California. Museum. Boredom. Sometimes there is enough art, too much. I need to do some. So, I got the nearest willing subject and made her walk the museum for me. And then I made a composite. More fun. There are many ways to have fun in a museum. Aren’t there?
Have I told you about Jules and her birthday? Ha! Well, you’re gonna hear it again. Every year as a child growing up we would celebrate at least three times – once before school ended, once during the summer with family, once more on her birthday with immediate family… It seems summer was an endless party. No, Jules is not 99 now. Recently, Noa was born. Time flies. We are so proud. Jules is very happy. I’m a proud papa and grandpa. Why not? ….’cause I gotta sleep with a grandma. (OK! Kidding! Bad joke. Retold.)
4th of July. Fireworks. Gotta have some. They do a fireworks display around Delaware. We have not been. Too busy and don’t want to hassle the crowd. It’s not that crowded. But when two cars is enough to make a traffic jam….it is a bit crowded in the summer. I searched out some fireworks images. I’ve posted the same before. Technical tip: use a tripod and use an exposure of about 3-4 seconds at around f16. It’s a lot better than handheld and 1/30 sec. Practice and review. Digital gives you instant feedback. It’s another fun skill to master. Lazy? I just went back and got the most recent images I put 3 star upon.
Did I tell you? Poppies! The news from California has been about the superbloom – again. We saw it once before. It’s rare. It’s special. We’ve been fortunate to see it twice. It comes about because of the rains that stimulate growth and flowers. Ordinarily it is dry and no bloom is more the norm. We saw it! To be sure, we took advantage with Noa. Great! She’s already seen one and not even a year old. No matter. I will always be impressed by nature’s power.
The sheer size and scope of the bloom is indescribable. Miles! It went for miles.
Add baby… she was there. She won’t remember it specifically. I asked Jules about Disney once. She replied, “I’ve seen the slides and video. I was there. But it is the video and images that are what I can recall.”
Oh well, we were all there on a glorious spring day. Nature! It’s pretty grand when it makes up its mind to put on a show.
We reserved a dinner table overlooking the greenery and garden. It was touristy. We snagged a table about an hour before the restaurant opened. Yup, they let us reserve that late in the afternoon. By the time we showed for dinner there was a line waiting out the door and around… we waltzed in. Great! And there in the garden they were set for a wedding. Oh boy! A floor show! Colleen watched the latest styles. I watched guys show up in blue suits and brown shoes… and the kiss!! We got ringside seats to the kiss!! Dinner was superb. We lingered for dessert. By the time we were gone, so was the bridal party and so were the flowers. All in all it was an unexpected dinner and a show.
Here’s a technical concern. The wedding photographer had evening blue light. She shot digital and video. It does not appear she color corrected as she went. So, there would be a lot of post processing? The light’s not bad. But, it is blue. You may not have noticed. It’s why you pay big bucks to an expert.
How do you plan for this? Serendipity, fortuitous, right place right time. You bet!!! I was taking pictures of the snap dragons when this bumble bee flew into my picture. Yes! He flew in. I shot and shot. This is what I got. Rhymes? Can you believe this? It was completely by luck. I would tell you not. I have lots of bees on flowers. But, no bees in mid-flight. That’s hard to do. Trust me. I got all excited…still am.
Ten years. Shutterfly keeps sending me reminders of what I did ten years ago. Look? Meanwhile, I had just dreamed I was back in Saudi working. I had a hole in my grey slacks. Imagine the trivial details your mind makes up in dreams. Another school shooting yesterday. It must have weighed in my dream too. I dreamed of a car load of weapons. I don’t shoot. Meanwhile (again), it was Dave’s graduation. Tuition done! I paid. It was a ton of money. He used his degree? I get his periodic USC news magazines. I don’t want them. The best thing of the day? His cousin’s (future) husband arranged for us to have a sushi celebration dinner at a high end LA restaurant. He’s an actor (starving, of course). I don’t eat fish let alone raw. It was sublime! – as in the best I’ve ever had (the one and only time I’ve ever had). Yes, that was the first and last time. If you could bottle a perfect memory that sushi was the quintessential perfect memory. So, there’s no point in ever being disappointed in the future. Lila used to tell me that she remembered many a memorable meal and where she ate it. I don’t “live to eat.” But, sometimes I think of what she said once upon a time.
Hardly. Rock climbing doesn’t require Everest. When I was younger I’m pretty sure I could have climbed. No longer. No stretch. And bones break when you fall. Ah! But I would have liked… then I found my vertical limit. It shrinks as you get older. I was short of breath just walking around in Denver. Oh well, I’ll not be climbing Everest. I’m ok with that.
I guess it’s pretty windy through this corridor. It looks like this might be the original test area. We saw windmills of different technologies and ages. They lined up geometrically and randomly. They were definitely unlike the plains states of Kansas and Colorado. There was more sense of purpose and urgency in the distribution and crowding.
Ah! We snapped a pic just as a hitchhiker passed. It was nice timing. We could not have done it if we’d planned. Serendipity. Spooky?
