Sunday, January 16, 2011

A great year...a fresh start...My top ten thoughts at the start of 2011

If I were Catholic, I would probably be starting out this entry with "Bless me Father-It has been 5 months since my last blog ...". But that just isn't how I roll. I told you that my postings would be ...irregular. I feel pretty safe in my assertion that that deal has been kept. It's not that I don't have anything to say - quite the contrary - it's just that I don't feel that strongly about saying it in an open forum. But I have been chided much of late for my tardiness with the blog by my significant other , Ms. C. This one is for her.

As we enter into my 52nd year on this Earth, there are quite a few things on my mind that don't necessarily have a single answer. I regard myself as a reasonably intelligent, well-read, well-travelled, open-minded and level-headed guy. But some of this stuff just got by me completely, or continues to vex me. I will give you ten or so thoughts, in no particular order of importance,  to ponder along with me as we make our way through the cold, dark winter.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Friends, Family and the Dog Days of Summer

I have had an incredible Summer. No major family road trip or ostentatious vacation. Just us...Ms. C, Miss E and me. And some very special friends.Nothing else was needed...nothing else required.

Miss E had a multitude of camp experiences that will be the envy of her friends when the teacher asks her to present to the theme of "How I spent my summer vacation..." She will no doubt tell stories of the splendours of life during the reign of King Arthur (as she learned in her camp that taught the Science of the Round Table). She will regale her friends with tales of her riding skills developed during her one week camp at the All Heart Horse Farm.

And she will most certainly tell her new 4th grade running buddies about how to build a water filtration unit from a coke bottle and some rocks and a certain kind of dirt as she learned in her Survivor Camp. And I am sure that she will be among many who were able to see...and smell ... the mysterious, and ultimately disappointing spectacle that was the bloom of the rare Corpse Flower (Lois to her millions of admirers!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Son...The Russki's don't take a dump without a plan!!!

Well, you may have noticed that I took the month of June off from the blog. Not that I am ever that prolific to begin just always seemed that I had other stuff to do. I was getting ready for the annual summer visit with Ms.E. Then her pseudo big sister/cousin/very good friend that we refer to as Big E had a horrendous accident that nearly (but thankfully, only nearly) cost her her foot. Then I had a little business travel to deal with. Finally, I began making some ...plans...for an upcoming couple of shoots at the end of the summer. First up was the Fourth of July...

Ms. C pushed me to go out this year and take my annual Independence Day fireworks photos without the company of herself and Ms. E. She knows that when I have the two of them in tow, I tend to focus more on the girls than I do on my photography and, though she will never say it, both efforts end up suffering in the process. She offered to drop me off near my desired vantage point and  pick me up afterwards at the same rendezvous point. I then proceeded to the location I had selected and I got my gear set up. I set myself down in my chair and enjoyed the cold sports drink that I had brought along with me while I waited for the show to start. I was the first one there...and I had about an hour to kill before the show was to start. So I just relaxed and let my thoughts drift along with the warm night breeze.

Another photgrapher came along. He introduced himself as Wayne Wendel. He told me that he had taken a photo of me that I would probably enjoy and that he wanted to send it to me. We exchanged business cards and chatted each other up about equipment, photography in general, travel and our lives in general. I didn't give the remark about the picture another thought.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

It is the end of May again. That time when the beauty of Spring begins to wilt under the onslaught of heat and humidity that is Summer in Houston. That time when school kids begin to map out their activities for the ever shortening Summer vacation. That time whe I realize that one of those daughter...has passed one more milestone on her way to adulthood.

I watched her walk toward me last week and realized that she is in the midst of another growth spurt. She is becoming a tall and skinny mixture of her mother's bone structure and my coloration and texture. I hope this recipe holds, because it is a beautiful thing to behold in her current form. I have nightmares imagining a teenage version of this creature and the effect she will have on the less developed gender of her species...and the troubles that are likely to follow as a result. Such is the folly of want your child to grow into a beautiful gregarious version of yourself...until they develop hormones...and then you want to take it back!!!

