Ok. Why not? The kids visited in a whirlwind in 2013 December. It was a visit filled with tension. Too little time and all at the seemingly last minute. The visa to visit was not confirmed until almost the day they traveled. The Saudi government does not grant visitor visas. And the kids were over 18 years old. So it was not so easy to apply and required a visit to the Saudi government office. Then the process started again in the US where additional paperwork required more difficulty.
Old city, al Balud, the area is now designated a heritage area. They are actually preserving history…just in time. (To digress: they still toss glass bottles out their car windows on the highway.) The kids are here just before renovation has begun. We goofed around. I inserted myself in the pic. You can see that I was learning about bending your knees. Remember it. It’s a good tip.
Jules had been in Africa teaching in a remote school in Namibia. It was the perfect excuse to visit Africa for the first time. It’s funny because we did not visit her in Namibia but instead were in Tanzania where she had not been either. She revived my memory of jumping. So good. On a hillside in the evening in remote Africa in a Children’s Village there we be and the moment is memorialized.
This is an image from a dim and distant post. Remember the wedding jump? It was only a couple days ago. Cousins. Two sets. There are more cousins. My kids are the oldest. We were spontaneously goofing around. They all lifted off. It was one of the first times I used this. And one of the last was at the wedding. Hey! It still works. I’ll keep it in mind in the future.
You never know what spontaneous act of nuttiness will occur. Just for me! And my camera! It’s not about the shot. Fanny wanted a picture in front of the dolphins. So, capture the family and herd them to the front. Cameras ready! Take pics with a few different ones, an image for each to keep. Nine of us. Yes, I took the pictures. That would be Bryant doing the dolphin pose in the background. I don’t make this stuff up. Sometimes it really happens the way it looks.
Yes, I have nuts in my family. Lovable, but nuts… Fanny got her pic and I got a post. Dolphins in a fountain do not usually make a post.
The day after the wedding and the dress is history. Lots of pictures have been taken. You don’t wear it again. This reminds me of when Julia dressed up as a kid. “Dress up!” She was flower girl in My brother John’s wedding. Julia wore that dress to tatters. The hem was above her knee by the time she stopped playing in it. And once someone gave us a bunch of wedding veil samples…. Now, it’s all real – grown up.
A category called trash the dress has arisen in which the bride tears the dress to pieces. The images are sort of irreverent and decadent. Jules had her dress hanging from the door. It was too long to hang in the closet. It actually survived the rain and the wind. And it looks nice except for the mud. You’d never know the hillside was covered in cloud, fog, and mist less than a day ago.
Everyone happy? You bet. People were smiling for two days straight. Unlike weddings before digital, the smart phone has captured spontaneity and turned everything on end. I still like a real image, you know, real camera? But the smartphone captures that moment in ways film never could. Instant. Instant feedback. Do over. Yup. No waiting. It’s the new order. There are more smartphone images and by far iPhone images online than traditional camera images. Bet you knew that. I’m still amazed at how digital imaging has so easily allowed us to take images in the dark. No flash. No muss. No fuss. Totally spontaneous. Ok, so I shot with a real camera and with a real flash. But you get the idea. They walked away with a shot in hand immediately. Hello World!
It’s popular camp food. Know it? No? Been under a rock? Graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow – it has to be smushed together. And the marshmallow needs to be charred. There’s not way to get the flame so close. Yes the carbon charring adds that “je ne sais quois.” No! I didn’t say its good. I said it is traditional camp food. Ok, I didn’t say tradition in the first line. But you know it’s another priceless moment. The Californians call it “Glamping.” Glamorous camping – it was! The rain held off for 24 hours or this would have been one wet marshmallow. Oh for the “under the rock” crowd – it means s’mores – some mores? – as in after the first you want more? Ok?
When my kids had their first? …was at the Tyler place. We had a bon fire on the shore of the lake and a new sinful pleasure was introduced to them that night. We were with friends too. Susan? You reading? … four couples, lasted more than 25 years… in spite of a few conservatives among us…who knew back then?
Jules’ co-teacher secretly had their class do a project and gave the album to her just before the wedding. Some pages, not necessarily the best are shown. You’ll get the idea. I wonder why no one else ever did this. I guess I have not been to too many teacher weddings. Come to think of it, it was a relatively small group. College friends, high school friends, close relatives the guest list did not include many co-workers at all. Even occasional relatives were left out. It was a cozy campground and everyone simply mingled, partied, and had a good time for a couple of days in California. Yeah, the kids planned it pretty perfectly.
