Friday, August 30, 2013

Flashback Friday

I went looking for photos today for a Flashback and the box I picked up happened to be from the year 2000.  I found this shot in here of my children, ages 8, 4 and 11 respectively. I decided to post this one today mainly because of the fires burning to the north of this location.  I'm also posting it because I've not had many harrowing moments in my life, but minutes before this photo was taken, I had one of those moments that scares the living crap out of you.

We camped in Yosemite National Park that summer for a week.  We walked along the trails, took a drive up to Glacier Point and hiked to the top of Sentinel Dome.  We also drove out to the Mariposa Grove and toured the giant Sequoias there plus the living history museum.  

On one of the days, we decided to be extra adventurous and hike to the top of Vernal Fall along the Mist Trail.  I'm sure if my wife had known about this she would have smacked me silly, but she wasn't there, so I figured that the kids needed to experience this hike.  For those of you unaware, the Mist Trail climbs a ridge alongside Vernal Fall, then follows a stair step path in the rocks right up to the brink of the falls.  As you can see from the photo, they are standing on the edge of the precipice.  You can also see both of the older ones have a firm grip on the four year old's hands.

The youngest walked with me and held onto my hand the entire time up the trail as well as up the stair steps.  Just as we crested the last stair step was when he decided to break free of me so he could see the waterfall.  Yeah, my life passed before my eyes as I scrambled to catch him.  I knew there were railings at the top, but I was unaware of the extra mesh on the bottommost part of the railings.  I could just see him slipping and going over.  Fortunately, he stopped before he got there, since I was yelling at him at the time and he listened.  He's smart that way.

The two boys have not been back to Yosemite since.  My daughter and I went back for a day trip on a visit I took up north when she was in college.  It wasn't long enough.  This upcoming summer, I hope to score camping reservations for the park.  It's been far too long since we've been to this jewel of our national parks.  And you've seen the second photo before, but it was taken after the hike was over.  3 mile round trip up 1000 feet and then back down 1000 feet will take a toll on anyone.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Flashback Friday

Every year I tried to take the kids somewhere different.  In the early years, we did a spring trip, usually to some desert location.  Then in the summer, it would be a longer trip, likely a week long up in the mountains somewhere like Sequoia National Park or possibly Yosemite.  This was my youngest son's first camping trip, so this was a short trip up to the local mountains near Lake Arrowhead.

The youngest was 3 days short of his third birthday in this shot.  The middle guy had just turned 7 and the oldest was 9.  A lot has changed in fifteen years.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Happy birthday son

He came into world at 1 AM, straight up.  Were it not for daylight savings, he would have been born at midnight, one of those kids where you're really not sure what day he was actually born on, but because of daylight savings, we celebrate his birthday today, August 12th.

Of my three children, he was the only one who was smart enough, I guess, to keep his hands down at his side when he was born.  Consequently, he was born quickly - very quickly.  I know I've told this story many times before, but I can still remember the nurse springing up from her chair, running to the door of the delivery room and screaming at the top of her lungs, "SOMEBODY BETTER FIND DR. LEE, OR HE'S GOING TO MISS THIS ONE!!!"  Dr. Lee came in and caught our Andy about a minute later.

The second thing that really struck me about my first born son was how alert he was.  He just wanted to look around the room from the getgo.  It was almost like he was thinking, "Whoa, this is a whole heck of a lot different than what I've been looking at for the last 9 months."

I've always been interested in when people were born and who famous was born on such and such a day.  On this date in history, one of the first five men to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Christy Mathewson was born.  Other famous people sharing this date include, football player Plaxico Burress, tennis pro Pete Sampras, Jane Wyatt from the sitcom "Father Knows Best," the famous movie director Cecil B. DeMille, and Erwin Schrodinger the Austrian physicist who used a cat in a box to explain quantum mechanics.  

Still, the most important person born today is my son, Andy.  I've watched him grow up, spread his wings to explore the world beyond us.  He is everything I could want in a son and I wish him all the best on his day.  Happy birthday son.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Taking a second look

I'm not sure if I'd call this a slow down period on my photography or not.  I know I haven't picked up my camera since last Saturday, but I know I'll pick it up again this Saturday.  I'm definitely not taking photos at the 365 pace that I did over the last two years.

As far as I'm concerned, that's a good thing.  It's allowed me to look back on some of the images I've taken in the past.  I found several images in old folders that I'd dismissed previously for various reasons.  This photo of Yosemite Valley, taken in the fall of 2008 is a perfect example.  With the cloud layer above the valley obscuring Half Dome in the distance and part of El Capit├ín on the left, I felt this image was pretty flat and so never have published it before this week.

I went back and looked at it again and thought about what it might look like with some monotone processing, what we used to call black and white.  Black and white is really a misnomer since there are so many varied shades in a monotone shot that it's not just black and or white but varying degrees of shades.  I actually really like this shot a lot now, much more so than the color version, which I assure you, will not see the light of day.

The other shot I worked on this week was this shot I took in July 2007 of the Grand Canyon.  Photographically, I think the canyon looks so much better with clouds overhead and we had perfect conditions for photographs the four days we were there.  Monsoon season was upon us and we had thunderstorms and rain every day of this particular campout.  Not very fun for camping, but great for photos.

This particular image was very flat in appearance, mainly because I'd overexposed the sky quite a bit.  I bumped the contrast up quite a bit on the image which brought out some of the subtler clouds in the sky and some of the color in the rock layers.  Adding some saturation to the shot helped bring out the colors more and I was able to have a more pleasing image that what I had previously.  I have another shot of the canyon that I'm probably going to work on later this week.  I might even do a "before" and "after" shot to show you the difference between the two.  Until then, please enjoy these images.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Flashback Friday

Last week, my daughter asked if I could scan some photos for her when she was 9 years old.  She wanted to make a collage of photos for her classroom to show her students what she looked like when she was 9, a fourth grader, like her students will be when they walk through her classroom door for the first time in a couple of weeks.

Over the years, I've lamented what I thought was fact in that I didn't have a single shot of any of our children with their two front teeth missing.  I think children missing their two front teeth is one of the cutest photos a parent can take and for some reason or another, I didn't think I had any.

My daughter had her two front teeth knocked out by her younger cousin.  Fortunately, they were her baby teeth and it was an accident, but she didn't want any photos taken of her without her teeth.  I hadn't been able to find any photos of the boys missing their two front teeth up until this photo showed up with my middle child missing both of his front teeth.  In fact, you can actually see the top tooth had already broken through the gums and was in the process of growing in.  

Still, it makes me wonder what other things I'm missing in all of those old photos.  I guess this means I'm going to have to go through the stacks of photos and start scanning more of them.  Fridays could be really interesting around here for awhile.