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,

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Life Goes On

I got to finally meet my new granddaughter this past weekend. Jocelyn is a little cutie as you can see. She's quite small too, at only a little over 5 pounds in this image. My son and daughter-in-law live in California and weren't scheduled to visit until the end of September, but we couldn't take that, so I bought them tickets to come up for a visit as soon as the baby was okay to travel. It was money well spent.

Now that Makayla is two years old, I realize that I had forgotten how small newborns actually are. You can see how well Jocelyn fits into the crook of her Papa's arm. I had a lot of fun shooting with her and I consider her my latest female model.

Unfortunately, she left yesterday and it will be the end of September before I see her again. It will be interesting to see how much she grows in that short interval of time. Fortunately, we have a web cam set up on the PS3 so we can "see" her occasionally between visits.

We won't get too lonely for little babies, though. We have a grandson due in the next couple of weeks - and it could be any day now. His mom and dad still haven't named him though, so I'm calling him Rumplestiltskin (Rumpie for short) until they do in an effort to get them to make up their minds. It's not working, and I think the nickname, Rumpie, is going to stick.

Makayla did quite well with her little cousin, though she did want her own attention as well. I think she'll be fine with her new little brother as well when he finally arrives, though it's quite possible there will be some jealousy at first.

My son is quite the doting father and both he and his wife are going through that giddiness of being first time parents. It certainly screws a bit with their perspective, but that's true of all new parents.

I do now realize how hard it must have been for the grandparents of my children. When our children were born, we lived more than 1200 miles away from them and during most of their lives, we never lived any closer than 500 miles away (Charleston, SC to Atlanta, GA). We tried to visit often, but it's not the same thing as having your grandchildren close by so you can see them often.

Of course, technology shrinks the world a bit for us - we can see her on the webcam, call just about anytime we want, and we can hope on a flight down to Oakland whenever it gets just too unbearable for us. Still, it would be nice if all our grandchildren were close by home.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In Memorium

Granny, as my mother was called for the last 28 years of her life, passed away a year ago today. I miss her as much now as I did on the day of her funeral. I used to call her every Sunday morning and while I had my coffee, we would chat for at least an hour about the family, our lives, politics and a myriad of other subjects. She loved jokes and always had a new one to tell me every week.

Granny was frank to a fault, but loved with all her heart. She was definitely not a perfect person, but she loved her kids and her grandkids and would have done anything to make us happy. She used to spend hours and hours down in the floor playing with my kids, and they always loved it when she came to visit us, even after we moved to Oregon and they grew up.

She gave me my love of books and classic movies. When I was young, I can remember sitting in her lap and watching old movies on a small B&W TV while she explained the plot to me.

I was standing beside her as she was ironing clothes on the day that JFK was shot, and I remember asking her why she was crying...and she told me someone was trying to kill hope.

She was the artistic person in our family. She could sew, paint, and she loved to handcraft decorations for all her children's homes. Once she got onto a kick of making stuffed rabbits in cute outfits and sent so many to my house that I swore the things were breeding when I wasn't looking. She painted a mural on the whole side of my aunt's shed and though she didn't start painting until very late in her too short life, she had a great flair for color and a wonderful sense of perspective.

The last time I saw her, she called me her angel and told me she would meet in the next life. She was my mother, my friend, and I miss her.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Writing and Blogging

I enjoy writing articles about photography and events. I've written several lens reviews, a series of articles on composition, and some reviews of various events around Oregon and Washington. I've been so busy this summer, though, that I've fallen behind on the list of articles I've been meaning to write, but I'm sure as soon as the winter rains set in, I'll be able to catch up pretty quickly.

I have review articles on the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS, the EF 16-35 f/2.8L and the 24-70 f/2.8L lenses pending, as well as a review of the Canon 40D and the Canon 1DsMK III camera bodies in the works. As I've never reviewed a camera before, that should be a fun challenge.

I'm also planning to write an article about Crater Lake (if I can ever get back down there to shoot), an article on Barefoot Glamour, and maybe a basic studio lighting primer.

Other plans for the year are a potential Glamour Workshop, some pin-up shoots in the fall and winter, and at least one fair or festival. I might also hook up with my friend, Jim, and see if I can do some band venue shooting. That's quite challenging and he's been practicing for a few years now and seems to have it down to an art. I want to learn some new tricks from him.