Laugh, cry, weep…it’s a new generation. From the mouths of babes…may your days be filled with happiness…an album of sage advice from a certain innocent perspective. Listen to your kids. They want a happily ever after ending too.
This is not my first jump shot and won’t be the last. In fact this post has several. Ha ha. I think I’ve lost it. Giddy! Truly. But how can you be serious jumping? Jules more or less introduced me to it once again when we traveled in Africa. And I pull it out periodically. Day after – the morning after – the bride and groom actually got some sleep. The party was shortened by the rain…not dampened but surely shortened by a steady rain as the reception ended. Jeff shot the “Jump.” He kind of missed.
But hey! Later on I got a shot at the top of the hill. That view you see behind Dave and Josh is the Pacific Ocean and the idyllic view that the wedding backdrop was set against. It wasn’t even 24 hours. Perfect sun drenched scenery with a California sunset was only a mere day off. Yup missed by that much. I hate it when the weatherman is right.
We forgot to get a shot of the family. Yes, we got the formals. But Jules felt bad she missed the images with the rest of the immediate family which is not too large. I actually had to instruct this group how to jump effectively. If you just jump, it doesn’t work well. Huh? You got to bend your knees. Yes! Then it looks like you got some real air time. See! Works. They got it in one lesson! But not in the first shot. Priceless!
Yes! You don’t see this everyday at a wedding. It’s more like a male strip club. This is my new son in law. Wild and crazy? He says it is somewhat of a tradition among some of his close friends. The end of the wedding and the sweaty shirts come off. Yeah, about five or six were soon dancing sans shirts. I’ll save you the lascivious details. This post is G rated. Yes, one of Jules college roommates (and husband) was suitably surprised. They don’t do this in New York and Boston. That’s my nephew Andrew. He’s a drummer at Berkeley in Boston where music and craziness are not uncommon. He gets it.
And Dave? Yes, definitely a party guy, he’s about to open up his shirt. He got into the spirit of things. Trust me, Jules, newly married, was duly surprised too. This was another “gotcha” moment that made this a fun wedding like I have never seen before. Yup, they did something unexpected. And it was the last dance and the official photographer was long gone. Not bad Dad, not bad, I got it.
Mission… be down at the entrance to the campground to pick up breakfast for selected close family and guests. Adults. The kids were asleep – too many smores, more likely too much beer and wine. Then someone walked back from the beach with an iPhone picture moments old of a sea lion. Gee! The choices! Luckily Stewart was there and we were released to head to the beach in the drizzle. Yes! Drizzle! A steady wet drizzle had settled in and it was guaranteed to make it a wet wedding day! Yes, nuts! I had moments before been up at the very top of the hill having a Father of the Bride moment. We figure this guy was ill. Or, his mom had been killed. He sat forlornly and did not move off as I approached. Stewart had raced up the hill to get his camera so I had a “sea lion moment.” He kept his eyes closed mostly. I actually got down pretty close. And once I had the shot I cast my eye toward getting a different image. Work the scene! Poor Stewart, the silly things we do to get the perfect angle. No, I did not get on my knees. But I got low and close. Breakfast was delivered. Everyone ate. I got my shot and breakfast too. Neat!
I was up early on the morning of the wedding. I am in California and my internal clock is lost between Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the East and West Coast. Don’t ask! WiFi is spotty. Cell service is not so great. Message – “Are you up?” Jules. She’s alone at this hour. Jeff went to surf. Cold water! She has a sore throat and almost no voice. Party last night – way late! She’s nervous and asked me to come before the craziness started. I didn’t much feel like getting up and going to the camp commissary for a hot cup of tea with lemon and honey. But, ever the dutiful dad, off I went in search of … Earl Grey Tea. Yes, even the brand was specific. No lemon. But lots of honey. I called the mom and she was grumpy reluctant because she had not slept last night. But hey, I figured she ought to be in on the fun. She arrived later.
