled on a particular niche. Rather, I seek out variety. I am always drawn to the ocean for seascapes but equally enjoy pursuing my interest in photographing the industrial history of the Blackstone River Valley. Fog intrigues me, street scenes excite me, and wildlife makes me smile. I can be sick or tired or ďsick and tiredĒ but can instantly become fully absorbed in photographing an interesting subject. Studying the light on and composition of a subject becomes meditative for me.

Oddly, my main influences are not world renowned photographers. My two nephews and sister-in-law are professional photographers who inspire me with their work. The beautiful images of the members of the Stony Brook Camera Club provide weekly encouragement and education.

My work has been displayed and awarded in local art shows and galleries. My photos have been published in the New England Wildflower magazine, two Blackstone River Valley Corridor calendars, the Mused Review Literary Magazine, on Boston television and in local newspapers. I am a member of the Stony Brook Camera Club and the Blackstone Valley Art Association. You can visit my website at

I encourage anyone of any age to simply step out and shoot. Beyond purchasing a camera, you can experiment to your heartís content at no cost and receive immediate feedback. Learn one new thing per day about your camera or photography and go right out and practice what youíve learned. Your enthusiasm, skill and results will grow exponentially.

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