She has become much more independent in the last year...and much more confident in her own skin. This is both welcome and sad. I love that she is becoming more engaged in life, rather than being a spectator all the time. I do miss the fact that this new independence and confidence is coming at the expense of her apparent "need" for my help. I guess this is not an unusual dichotomy for a father to go through. But it is the first time for both of us, so I will ask your indulgence.

When she was younger, I read to her all the time. Now she reads to herself, blissfully unaware that I steal a glance every chance I get. I love  to watch her create her own view of the world through the readings of her favorite authors. I also know that her adventures, just like mine before her , will be based on the stories she derives for herself from these sources. And those adventures are just beginning...

Now, as she is nearing her ninth birthday, and matriculating from the already boring world of a 3rd grader to that unexplored cosmos that only a 4th grade girl can understand, I have one wish to offer her (using the words of one of my favorite childhood authors, Ted Geisel - the inimitable Dr. Seuss)
Oh...the places you will go, my Princess. The places you will go , indeed.

I love you, Cupcake.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

So...this is what it is like to be a Pro

I haven't posted a blog entry for about 4-6 weeks. It isn't that I have been hiding...I have actually been having the time of my life filling my supposed "free" time with working photography gigs. These have ranged in scope from my first time "studio" work with a family looking to get some quality family portraits to covering events for customers to shooting events that are seasonal in nature for myself. And of course, I did my annual wildflower shoot with Ms. E  - nothing truly spectacular this year but I did get one or two pretty cool shots of my darling daughter.

I found myself working my day job for the average 10 or so hours a day and then coming home to spend 3-4 hours a night  to get my photo editing out of the way so that I could be ready for the next outing. In one stretch of 10 days, I had 5 different gigs to shoot and process. It was a blast, but this whole period just reinforced to me that, if I ever intend to do this job professionally, then I am going to have to devote myself to it full time. To do it any other way would mean compromising on quality in one of the two jobs, and I couldn't deal with that.

So , hear are some samples from the multiple events that I shot over the last 6 weeks. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed shooting them.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I love it in the country

We are in wildflower country this weekend visiting family. We have come up here for multiple reasons this time...It is Andi's birthday...It is Easter...and I am going to get to take some photos in beautiful surroundings with three of my favorite models.

As I sit here this morning, I am watching some whitetail deer graze alongside the cattle in the north pasture while Andi and her girls make a breakfast of waffles and sausage for the slowly waking crowd. The light on the dew covered fields is amazing this morning, and the weather looks like it is going to be ...well, in a word ... awesome for the rest of the day.

Ms. C is resting upstairs. My beautiful daughter E is slowly waking up into the loving arms of her pseudo big sisters. I have orange juice at my side and the wonderful smell of Jimmy Dean sausage sizzling on the grill.

And you think you have it good?

I love springtime in Texas!

Keep the faith.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Not at all what I had hoped for

To say that this workshop experience in Santa Fe with the DLWS group has been a disappointment would be an understatement. I had some concerns going in...there were supposed to be 32 students...and that is what occurred. I rationalized that this would be OK because there were to be 4 lead instructors, 2 assistants and 1-2 photography oriented sponsors who would be there to help out with the students. As you will see - these folks only made the group size problem worse.

As it turned out, each of the staff actually planned to be shooting right along side all of the students rather than guiding them. They had professed that they would be glad to look through your viewfinder and give you suggestions - they left out the part about as long as you bring your viewfinder to where they were! Sometimes that was difficult to achieve when they were halfway up a goat trail taking pictures of a fabulous rock formation. My car mate (who was three months post-open heart surgery...and doing awesome!) and I nearly had a heart attack trying to get to "where all the staff was going to be" for that one. We figured our health was more important than any damned picture that we might take with them and we cut our trek short at a manageable level.

Then there was the planning. Theoretically there were to be 6 shooting sessions. When we got to the opening session to get our schedule, there were only 5 sessions identified, with one TBD. The weather started to turn, so there was understandably some concern, but we were assured that this group shot in all kinds of weather. That would not be the case.