Family, History and Love

Wanda and I have been discussing, of late, the need to set down in writing some portion of our family history so that in the future our children and grandchildren will have the stories and tales of our lives direct from the source. The technophile that I am, I choose to do this online so that the what we write will be accessible and available for comment to our wider family (though I reserve the right to moderate those comments).

To that end, I have repurposed this blog. In coming posts, we will endeavor to provide an abridged story of our life (hey, everyone has their secrets). We're writing this for our children and their children and those that come later so elements of these tales will be familiar only to our family,

Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye to 2007, Hello 2008

On the last day of 2007, I'm up very early with a cold, a roll of toilet tissue, and a cup of mint tea. I'm sure I'll get the sniffles under control before the end of the day, but right now, I'm fairly miserable. So, it's probably not the best time to write my Year in Review entry, but I'm going to do it anyway. I've done this before in some other journals, as well as this one, and it's always been fun to write. Unlike other journals, though, my review is done with pictures.

January, like always, was a slow month for photography. Oregon in the winter is a dim, wet and gray place, and it's hard to get the creative juices flowing when the environment is so uninviting. So, I had to make do by shooting inside and/or building neat structures for my granddaughter to knock down. Having a baby around certainly made the year far more pleasant that it would have otherwise been.

This was the year she learned to crawl, learned to walk, expanded her vocabulary, and learned to say "Papa," much to the annoyance of her grandmother who has been trying to get her to say "Grandmama" since the day she was born. She's only called for her grandmother one or twice, but she uses "Papa" with great regularity, much to my delight. In fact, most of the bright points of the year were due to this little lady.

But, there wasn't much photography in the long, dreary month of January. But, occasionally, nature throws us a surprise and we get a nice day for some outdoor photography, and in January this came midway through the month with a nice, heavy snowfall that kept most of us at home and indoors, but I took advantage of the clear weather after the snow to get a few outdoor glamour photos in my portfolio:

February sported clearer skies, and after such a dreary January, I just had to get out for a walk in the sun. I live near a community college, so a walk on their campus was just the thing. There are lots of interesting structures and sculptures there, including this lovely fountain in the middle of a koi pond.

The koi were having none of the cold weather though, and they kept well hidden in the reeds and beneath the ice. Who could blame them?

In March I had a business trip to Arizona, so I took advantage of the dry weather there to spend the weekend hiking and visiting the Arizona Renaissance Festival. In March, Arizona's weather is quite nice, and it was delightful to take a short hike near one of the many mountains that rise around the city. It was great to be out in the sunshine with my camera.

That weekend, I met up with a friend and her father, and we headed out to the Ren Faire where we met a Pickle Vendor:
And lots of pretty faire wenches:

And even a mystical creature or two:

And as the year moved on, the grandbaby became quite the camera ham:

March went out like a lion, and April was very much a lamb. The weather turned and the days became warm enough to start some projects:

And to play with the baby in the grass:

May saw the project completed (at the expense of my poor back):

And the warm weather even had the rest of the family bringing out their cameras:

June brought a first birthday and party:

And the grill got lots of use:

In July, we went to Georgia for a visit with the extended family and to spend some time with my very sick mother. Although we spent most of our time at the hospital with her, we did manage to go to a local parade:

Take some silly pictures:

And I even found some time to shoot some glamour:

And, of course, there was the annual Oregon Country Fair:

August was a busy, fun, and sad month. We had a wonderful Luau party the first weekend of the month:

Enjoyed the Hillsboro Airshow with the Navy Blue Angels the next weekend:

Visited San Francisco, Napa Valley, and Jeremy and Kristin the following weekend:

Unfortunately, after a very long illness, my mother passed away later that week, and we had to fly back to Georgia to attend her funeral and settle her estate:

September meant a wedding:

Complete with flower girl:

A great birthday party for a friend:

And of course, the Portland Pirate Festival:

September also had me working with a lovely new model:

October brought a trip to the pumpkin patch:

Fall foliage:

Falling leaves:

And a little fairy's first Trick or Treating:

November, of course, means Thanksgiving, and Jeremy and Kristin managed to make it home for the festivities:

That brings us to December, and to the last few days of the year. The tree was decorated:

And presents were opened:

But the best news this year, came on Christmas Eve, when our son told us we were to be grandparents again in 2008. So, despite the sniffles, we end the year on a positive note with high hopes for 2008 and best wishes for our family, friends and acquaintances.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Self Portrait

Just a bit of creativity in taking a self-portrait.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday Lights

The holiday season is upon us and lights are up everywhere except, it seems, at my house. I usually put lights up outside, and in past years I put up quite a lot. This year, though, I just haven't done so. The weekend I was planning to put them up, there was a major rain and windstorm here, and it was simply too dangerous to get on a ladder to hang lights, not too mention that it would have been terribly uncomfortable.
This past weekend there just seemed to be too much going on to get around to it. And frankly, I don' t think I'll be putting up any lights this weekend either. So this will be the year without outside lights. It's okay, though, as I can enjoy my neighbor's lights just fine. I have promised myself, though, that I'll take my camera and a couple of lenses and get out to photograph some lights this year. As long as it's not raining or too cold. :)

Monday, December 03, 2007


I enjoy writing. I'm not sure whether that's because I enjoy the process of communicating my thoughts and ideas, or whether it's simply that I enjoy the process of crafting the words, sentences and paragraphs together into coherent wholes that convey those thoughts and ideas. I also enjoy photography, and therefore when I write, I generally write about my photographs, about my cameras, lenses and other equipment or about the people, places and things that I have photographed in the past or want to photograph in the future.

Lately, I've been writing a series of articles for my personal webite. A list of those articles can be found here: Writings and Articles. I'm concentrating on lens reviews right now, and it has been great fun to go back through my extensive archive of photos to find images that best exemplify the characteristics of a particular lens. The image to the right, for example, is used in an article about the Canon 28-70 f/2.8 EF L lens, which has been my workhorse lens for over 5 years. I have an entire list of additional articles on equipment that I'm slowly, but surely completing, and I'm always looking for new ideas for articles.

This image is taken from my review of the Canon 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 EF L IS lens. The image shows just how sharp this long zoom can be even when it is wide open (maximum aperture) and at its longest focal length. The image also shows that the lens has good bokeh (the quality of the background blur) and color saturation.

The image itself was taken at a mid-summer celebration party in 2006. Although the party had a pagan theme, there were guests from all religious stripes in attendance, and the event included costumes, body painting, fire dancing and excellent food and drink (very important for any party). It was really a fun photographic experience, and I enjoyed shooting the event for the group and sharing the images afterwards, and I had no idea at the time that I would be writing an article about both of the lenses I was using at the event.

So, I look forward to writing the articles, and I hope that those that stumble across my personal website find them useful and informative. During the holiday break, I expect that I will be able to finish at least two or three more of the equipment articles and at begin writing a new article about photographic lighting tips and techniques.