I'm also open to suggestions about new writings. If any of my readers (all 3 of you) have any ideas of what you'd like to see me write about, please, by all mean, let me know. I'm always looking for new ideas and concepts.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Little Break

I've been taking a bit of a break from my photography projects. I shot quite a lot in March, June and again in July completing several shoots in those months. But I had so many images I needed to process, that I decided it would be best if I worked on those instead of shooting new material.

My plans were to begin shooting again this weekend, but I was unable to schedule a shoot with one model and I had to cancel a shoot with another as I had an unexpected business trip out of town that left me with no opportunity to adequately plan the shoot. It was probably fortunately that I rescheduled as the weather this weekend has been quite hot and humid and I'm sure the model would have wilted during a two hour shoot. She was very gracious about rescheduling and aware that I only did it to make sure we would get the best images possible from our shoot.

I did manage to make it to the POTN (Photography-on-the-Net) shoot in the Columbia River Gorge yesterday. It had been planned for several weeks and it was quite fun to meet some of the people with whom I've been chatting with online for so many years. There was 8 of us total from across the Northwest and we met at 7 am at the Vista House at Crown Point State Park. From there we had a wonderful view of the Columbia River Gorge. Our next stop was Latrourell Falls and then we made our way down the Gorge to Sheppard's Dell, Bridal Veil and Wahkeena Falls before heading out to Hood River for lunch and what we hoped would be some kiteboard shooting. In the image above you can see all of us (well, except me) shooting at Latourell Falls. I also got to experience the thilling adventures of the "Boring Boys" and their no holds barred approach to photography. I think they managed to dunk a good bit of themselves and their accessories (though not their cameras or lenses by sheer luck) before the shooting day ended.

The image to the left gives a bit of insight into the Boring Boys' approach to waterfall photography (wetter is better).

Lunch was good, but alas, there was no wind so our time together ended after lunch and we went our separate ways. although it seems I've been asked to host a glamour and nude workshop for some of the guys sometime this September. That should be fun to plan and execute.

In the meantime, I'm trying to schedule at least three more shoots before the end of the year for this year's projects while at the same time, planning lots of time to spend with my current and future grandchildren! Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Past Glamour

I've been seriously shooting for about 30 years now. I bought my first SLR camera, a Canon AT-1, in late 1978. I have always been interested in photography, though. I can remember running around my neighborhood as a kid and shooting images with a small camera given to me for a birthday. Of course, back then it was all black and white and I doubt any of the images have survived the intervening years. In the late 70's, before the birth of my first child, I got very serious with my photography.

I can't say I was any good back then, but I sure enjoyed it. I bought all the books I could find that explained the basics of photography. I took courses from the New York Institute of Photography, and though I had a young family to support, I managed to acquire a decent set of lenses and a 2nd body.

Even back then I primarily enjoyed shooting outdoor glamour and nudes, and I worked with quite few models over the years. I got my first break with models when I moved to Upstate New York and I was able to work with several young ladies from the local area. I was able to get a few of those images published, though the tear sheets are long gone from my portfolio.

I did have one advantage that helped me improve my photography. I had, and still have, a lovely wife who was alway willing to pose for me. In fact, the image you see here is from 1986 (well after our third child) and taken along a rural river in Georgia. She was 26 at the time and this was taken at about 7 am in the early morning light. Back then she didn't mind getting up very early and jumping in a river for me. She's not so keen on it these days, though if I beg enough she'll do it.

In any event, I still love shooting outdoor glamour and nudes, and I still love shooting with my wife. And here she is 20 years later:

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Continuing the Project

The Fae project is continuing, although at a slower pace. I was supposed to meet with the next model yesterday, but had to cancel at the last minute due to a family emergency (all is under control, so no worries there). The next shoot should be quite fun as the model is both lovely and enthusiastic and the Dance Fairy is the concept we're planning to shoot.

I have two other models who have expressed interest in the project, but neither one have been available for setting up the final logistics, so I'm unsure with those images will be shot, but I'm hoping to get at least 3-6 more concepts shot before the end of summer, including a reshoot of the Spring Fairy.

The image to the left is from my Art Fairy shoot. I have quite a few more images to process from that series, but I'm quite pleased with the ones that I've processed so far. I've made several prints from that shoot for my portfolio and they work quite well as part of the series.

I think for the future images, I'll cast and interview for a specific concept, meet with the model at least twice before the shoot, and have a more detailed script and at least one assistant for the shoot. That will go a long way toward making the shoots more productive and easier to post process the images.