Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blogging Again

Today in Sunday School I taught Alma 5-7. It struck me that when Alma began to preach to the people in Zarahemla he made specific mention that his teachings came from his "own record." That pricked me about writing my "own record" so here we are again. The Lord has truly been good and faithful and merciful to me. My birthday last week was spectacular. Emily wrote me the sweetest, insightful and meaningful little note about why she loved me and how great a dad I've been to her which moved me beyond words. She apologized later and said she's come up with something better but I assured her it was the best present she could give. Then, Mary spoke in sacrament meeting about father's and essentially gave a tribute to me as she gave examples of good fathering. It was very sweet and delicious. Becca sent me a book of my own photos which was so neat to see my own pictures in print and Kelly and Annie gave me tickets to the Chicago/Doobie Brothers concert at Hershey. It was so much fun. Jeanne came home from Girl's Camp to go with me, we sat next to the Raleighs and the music, especially the Doobie Brothers, was fantastic. What a spectacular week.

1st Shoot

Well, here it is, my first attempt at paid senior picture photo shoots. Kirsten and Kelly. Kirsten, of course, grew up across the street. She's been waiting to get this done for a long time. Last year I took some "Junior Pictures" for her and took some family pictures of her extended family. I must say, it was a bit harder going for the artistic shots than I thought it would be. Kirsten just had this painted on smile every time the camera trained on her. I must have told her a thousand times, "less smile." Today, when she looked at the pictures she commented about her "fake smile." It was hard not to say, "I told you so."
Kelly was a fun little poser. She'd do what you asked her to and she also was creative in coming up with her own ideas. We'd been posing Kirsten in this door for some time without much success then got Kelly in there and she was imediately comfortable and creative in her poses. Kirsten came back for a second try after kelly was done.
The colors and light along the creek leading to the Susquehanna are just spectacular. It was particularly beautiful to have the green background contrast Kelly's red hair.
As we were on our way back to the car Kelly stepped over this rock and I said, "Kelly, lie down on that rock and look at the camera." It was the best shot of Kelly of the entire shoot.
This is probably my favorite shot of the entire shoot. Kirsten and I had waded across the creek on our way to a bank of rocks when I turned around to see where she was and the light was just fantastic. I told her to stop right there and got this shot. The best part of photography is looking for and seeing things I used to simply miss - there really is beauty all around us.


Most of you know I've been getting pretty interested in photography lately. Sunday, the 15th of June, my 53rd birthday, and Friday, the 20th of June, I decided to get some practice taking "Senior Pictures" since I've had several requests to do them. On Sunday I took Mary and she had so much fun that on Friday she got Sarah Rudy and Emily and we went again. It's so helpful to me to work with real people and try to get them to pose. Only a couple weeks earlier, Carol Arndt was visiting when I said it was time to go find some pictures. Jeanne suggested I take Carol along so Carol, Jeanne and I piled into the car to find some pictures. Carol asked where we were going and I said, "you choose." So she told me to head to Bainbridge. She took me to the "Haldeman Mansion" which I had never heard of in the 14 years we'd lived here. It turned out to be a fantastic place to take pictures, so I took Mary and then all three girls back to practice senior pictures. mary was particularly fun on Sunday because she was willing to jump out onto rocks in the stream, which turned out to be a fantastic place for pictures (see above).
Sarah was one of the kids down the street. She is two years older than Mary, but all the kids played together and she and Mary have remained fast friends. She's away at college so we don't see her much, but when she came over I couldn't help but remark to Jeanne how she just keeps getting more and more beautiful. You can see from the above photo that she is a truly beautiful young woman.
One of the things I'd like to do is take "different" portraits than the standard senior pictures. I don't know if anyone will like them but the above picture of Mary shows an attempt to move standard senior pictures into more of the realm of art. It was almost 8p by the time we got to this picture so the light was very pink and seemed impossible to correct with my white balance. so, I converted to black and white and was so glad the color didn't work because this picture just needed to be in black and white.
There is at the mansion an old carriage house with a marvelous red brick wall. Again, above I tried to get a little artsy with a portrait of two friends, Sarah and Emily. I love the contrasting textures of the brick and stone and cropped the photo to capture the old window in the upper left corner, which gives the picture a bit more character and another texture entirely.
Sarah loves to smile but she's a pretty good little model as well. I told her to just lean against the wall and give me a blank look. She did a pretty darn good job.
Mary, on the other hand, just can't not smile. Her exuding happiness apparently preempts any attempt to form any other "look." She still made a pretty dramatic subject in her red sweater against the brick and stone and contrasted by the green grass.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Time Flies But Don't Miss the Beauty

If you ever wonder whether time goes fast, just own a car that tells you when it's time to get your next service and then starts counting the miles since it should have gotten done and reminds you every time you start the car. Some time ago when the Honda Pilot needed service (service was due in 1000 miles) I called to get an appointment with the service department. They had no waiting appointments and no loaners that day so it was determined we'd try again "later." Some time after that, right when the service was due I tried again, same story. When service was 1000 miles overdue I made an appointment but that day fell apart and the appointment was missed. Yesterday, as I drove to work and the car reminded me that it should have been serviced 5000 miles ago, it became apparent that this was the day for service no matter what. How had so much time passed since the first attempt at an appointment? Time flies! There's a scripture that says the days will be shortened (Matt 24:22) and it seems to me they have been. Time flies!! I was always told time would go faster as I got older, but there's something different. For example, when I was young, school, of course, lasted for ever, but so did summer vacation. We were all so bored we relished going back to school. Now, kids will tell you in the fall that summer just started and in the spring the school year flew by (I NEVER thought that!). So, time seems to be literally flying by now. Anyway, I called the dealer, they told me they had no available appointments and I said, essentially, "yes you do," and suddenly they did. They told me they had no loaners and I'd have to wait for 2 1/2 hours. Whatever! It needs to be done. Upon arrival, the service rep said, "will you be waiting in the waiting room?" "Only if a loaner that went out this morning hasn't already been returned." "I'll check on that." Well, there was a loaner so I didn't have to wait in the waiting room and coincidentally had my camera (never leave home without it). Which leads to the "Don't Miss the Beauty" part of the title.
Not far from the dealership is a little stream called the Yellow Breeches. The Yellow Breeches is a world famous dry fly trout fishing stream. It also happens to be beautiful. the above picture was taken perhaps one mile from the dealer and the same distance from Interstate 81, I-76, and Rt. 11, all main highways. That's truly a remarkable thing about PA. Beauty is everywhere, even just minutes from huge population centers. I don't know how the stream was named but it does have a yellowish hue about it.
From there I traveled a very short distance to a pond noticed on the way to the dealership. It was right off the side of the road across from an elementary school. It had beautiful views all around it. While looking for the perfect views, I walked the edge of the pond to the far end. Upon reaching the end there was a rustling noise and a large bird flew off the pond into a nearby tree. It was unlike any bird I'd ever seen so I walked all the way back to the car to get my 80mm-400mm lens to take pictures of the bird.
As it turns out the bird is a Green Heron. It is really beautiful. It seemed to be nesting in the branches of a Pine Tree just over the pond. As the Primary song so truthfully teaches, "There is Beauty All Around."