And just like that Jules and I had our Father of the Bride moment. If you have seen the movie, then I need not say more. If you haven’t, then, see it now. We sat for a few moments. It wasn’t about the tea. It was just the realization that things were about to change. Hey, I was there when she was born. I was the first to see her. Yes, the obstetrician was a close second. But I was first! Mom asked, “What? Girl or boy?” And then she asked, “Normal?” Doctor and nurse, we were both so worried about birth defects. I took care of so many ill babies that my sense of normal was completely skewed. I replied, “Girl. Normal, ten fingers ten toes. Eight on one foot, two on the other.” Probably not the best time to joke after long and difficult labor and delivery. But then again timing is everything. Mom was not particularly amused. And in that instant when I first saw her, the other names we argued over were lost. The second pick was Lauren so that was the middle name. If you have forgotten I don’t mention Jules by her real name. Her students started stalking my blog and commenting about my posts to her. She thought it was too weird. Search her first and last name and she comes right up on the search engine. Mom eventually collapsed for a moment before she ran away again. Exhausted. Day of… countdown.
And there outside the window were deer grazing right next to the house on the top of the hill. Idyllic. Yes, this was my Father of the Bride moment. Thanks. I didn’t know if it could happen amid all the craziness. But yes it did. No, silly. You don’t spoil the moment with a selfie. Ha! I already took a picture with mom asleep, hair unkempt. Heresy! Sentimental? You bet!
The images are real but time blurs things. It ain’t tears. I credit Stewart with these photos. They came via message from Jules. So it’s possible they are not, but that’s my story. I’ve told you the joke about favorite daughters. It bears repeating. I would always ask my patients if the daughter that accompanied them was their favorite. And the answer was usually, “They are all my favorite.” Once in a while someone would say, “Yes.” And there would be a round of laughter. Once in a while it would be, “No.” To that I would reply, “Be careful you might be walking home from the office.” Jules is my only daughter. And of course there was always the implication that if there were another daughter she would not be the favorite. She got the joke and responded, “But Dad! I’m your only daughter.” Okay! You heard that already! But then there was the time that I operated upon a man with seven daughters. He had a brain tumor. It was pretty serious. Six of the seven daughters leaned in over him as I softly asked which of them was his favorite. He whispered to me, “Jennifer” Aha! And then the oldest said to me, “But he doesn’t have a daughter named Jennifer.” Gotcha!
This moment occurred spontaneously. I told you I don’t dance. I did dance. Once upon a time for four years I did folk dancing in West Virginia. Yes! Four years. I once was forced to take ballroom dancing – foxtrot, waltz, etc – and ballet, and tap – yes, tap dancing. I had a forward thinking mom. It didn’t take. Seventh grade was heaven – slow dancing – and the seventh grade girls felt heavenly as we pressed together. That lasted till eighth grade and the twist and fast dancing forever changed me. Nope. Two left feet from then on… So I was almost home free. Everyone else danced. I did not. …Jules danced across the floor and snagged me. In an instant I was out on the floor and fast dancing away. That’s one of the wedding photographers getting another shot off her list – father daughter dance. New suit – Jules asked me to get one. And she reminded me to bring it when I traveled to California. I queried her “reminder” and Jeff responded she meant my bathing suit. Oh! Duh! It was 80 degrees the week before the cold driving rain. So maybe I could have gone swimming. Some of the hardy guys went surfing. The water was nominally 60 degrees. Yup, there I am in a brand new suit dancing with the bride. You don’t get to do that everyday!
First dance. Yes, they were pretty happy. Everyone was dry now. Well sort of… the ladies were still pretty steamed about their muddy toes. Everyone was laughing about it though. The gentle rain was a steady downpour outside. We were in a tent. And the venue was well done. No round tables all over. There were squares and rectangles. I have no pictures of the food! But it was excellent! Amazingly so! The crowd was in a good mood. Jeff still had his shirt on… Jules still wore the dress. She’d later change. It was way hot on that dance floor. Dance pictures at a wedding are a mob scene. Theirs is no polite protocol. Stick your camera in and get a shot. Lots of action. Lots of flash. The moment. Pure joy. Can’t you tell? It looks to be a wildly joyful marriage.
David Mike Josh – buddies since kindergarten. How about that? I’m not in touch with anyone from grade school to college to med school. Of course we moved about every two years. No Facebook, Twitter… well there is this one girl… Jules was kind enough to invite the guys. All single! Yup – “Wedding Crashers” on the prowl. Dave has a girl – sort of – and the others checked out the single ladies…not too many and not too available. Yes, right after the ceremony the rain let up for a moment. The mist or the water on my lens was still significant. Do you think they were happy? Yup! I do! Hey, they still say that phrase at the end of the ceremony. I heard it! We always joked that groom said, “I do.” followed by, “I did?!” But yes, Dave’s sister is still happily married! As for this crew, they will be buddies for life. It’s so nice to see them again. It’s been a while.
