A Life Lesson – Why Pictures Are Important

How I Remember Grandma

Pictures Become Important Long Before You Can No Longer Take Them

The past few months have been emotionally trying for my family, and myself. After a rapid downward spiral, my grandmother passed away December 8. When I was notified she was to be evaluated for hospice care, I knew immediately I had to make the drive to Los Angeles to see her, and say goodbye.

My father asked me to compile all the pictures I could dig up of her. After three days of scouring through my library of images, I was surprised how few pictures I had of her. There were plenty of pictures where she was in the background, but very few where she was the primary subject. I sent my dad a total of eleven images, ones I felt were suitable for use in a collage. When I told my dad that was all I could find, he said that he had trouble locating pictures as well, thinking he took a lot more.

I felt sickened by this experience, wishing that I was more conscientious during our family gatherings, wish I paid more attention to more than just my kids, wish I had more precious images of my grandma.

I did make the trip to Los Angeles, and was able to see her a couple of times. The only words I could muster up were, “I love you grandma.” Words I can’t ever remember saying to her, words I desperately needed to say.

Below is the last picture I took of my grandma as she is holding my then newborn son. I had no idea how important this single image would become to me, personally. Life lessons are usually loaded with pain, this one is no different. I hope by sharing the bitterness of this experience, I can spare you the frustration and disappointment I felt while frantically searching for ‘pictures of grandma’.

How I Remember Grandma

How I Remember Grandma

One final thought, you can never take too many pictures of those you love, but it is all too easy to take too few.

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Never Too Early

Photographer In Training

Every time I pick up the camera to fire off a few shots of Kaleb, at some point he always reaches out to touch the lens, so I figured I’d let him get his hands dirty by handing him a camera to play with. It certainly stopped him in his tracks, and gave me a few seconds to shoot him while he sat still.
I even had time to set up my flash on a stand while he fiddled with the various buttons, knobs, and dials. While the concept of looking through the viewfinder or pointing the lens at something is still beyond his grasp, I figure it’s never too early to let him explore. I hope that he and I will be able to make images together, and with a little luck, his talents and skills will far surpass my own. At least he will be comfortable both in front of, and behind the camera.

Photographer In Training

Photographer In Training

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Day In The Park – Teaser

The Mask

Last Saturday I got to play at the park with one of my favorite models of all time, my daughter Kayleigh. While we were there tossing leaves at each other, I managed to grab a few shots to add to my collection. Here is one of my favorites of the day.

The Mask

The Mask

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Capturing A Family Tradition

The Pirate's Treasure Map
The Pirate's Treasure Map

The Pirate’s Treasure Map

The Treasure Hunt – How It Started

When our family gets together, there is one activity that has become somewhat of a tradition over the years, especially when they take place out near Twenty-nine Palms where my grandparents live. It all started because when I was just a lad, I had a propensity for digging holes in the yard. These holes were big enough for me to jump into them armed with my repeating rubber band gun where I would lie in wait for an unsuspecting victim…usually my dog. I took this strange habit with me to the desert, where I had a ‘designated digging spot.’

On one occasion, I was happily digging away, when I “found” a crudely drawn out map on a piece of paper. The edges of the map were burned, no doubt to make it look authentic…to my surprise, I recognized it to be a treasure map. I studied the map, quickly found the ‘x’ and realized I was already digging in the correct spot. Excited, I showed my dad what I found, and he calmly instructed that I should dig deeper. After what seemed like forever, I finally hit something hard. Clearing the sand away, I found a container the size of a shoebox wrapped in duct tape. With my dad’s help, we opened the box, I spilled the contents onto a table. There was about $20 in change before me, no small sum for a 7 or 8 year old.

Years later, we passed on the treasure hunt experience to my oldest daughters, then about 4 and 5 years old. We had more sophisticated maps and drawings, and treasure to match their particular tastes. They loved treasure hunting so much, we did several more throughout their younger years.