I have to think that California is ahead of the curve and has been forward thinking enough to have what appears to be early and late model windmills working side by side. It’s renewable and after the initial investment, it’s sustaining and clean. They are also not known to be a health hazard. Clean coal? – an oxymoron.
For fireworks, I’d guess you can’t beat the sun. My old partner used to say the sunset over Bayonne, NJ was spectacular because of the air pollution. Maybe? The California wildfires were burning furiously to the north and south of Los Angeles. We could see the smoke 65 miles away in Ventura. Maybe? Maybe it was pollution, or maybe just luck? Nature put on a spectacular display.
I get a lot of sunset shots. …because I look. After that it’s the camera that does the trick. Of course, you’ve got to know how to hold your camera. Ha! There are a few things to knowing the right exposure. There’s nothing that Photoshop can make better if you didn’t get a good image to start. I’ve learned a lot about photography. Scenes and images come around again. It’s a matter of knowing what to do. I got hundreds of sunset images. Do I need to stop to take one more? Hmmm? Each time the light is a little different, the clouds unique, the location? It’s kind of like love; I do it ’cause I am.
Hang ’round awhile. What’s the rush? Unfortunately, I shoot a lot of sunset pics from a moving car. Hey! I shot some/something. Did you? But if you hang ’round after the sun goes down, there is an afterglow that follows. That is pretty spectacular and worth shooting too.
Another year older. Last I checked Jules had a goal to visit 30 countries by 30 years old. And for a number of years we were in the Tyler Place on her birthday. She made out like a bandit. She had a party before school ended, another with the family, and the third in Vermont. Now, married. It still seems odd to me. She and Dave have had ups and downs. But they get better with time. I know that when I am with them it’s a lot of fun. But then, that is less and less. It’s nice to have some pics of them together. Funny. In all pics everyone is happy and it’s never raining. It makes you think that life is about sunny days. Well, if you recall, the wedding day it rains sideways. There was a drought in California. Sunny the day before and the day after the wedding, I don’t think anyone cared that it rained. But a lot of very nice shoes got all muddy.
Yes, Happy Birthday Dave. Big one! Thirty years ago. His obstetrician showed up sleepy eyed. She was a member of a group so I met her for the first time in the delivery room. Her name was Ida. Hey! Get it? Ida Ho. The state, the potato, one of the names I wanted for my kids. Or Ivan… She was not too comical at 4AM. And poor Aunt Audrey was there at home taking care of Jules, his sister. She had asked that Dave not be born in the wee hours. She was sweet. She came from the Bronx to watch Julia in the middle of the night. And, my chief resident had last said to me, “Don’t go into labor, we got a big operation in the morning.” And, it was a terribly difficult vertebral artery aneurysm. And of course, we postponed the operation. In order to assuage the poor patient, I told him that I had named my son after him. A year later he appeared for his post op visit and asked how his boy was. My puzzled look was followed by, “You know! Vincent! Vincent Pallazoto Jr.” Oh, yeah!
This is wedding weekend again. You just gotta love the shot. We had a muscle car courtesy of the rental upgrade in Los Angeles. A Dodge Challenger! Yes, it’s a fast car. We never did get to drive it fast. But the boys looked cool sitting on it.
And for Susan, here’s another shot of the kids as they are today. And for those who want to see the dad, here I am again.
Got your attention , huh? As a photographer, I’m usually not in my own pictures from my camera. Dave and I did a selfie. And then I shot Jules and Dave. I’m glad they grew up and are healthy and have jobs and … Yes, wedding for a day, a return to the event and a look back. I should retire. But then again I like what I’m doing. I still have skill. I was fortunate enough to have found a job in which I actually enjoyed the work. I don’t like the side stuff.
No, indeed! But on the whole I never dreaded going to work. So as long as my skill is good and my judgment is sound… There are those who might protest, but I have pulled off some spectacular saves. There are still a few left for me to do. I’m hanging in. Besides, who else is issuing checks to pay the bills. Yin and yang. There is a balance to life. Good and bad, happy and aggravated. Oh! Never let’em see you happy; someone will want to mess with your serenity. Grrrr….
It’s a memory test. Back on March 21, I wrote the first post and forgot two images. Aha! Too late. So, new post. The first is my sea lion. The poor guy was lethargic and in retrospect, I agree, he was probably ill. At the time I was more thankful that he posed and did not shuffle away. In fact, he stayed in place for several hours at least. He made no move when I approached. I apologize that I never considered calling for help.
As I related to you, Stewart arrived twenty minutes later. He’d rushed to get his camera. I already was on the scene and had my camera and my shots. So I took advantage to work the scene. It was at Stewart’s expense. His daughter and mine are best friends from kindergarten. So Stewart and I have spent many a time photographing subjects. One rule: get low, it gives you a more natural image from that angle. Adapting that, he knelt on the pavement. A purist would have gone for the rocks. I laughed. The daughters will too. Me? I just sat down. No need to scrape my knees and elbows. I took advantage of civilization.
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.
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.