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!
I forgot to tell you that Jules surfs. She told me and I thought Jeff had just taught her. But no, wrong, jules knows how to surf from being in Mexico with Laura. They are not great, but they can both get up and go. I admit the waves were a bit small, as in nonexistent, this day. They tried a tandem which had disaster written all over it. No, they were not serious.
Yes, they had a lot of fun in the frigid waters of the Pacific. Hey, Hawaii’s in the Pacific. That’s the warm water I remember. Yesterday – that was the Atlantic. Coast to coast and across continents, I’ve seen the Red Sea, Atlantic, Pacific, and flown over the Mediterranean in the past couple weeks. My sleep pattern is so discombobulated.
So a night later Laura came to visit and we did the sunset again. She’s Julia’s best friend.
And Laura was introduced to the reflection sunset in the glass to which she commented, “That’s a Victor picture.” Her family pays enough attention to acknowledge my cunning use of photographic technique to get different rather than mundane. I didn’t know they noticed. And since Laura’s dad is pretty good with a camera, that is high praise.
There were four of us to watch the sunset, so the mystery fifth is a bonus. Perhaps it was the good fairy of sunset photography going by with a smile.
Your kid gets married. You don’t choose the in laws. They are forced upon you. You can only hope your kid has some taste. I met the new in law – father of the groom. How’s this?
“I’ve been given a list of forbidden subjects during our first meeting. How about Trump?”
Needless to say we had an extraordinary breakfast. Oh? Yeah, nice guy. His wife is a Fox news believer. This is gonna be a problem for the mother in laws. I think it would be entertaining to watch. Glad I won’t have a dog in that fight.
Here’s a new variation on an old subject. Jules and I walked the beach and the sun sets due west. I was watching the afterglow and noticed the window reflection. Voila! A new perspective and it was an unexpectedly extraordinary find. It’s neat to find something you have never seen before in a scene you have shot so many times. Yup, an old dog learns.
I’m better. Jules is better. Or maybe she’s just used to my constantly photographing. I shoot everything. I carry an iPhone now. And I usually have a point and shoot Canon S100 in my pocket. Then there is the big one, my Nikon D610. Ready. You can’t get an image if you are not ready in the moment. So it was near sunset with evening light. And the shoot just happened spontaneously.
Jeff then Molly and soon it was a family portrait. Sweet. But you need to have a camera close at hand. I did.
I don’t do selfies well. So instead it’s pretty simple to Photoshop. Take two pictures in the same spot with the same settings and lighting. It’s not perfect. And you don’t send it into the internet instantly. I have the patience to wait. It beats a remote control and tripod.
The second is from inside a redwood tree. You know you are on to something when the very next couple is along to imitate your technique.
And then at Morro Bay this was obviously easy to do. Except that we did not notice the pirate patch was crucial to the shot. Oh well, I did not say we were perfect. Yes, Photoshop could have been modified more. But it was the fun of the day not the accuracy of the image that counted.
Timing. It’s crucial for action shots. You cannot depress the shutter and the motor drive will just get you an actual perfect shot. Nope. It’s done by old fashioned work. Oh, luck too. Ha! Yes, luck too. But mostly it is anticipating the action and then firing the shutter at the precise moment. It’s helps if you visualize and then plan your shot. Or, you just press the shutter and let fly. Didn’t I just tell you that doesn’t work?
I did it. Sure. I’m good. But Jules did too. Ah! She’s as good.
One broken ankle later, Jules is running again. She ran a marathon the year before she broke it. So I am enormously relieved that she is running again. She is not competitive at least from the point of beating anyone because she must. She is her father’s daughter. She likes to win. And she was good. The ankle is still swollen. But she walks and does not appear to have major limitations. Yeah, I’m relieved she healed up.
Photo opportunity. I’m a moderate. Funny to say in the world of extreme politics these days. Amateurs start off shooting the whole field of blooms. And the real purists shoot a tiny microscopic detail. I’m in between. Mostly lazy. I get in close enough to get a detail but not too close to considered a nutty professional. I have a day job and this is for me. No post processing. More and more the image is straight out of the camera minimal cropping and hardly a sign of manipulation.