There is a certain bias. The bride is my kid. The groom….has his own family. You take thousands of images but you tend to stick with the people you know. That’s why you get a photographer. They are unbiased. So then it was ok for me to concentrate on what I liked. No, silly! I like Jeff. I even know his name. The kids in school made bride and groom cutouts. The bride planned to take them to the wedding. But somehow these never got displayed. Oh well, I’ll never have an image of Jules’ cutout doll. Meanwhile, you may think as you like. The guy to the right is Jules’ new husband. Nice hair and never rained upon…
I got a pair. They grew up. I sometimes wish they were still little. Then they lived at home and depended upon you. Now, they are grown up. They have their own lives and won’t friend me on Facebook. What I don’t know is probably better for me. For a long while they did not particularly get along. Now, they are grown up friends again. Things keep changing. If I had a wish it is for them to be happy in what they do and who they know. Everyone should have a set of kids to make them proud as I am about mine. That’s about it for sentimental. I already cracked up at the wedding. Hey! There haven’t been any fish for a while? At my wedding the photographer shot about ten rolls. That would be about 360 photos. Thousands! I got thousands at this wedding. And all night and day there were smart phones clicking away. Yup, digital multimedia is king. If I do an image a day it would be years to post. But like Nat Geo, so many pictures, so little space…
Did I mention it rained on the ceremony? Yup! Sideways! Can you guess from which direction? People commented that they were concerned things would blow over. Those are forsythias. Nice, huh? And it would have been the bright blue sparkling Pacific Ocean in the background framed between the mountains. Everything is now covered in picturesque mist. Actually, you cannot see the rain. Any worse and the image would have been lost in fog. And yes, it was a cold windy rain. Have I mentioned rain? I’m laughing hard now. But it was anything but funny then. It would have also been a great photo to hold an umbrella over their head during the ceremony. That suggestion was a nonstarter and vetoed out of hand as I struggled to keep the rain out of my own face. It don’t matter, I know it was cold in that dress. Eric did this shot. Remember? I was not permitted to hold a camera. Imagine that!
Like father like daughter – Jules confided to me the next day – “Dad, I got all concerned. I wasn’t going to see you and mom walk down the aisle. You went before me.” Details, right up to the last second… Jules was still sweating the details. Yeah… alike.
I never cry. Well, once in a while…but today… I cracked up when Jules walked down the aisle. She started to cry… that cracked me right up. But in the rain, who could tell! Even Louise (that’s her in the background) cried and had to pause and compose herself during the ceremony. It was her first. Can’t you tell? She’s the one that got the guests to walk down the hill in the mud. And this kiss? They were leaning over just to stand straight. Misty. Foggy. Priceless!
Ha! I now realize that there is nothing calm before a wedding. I got to take pictures. The wedding photographer was a nice gal. She got to shoot the dressing up with the girls. But needless to say I got my chance. Everyone was frantic that I would be a loose canon. I was warned by everyone. And then I was rewarded with… “Gee, the pictures were great!” The ?@!@#$! you have to put up with to get the image! Street photography with your own family! They actually confiscated my camera before the ceremony. Bastards! I gave up my big one to my brother. He shot. Ok!
But meanwhile, there was still some touch up to do. Another quiet moment before the storm, you capture the moment and it’s gone before you blink. Yeah, this image is not one that the wedding photographer got. Sorry. She was in another spot. It was my kid’s wedding and I was determined to get some good shots too. See! They were right to reign me in. Oh! No video – so alternatively, I set up my nephews with a pair of video cameras – stage right and stage left – with an external remote mic! In the blowing wind the sound was a nightmare. That darned remote mic worked like magic! I’m brilliant! And Jules thanked me for that too. I’m glad it all worked out. They are all ecstatic in retrospect. But I got gray hair just trying to do the right thing. After all this time they still think the old man doesn’t know a thing. Hey! It’s been that way since they were about twelve. So what if I still don’t have a Facebook account. I was around before digital, video, and smart phones. Got the shot! Any complaints? See management…
I’m stuck by how surreal the wedding day was. Yes, I’ve been party to a series of events large and small in my kids’ lives. But this is a first. And of course, nature threw in it’s opinion. It never rains in sunny California. There’s a drought. Jules hasn’t washed her car in months. She’s a good environmentally aware daughter who’s marrying a like minded liberal democrat. I might parenthetically add that the new mother in law is a Fox conservative. And the other mother is a far left liberal. Oh boy! No political talk around here. There’s a blanket on the ground. See it? Nope, that dress was doomed. Mud! It was an outdoor ceremony. Drizzle all day long, the rain stopped just before the ceremony. It was a tease. The rain blew sideways as soon as the bride walked down the aisle. Cold driving rain! Sideways! Frizzy hair! Yes, cold.
