You wouldn't believe how much he's grown this summer...!
Ok, well -- maybe not that much.
He (reluctantly) agreed to tour with us the brand-new elementary school that his sisters will attend this year. It really is quite impressive, but he was most amused by the facilities for the pre-K crowd.
The universe is signaling that it's time to get off the beach. Temperatures are starting to drop, clouds are gathering. The wind whips, and the ocean mirrors the same flat, gray hue of the sky. No one is on the beach this afternoon.
No one except us, that is. It's going to take more than a few raindrops and chilly breezes to keep us off the beach. The kids are outfitted like seals in their wetsuits, and I have brought provisions. Our motto? Never surrender!
I have to admit right up front that I swiped this idea from my Project 365 associate, PG. The other day, he had a sweet series of shots of his kids jumping (for joy?) in their new back-to-school sneaks.
So, after we finished our own shoe shopping today, I was inspired to re-create the scene with my own gang. I hustled my kids around to the back of the shopping center and lined 'em up for a quick photo shoot.
Like PG, I found that capturing them all in midair simultaneously is harder than you might think...
Stopping at this glorious garden to marvel at the sunflowers, I reached for my camera (the one I'd been carrying around all day, but not yet used), to find the little card slot door open, and no SD card inside. I had forgotten to replace it last night... Mildly aggravated, I grabbed my cell phone & turned on the camera function. I figured I'd snap a few, and have to come up with something else later, back at home, for today's post.
But, guess what? I'm going with this one. I like it just fine. I really like the perspective.
And -- it's done. Ready. Good to go.
As our summer comes to a close, I find myself feeling a bit frantic, trying to squeeze every last drop from our vacation. As long as we are having fun, I might forget my anxiety about the new school year, or how I dread the schedule-juggling that awaits, or that I'm sad to see the kids get older so fast.
Problem is, when you are trying so mightily to enjoy yourself, it can be hard to just enjoy and appreciate the moment. Plus, it is exhausting. So, this is my nod to living in the moment. There will be no do-over with a fancier camera, and better lighting, and a cuter outfit. It's just us in a field of giant sunflowers at the end of the summer. How could it be any better?
Maybe you heard that Hurricane Bill was churning up the waters off the coast, and closing beaches up & down the Eastern seaboard...? Well, to some folks, that sounds like an invitation. Although the usual crowd of beachgoers stayed home today, surfers, boogie boarders, and wave lovers of all kinds were out in force. The mix of surf, haze and bright sun made it tough to capture a lot of the action, but this should give you an idea of the scene.
Yes, two photos of the same thing. I'll explain in a moment. I have several items I'd like to address today...
First: I had an opportunity today to go check out a camera that I have been considering acquiring... so, I took my lenses & we went to the camera store. We all hit it off really well. One of the many features I liked was the in camera image stabilization -- this photo was shot hand-held, at 1/13 of a second. Maybe the sharpness is hard to appreciate through the glass doors, but I couldn't get away with that using the camera I have now...
Second: Two photos. Can you tell the difference? The top image is hosted by Blogger, and the bottom is hosted on our own server. Blogger will always compress the images uploaded to it... We don't have to compress the images on our server, but -- as you may have noticed, a 10mb file can slow things down. (Thus ends my "technical" knowledge of what's at play here. I just know I like the bottom photo better.) Does anyone out there have any wisdom to share on this issue? Is there any way to preserve image quality without having to display such a huge file?
Well, it was late... and I came home to find this, a party favor my youngest brought home, on the kitchen table... and it seemed like a good candidate for a new lighting technique I learned about... and who doesn't like a crazy straw?
(I will confess: not my favoritest shot ever - despite my affection for the subject. Moving on...)
We should warn you now, little guy: she's a hugger. Every time she sees you, she can't wait to hold you, and talk to you, and touch your little feet, and stroke your tiny head. (Since you already have two big sisters of your own, you are probably used to this sort of thing.) She'll never tire of it, though, so we're counting on you to speak up when you've had enough.
Two entrepreneurs in search of a dream, they had no time to pose for a photo...
For years, their business plan has been stymied by the fact that we live on a busy street, and setting up a lemonade stand would be downright dangerous. I was so pleased to see their creative solution! With inventory stocked and signs made, their mobile lemonade stand was ready to roll to the park around the corner.
Where, they soon learned, even customers in search of a cool beverage can be hard to find if it's just too darn hot out. They returned after thirty minutes, dejected but thirsty...
I am happy to report that a more open-minded attitude regarding food is taking hold at our house. There was a time when dinner was a hard sell if the menu did not include pasta, french fries, or chicken nuggets. As I put the finishing touches on this chicken salad, I had a moment of dread, thinking of the reactions I would get when it hit the table. (Although these days, those reactions cause me considerably less heatburn than they used to...)
And, even though one kid gave a raised eyebrow & pronounced it "sketchy"-looking, they all ate it, liked it, and came back for seconds.
These days, nothing kills a good vacation vibe quicker than the airplane ride home. For us, that relaxed feeling usually starts to slip when we realize that the seat assignments for our family of five have apparently been determined by a random number generator...
But, I have to say, we did pretty well in that regard this time around. Yes, our seats were all over the plane, but -- when we got bumped to the next flight, and pocketed enough travel vouchers for the next trip, all was forgiven.
Imagine this space full of families, children playing games, neighbors chatting, everyone eating and drinking, the whole place humming with summer celebration...
Unfortunately, I missed the party, having arrived a few days late to our family vacation. Mr. C.M. took the kids to visit their grandparents' and gave me the chance to savor a few days of precious quiet and solitude. Which was delicious. I packed a lot into those couple of days -- visits with friends, errands, books, movies, and even faced down a new challenge.
So...thanks for that, dear. I feel so lucky to have that time, but even more so to be able to rejoin the party, still in session.
The plan was to take some nice shots at my friend Laura's place tonight, while we sat on her deck and enjoyed a summer evening in the city. Well...those pics didn't turn out like I had hoped...Although it was lovely, I might have been having too much fun to pay attention to things like composition, exposure, and focus.
By the time I got back home, only 15 minutes remained of the day. Plenty of time for this long exposure, though...f/27, 30 sec, ISO 400.
The creative process is messy. You have to have all the stuff out, so you can see it. You can't worry too much about spilling, or making mistakes. You have to mix things up, try new arrangements. And then you have to leave it all out and come back to it later, and look at it, and make changes, maybe. And when you're done, you need a place to hang it up.
This is a concept my kids thoroughly understand. That's why they're having such a great time at art camp this week. Thanks, Gary!
Owning a barn is to have to constantly defend it against nature's bid to reclaim the space in which it stands. When we first moved in, there were raccoons and bats to evict. Since then, there have been squirrels, birds, mice, carpenter ants and carpenter bees, in addition to the steady assault of the elements on the structure. Now a jungle vine has slipped through a crack in the window and threatens our temporary stake here.