Oh heavens! Some people cringe! Not raw! Heresy! HDR? I thought he was a former president. Yeah, yeah, kidding. It’s mostly because photography is fun for me. It’s technical, sure. But mostly it is what I like. Every once in a while you wake up and smell the flowers. You knew I would say that. Right?
The Pacific Coast Highway has endless possibilities to catch breathtaking views of the rugged coast. You can stop frequently or not. If you stop, how often? Fortunately, this all depends upon an understanding companion. Fine and good, now, another observation. We stopped. I got my shot. Dramatic.
And there on the other side of the road….well it was a choice – you include the house for depth of field or do you let the fence be your foreground element of interest? Which side of the road?
You can make many choices when you shoot an image. And if you do, it’s no big deal. Film was expensive. A digital image is not. Horizontal or vertical, crop or zoom, you have many ways to capture an image. Why not experiment. Of course if you are perfect, no need. I take single images often. And at other times I am a redundant shooter. Many times I get a wide angle overview. I tend to edit for the close up. This is usually the shot less seen.
But in a scene (word play) one must remember the key elements. The shot of the Bixby Bridge has been done many times. It is the bridge for which the image is famous. So you have to have the bridge.
Even so there are still choices. Of course the choice is yours. Or else I pick and there is only one image today. Ah, too many choices….
How do you like your landscape, with or without? The conventional wisdom is to use a foreground element to give depth to the image. So the presence of flowers and a fence helps to convey depth to a scene. I like both images. No particular preference for me. It’s a nice view on the California coast. Yay! But Nat Geo will only publish one. Which? Hey, it’s my blog so I can show you two. Yes, mine.
There is nothing picturesque about an artichoke in the market. You can barely make one out behind this flower. So you can imagine (maybe not) my amazement to see this flower and find out it was an artichoke blossom. Ok, if you’ve never seen an artichoke, just smile. I find that most people are unfamiliar with the vegetable and how to eat much less prepare it. There really isn’t too much to do. It’s what you season with that counts. Garlic or garlic and lots of bread crumbs, either way it’s gonna taste good. And no, I will not tell you exactly how to eat it. Look on the ‘net. Meanwhile this is an artichoke flower. Neat! I learned something too.
Walking in Manhattan Beach I chanced upon a group of kids headed up the road. Nice shot. Gotta have your camera ready. I was walking the dog with Jules. There they were and moment later they separated and went over the hill. Buddies. Girls and guys, innocent, and I hope, happy. Life looked like it did not weigh heavily on this day. Soon enough work and worries intrude. Love. Life and death. For now the worst is social media and the report card and SAT and college and….
We were up in San Luis Opisbo. It was dinner, fast, before heading to the drive-in movie. Pot pie – it’s comfort food. I was in the mood. It worked well. Nothing fancy, it was still memorable. Add – fried artichokes – it was a California dinner after all. I’m surprised how many people don’t know artichokes. So, you can’t see the food. The artichoke is batter fried. About anything fried and battered is good. And the pie crust covers the pot. Yes, but you didn’t taste either. I assure you that this was good.
After dark, and it’s really dark when you camp, there’s not much to do except tell camp stories. Really! So Jules whipped out this game. She and Jeff camp and they have a portable version. Catan, you may know it.
I have never played. I beat her pants off. She was chagrined. It is a dice based turn game. And I had the lucky dice. She did not let me win. I would have let her win, but the dice were the dice. Her dice….no pants.
So here’s the story…. There was this sign at the fork in the road. One way to the waterfall and the other to who knows. We went to the waterfall. And it was uphill and then very very down hill. I guess we had to get to the bottom of the falls. It seems the best view is always from the bottom. Hmmmm…not Niagra? And after we got there the light was poor. Even with checking and with my spiffy see in the dark camera, it was hard and I did not really get a good pic of Jules.
Too bad. We got some images. I can show you something. I’d do this photo op again just to get a proper picture. But it seems that this was another of life’s one way trips. You don’t go back in time or distance.Got a selfie. High road, low road? Life’s full of choices. If I knew, would we have stayed to get a better picture? No backs.