Hey! I got a great photo! The day before – Dave went to the dry cleaner and got his suit and shirt pressed. $30. Wrinkled in an instant. Me? Nope. I was wash and wear. Saved $30! If it hadn’t rained this picture would have never happened. Serendipity!
Well, the big event! Yup, there’s a drought in California. But it rained – poured – when I visited Jules in July last year. And we presumed that there would be no rain for a March wedding. There’s a drought! The venue was all brown back then. Now it’s lush with spring flowers. Ah! The forecast was for cooler weather and …rain! Ten degrees cooler! And rain – about 70%. Ok! Everything got changed up. It was an outdoor wedding in a campground. And the weather report kept getting worse. In fact California is currently having tremendous storms. Great! Everything got an alternative plan and the reception was moved indoors. But the ceremony was to be on the top of a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Yes, romantic! But, you can’t see the ocean when there’s rain and fog and mist! What can I say? An umbrella as an accessory to a wedding gives you a stunning background. And the humidity immediately will frizz any woman’s hair. That seemed to be the chief topic among the ladies. It’s not sweat. Among the Southern ladies that would be called, “glistening.” And the mud! There was a path down the hill that became pure mud in the rain. I heard, but did not see, the mud poured into an around the toes of the open toed sandals. Ha! No one was worried about the cold dampness. Me, I took a ride in the shuttle and kept my shoes dry and my toes warm. Yes, the wedding happened. It was wet! No, the event was not canceled on account of rain.
There is something to be said about a bride: They glow. No matter what – they are all beautiful. But this one’s special! She’s my favorite daughter… Yeah, Jules noticed too – “But Dad! I’m your only daughter.” (As in… if there were another daughter? Hmmm, get it? It’s a joke.) Ya gotta admit, she glows!
The green are not fish eggs. My buddy told me it is an anemone. Beautiful! And the nudibranch – look at the serrations on the rhinopores.
Ok, maybe you are not suitably impressed. But it sure is detail that I did not suspect till I got a real close up look. Yeah, I like to find new things and be impressed. I looked and I have more than 300 dives in this area – mostly on this reef. Many divers want to try something new, go somewhere different, see new stuff. Yes, me too. But I have to admit that I see new things all the time. If you have to be here, it’s not half bad.
I’m still treading water here… the wedding is done by the time this post is up. Now to edit a few pictures. Who knows the future? All I am reasonably sure about is that they are still married. Happily? So far!
I never know the ass from my elbow – ok – I mixed metaphors. But the front end from the ass can be a challenge. And this nudibranch has a front end.
See the rhinopores? With macro – it’s easy! Was that all? Gee, it’s like I just got a brand new pair of reading glasses. By the way I do need glasses. But my vision is good enough without them. So I am only half blind underwater. This should be a great comfort to the patients I operate upon….
Here are some details of what I can do with macro underwater photography. Don’t sigh and don’t laugh. And yes, Carol, I’ll finish with fish someday. Meanwhile just smile and look at what I can do. Neat!
This is a colorful bit of red coral. Did I say, “Don’t touch a thing!” Don’t do it! Ever! And here’s why. Look! Are you looking? The hairs! Yes, macro detail, look at the hairs. They are sharp looking and like glass needles poised to sting you. Thorns on a rose or some such like that. However I have other images where they look like hairs. Not quite so straight and sharp. Go ahead and touch it then, it won’t sting.
Nope! Touch these and you will itch for a few weeks. Don’t believe me. Go ahead and touch them, Or, not! And there are seams! Really! That’s cool too. The details you can see are brought to you by great technology.
Someone came along and photographed them and voila. So I took it one step further and photographed the orange sponge too. Yup, hairy! My dive guru photographer does not believe me. He says they are red. All the hairy ones are red.
Dare I believe that I have spied something he did not notice? It’s neat to one up the teacher. I was always a handful as a student. Too much time on my hands I guess. But that’s orange and it’s hairy, and don’t touch! Ever!