Not so hard
Find a picture when you need it. I have nearly 500k images in my current catalog. It is akin to a needle in a haystack. I have never tried that either.
I hit a random shot of dinner with Jane. Cheers! We do not have a large family. And we do. There are a lot of moving parts. I do manage to get groupings. And there is always someone missing. Meanwhile, it was an interesting past year wherein people got together in unexpected groupings. I am happy to say it was a good year.
Family photo. I just call. The cats obediently line up. Click. Done.
This particular time Elle led us on a merry chase. She’s smart. And quick. We eventually caught her. No one gets to decline my invitation to be in the family photo. Yeah, yeah, it ain’t perfect. The lighting is the same – flash. And the camera is on a tripod. So, except for the position of the models it should all match up pretty well. In theory?! In reality it is never quite ideal. Multiple redundant shots are used to get acceptable poses. It is good enough to pass a casual test. Alas, this image portrays our family and changes that have occurred. It’s seven cats – count ‘em. Soon enough that number may change (increase). I am feeling lucky! No doubt I feel so very fortunate to have a wonderful family.
What’s fake? The straight line? Ha ha, no. Spice and Peas are next to one another. They are arch enemies. Wrong! Colleen has identified Peas next to Feather. Shhh… I cannot tell the kids apart. Birthdays? Don’t ask.
The family has been gathering for a very long time in this place at this time. Call it reunion. It happens annually. There are fulltime residents/relatives close-by in disparate branches of the family to make massive gatherings of 40 or more. Is it hello? Or good-bye? The picture could go either way. Too soon! Younger. Older. The groups change. It’s all bittersweet. Hugs and kisses. Wave!
Missing? Ha ha. It’s cats and flowers. I simply have too many. Flowers are available in great quantity, too numerous to choose one above the others. Cats, I have seven. Try to herd them together. Nope, not happening. The best I can do is to get some individual shots (of the cats) and usually I will not see them all at the same time. Feather is smart enough to avoid me when she wants to hide. Smart cats? Oh, yes! May I also “point” out that the family responds to command and suggestion differently as is amply on display here. They are cooperative but can be hard to herd together too.
Who thought of this? I was along for the photo-op – the only guy at the party. High tea! – the way it oughta be. Hats! Dress-up. Tea. Tea sandwiches and little desserts. There was even a tiered arrangement stacked with goodies to eat. I wonder whether the guest of honor will remember this high tea in her honor? A good time was had by all.
Group shots. Same ole. Same pose. Create? Creative. Do something different? I tried jump. It’s too crowded. Raise your hands. That can be done. Not too good (results). Raise one hand. It works. It’s different. Been there done that. Point?! Hmmm…. Funny, it was hard to get the group to point simultaneously. Really?! Eventually, they did it. I may be on to something here. Group shots.!? Fun. It is documentation of a gathering. Family, they were all here in this time and this place. Priceless.
I have a secret life. ??? I am shy. My interests are unlike most other people. In other words they find me boring or I do them. Large groups are worse. It is a lot of noise and chatter. Politics no, nope, nada – outta bounds. What? So, I just circulate the room and never say anything. No harm no foul. I enjoy my solitude with Colleen. As for the rest, they all pose when I point the camera as I document the family legacy. Who would remember the conversation anyway? The upshot: I was there: we wuz there: there is a historical record for the generations to come. Good. Boo! Negative waves! Nope, a good time was had by all… see the smiles!
At the end of the day photography is about creating anchors for your memory. Landscape and wildlife shots are ooo and ah. But the real keepers are the photos of family and friends to commemorate a gathering that can be recalled in some future years. How quickly does memory fade and how poignant to see loved ones. Some folks are camera shy and reluctant. It cuts both ways with few appreciating the value and later realizing that the legacy is so sweet. I try to get groups whenever I can. Some are larger than others. All folks seem to appreciate the effort and gesture. Herding cats is akin and often the pics are not ideal for everyone especially if your eyes were closed. But it is the record. After seeing so many poor grainy black and white groupings from the past, mine are apropos to the times and the technology available today. With a remote control I am even in many of the shots.
I am unable to reliably compare my mania to others (who scan slides). But, I have an external hard drive with nearly 2 tb of scanned slides. I can tell you there are about 117k legitimate slides. This covers the 1970’s to 2004. In early June, 2004, I received my digital Nikon D70 and David’s graduation was the occasion of the last slides I took. Boom, just like that. I was digital. Jules hated digital for a long time. “They don’t look real.” And she could always tell the difference. Today, she tells me, “But dad, I always have my phone (iPhone 12) and it’s so handy when Noa does something cute.” My darkroom and all its equipment sits in the basement gathering dust. Digital is “free!” I just got 256gb SD cards for $20 a piece. A roll of film today would run around $9 a roll of 36 images. 256gb of memory card will give tens of thousands of images. It’s FREE! I am still poor from my film days and parsimony was ever with me. It’s why I bulk loaded my own Kodak slide film, developed it, and eventually printed a few. When I finally had money, it was a long time to shed those habits. Now, it’s off to CVS or Mpix for prints/enlargements with minimal turnaround time. Efficiency? It takes about a minute to scan one slide. You do the math. External hard drives started at around 40mb and now are up to 12tb. Memory keep dropping in price as my need keeps increasing. No need to be efficient or sparing, there’s always more memory you can get. Eventually, my kids asked, “Dad, why is the dog your screensaver on your phone?” “Because,” I replied, “I like the dog better.” I’ve come a long long way. i hope there is still a ways to go.
It was holiday ritual, the family group shot. In retrospect, any picture was precious no matter who had their eyes closed or was making a funny face. Duty. I’m glad i did it. I wish I had been more diligent. There were a lot of missed opportunities too.
If you would believe it, my kids liked raking leaves. Go figure. And then they would jump into the pile from ladders and trees. The compressed them for me to make bagging easier. It was an annual fall ritual. Fondly, I remember the time.
Some of the earliest slides come from my med school years. Yes, I lost a lot of early memory and experience before I started keeping track.
It’s the annual Christmas picture. And I am even posting at an apropos time. Colleen casually drops – “Do you know what? …. We should do….” And then it’s about …. hours, days of work for me. Yeah, I try to ignore her. Dammit! I get sucked in. The cats suffer. We all have to sacrifice…. First I round them up (each cat). They pose only very reluctantly. Seven cats!! Sure, I could just pose one twin twice three times …. no cheating! And then we have to take a shower – hair’s gotta be right! Note: no pants were worn for this photoshoot – by animal or human. (Ha ha) And then it’s hours in photoshop. Yup, it takes time. I’m ok, not great. But the effect…. Hey! Add some text, like merry and happy. Never ever listen – “Do you know what?” …
YES!!! They all just jumped up at once and let me take their picture…. really!! Honest! Truth!
When we finally arrived in Taif, we were lost. I was traveling with 28 nurses, two husbands and our Arabic driver. What with the different languages, I was not privy to the fact that we didn’t know where to go. We just drove up and down like we didn’t know where to go. So, at one stop I turned around. My companions liked to have their picture taken. Everyone was awake and they all smiled… so I took the picture. It’s not supposed to work out this well in an enclosed space at least 15-20 feet in depth. The depth of field on my camera is not that great and everyone keeps saying that the lens isn’t that wonderful. I would have to say that luck played a role. Not bad… not bad at all.