Fast Forward to Present Day

My niece, Jadyn is about 2 1/2 years old, and it was her turn last week-end to take center stage, with a map and shovel in hand. Of course, being such a young treasure hunter, she had ample help from her grandma, the ‘pirate’ that hide the treasure for this get together. She is beautiful, and too smart for her mom’s own good. This pictorial is of the latest chapter in this family tradition. It never fails to bring us together, and sharing the excitement, joy, and laughter with Jadyn was a treasure in and of itself.

 

X Marks the Spot

X Marks the Spot

Tool  of the Trade

Tool of the Trade

What's Inside Here

What’s Inside Here

Just a Little Peek

Just a Little Peek

Never-Ending Treasures

Never-Ending Treasures

Counting the Loot

Counting the Loot

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Mother’s Touch

wpid-IMG_0573-Edit-Edit.jpg

A mother’s love has no equal.

image

Mother's Touch

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Building Fond Memories

Father and Daughter At Play In the Park

The bond between a father and daughter is made stronger by building fond memories like these.

Father and Daughter At Play In the Park

Father and Daughter At Play In the Park

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Back Seat Driver

Back Seat Driver

While sitting at a stop light, I quickly pointed my camera at my daughter, and fired this shot. How I managed to get her in focus is beyond me, twas a lucky shot indeed.

Back Seat Driver

Back Seat Driver

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10 Tips For Capturing Life’s Precious Moments

Best Friends Napping

People often ask me how I capture the touching images that I do. There really is no magic bullet, or secret that I have, other than being ready and having a camera. So I thought I would provide a few insights that I have, and hopefully, these tips will help you too.

First, a word about equipment, you don’t need a fancy DSLR, or even an expensive point and shoot. Most of the time, all you need is your cell phone. When you really think about it, most people like to share their images on social networking sites like facebook, twitter, flickr, etc, and a smartphone is the perfect device. Chances are, you’re already doing this.

Here is a list of things to think about to get you on your way to taking those images you will treasure for a lifetime.

Best Friends Napping

Peaceful and quiet moments are often the easiest to capture.

10 Tips For Capturing Precious Moments

  • Keep your eyes open – The more you look around, the more things you will notice around you, and the more opportunities you will see, and eventually shoot.
  • Keep your camera with you – As I mentioned before, it doesn’t have to be fancy…to paraphrase someone much wiser than I, the best camera is the one you have with you.
  • Take lots of pictures – They say practice makes perfect, and the more pictures you take, the more familiar you will get with how your camera performs, what it’s strengths and weaknesses are, and how to compensate for them.
  • Get to know your camera’s special features – If you are using a point and shoot, or DSLR, get to know it’s feature set, at least to the point to where you can quickly make adjustments and take a shot. If you are using a smartphone, download an app or two and play with them, have fun with it…but remember, special effects should be used to enhance the ‘mood’ of a picture, and NOT be used just because.
  • Sometimes, the quiet peaceful moments can be the most powerful.
  • Anticipation is key – When you’re at a family gathering, you know there is going to be a lot of hugs and kisses, especially as people are coming and going. It is easy to spot, so if you can get a good vantage point, your camera is ready, and you see two people approaching each other with open arms, you stand a good chance of capturing a great shot.
  • If you miss a shot, don’t get frustrated, digital is cheap, try, and try again.
  • Don’t go for the perfect picture – Cameras can be temperamental, and rarely deliver exactly what you expect. Sometimes the image is blurry, too dark, too light, or any number of other things that may be faulty…the important thing is the mood. Does your image still tell a story, or make you feel something when you look at it? After all, you are capturing a mood, as well as preserving a point in time.
  • Take a shot after the ‘shot’ – Very often when people are in front of a camera, they aren’t going to show you their real smile, or their eyes may be in the middle of blinking, try taking a picture just after you’ve taken your first or second take. You may capture a more relaxed smile, or better yet, someone being goofy because they think you’ve already gotten what you want.
  • Above all else, have fun, if you’re having fun, so are your subjects, and they will be more relaxed in front of the camera.

Well, that’s it for today’s round of tips. Now get out there and preserve some precious memories of your own.

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