I’m shy. Herding groups, directing groups, is not my specialty. (See: cats.) Everyone is good humored and used to my cajoling albeit some reluctantly. Nonetheless everyone understands the importance of documenting family. (cats excepted) I am indeed fortunate to be able to gather loved ones and get a shot – or two. The carrot is that I post them so they are shared and preserved for all. Yeah, it’s hard to herd cats.
I casually offered. They accepted. You learn new things every day. How about the cat tower? Hmmm… I had not thought about that nor had ever tried it. Cooperation? Hardly?!! Mike and Jen thought (innocently) they could hold all four cats for a single take. A single picture? They have seen Colleen’s pics. We did it with seven cats across the table. Easy! About 101 pictures later… They had great ideas and we improvised as we went along. Nut crackers, cat tower, oh my! Done! I’d do it again… no cats were harmed… a few scratches later…
Old slides. On her 40th (b’day), I took lisa to London. It was a grand gesture. I had recently left my group medical practice to go on my own. It was a scary time. And about that time we were in Disney as the slides indicate. Apparently, I was mad at the mother in law – a sweet lady who had done nothing to deserve… lisa had always had issues (Freudian). Lila was traveling with Ann who took the picture explaining the group shot of the family in London. Confused? Me too.
Aside from the horse guards, the London bus is pretty assuredly a London tip off. An aside – Dave carried around a pig, a stuffed pig, everywhere we went on that trip. He spoke to the pig. I never did figure that one out. And he has never mentioned nor told me what was in his head. I never saw the pig again when we returned. I am puzzled to this day over the fact that my usual generosity was absent and we did not share a single meal with Lila or Ann when we met in London. It was a most strange encounter of the family kind.
Look up – search – “copy” on the hard drive. Hmmm. Hole in the head, not hole in the wall…. It seems that we shot a lot of group shots of our cats. Brilliant?! The years are different but seem to be annual more recently. I get the idea to do it again in November. It works. I guess I shall do it again and again. Meanwhile, the shots are ever more precious. They remind us of love found and love lost. Cats may come and go but they are ever in our hearts. We are so lucky to be together, one and all.
You go through the holidays. We got through the first leg – Thanksgiving. Christmas to come, it should be ever interesting. We managed to pull it off. Smiles! We had some. And there were members of the family who would have rather avoided the camera but reluctantly posed. Jen scrapbooks. A lot of the group shots are for her. And we will do it once more next year. I hope. Meanwhile my cats remain ever obedient and climb right up on the table whenever I call.
Harry Connick Jr sang… and with a bit of luck I never have to be alone again on New Year’s. Ah! Peace and serenity. It sure is good to have it and if you get it, it sure is good to have it at the end. I got no complaints. It is like an O Henry story around here. We trip over one another worrying about the other. Are you happy? Are you ok? You bet!!
At my age not too many weddings occur. I suppose that is not true. All the kids, nephews and nieces… ha ha. There was only one girl, Jules on my side of the family. She’s married already. Well, there are a few more – two more…. It was interesting to see who brought who to the wedding. And it is equally telling to see who is still together. One of us has declared he is gay. I guess the girl he brought was a beard. I am still with Colleen. Some might have mixed feelings. Not us!
Success does not depend upon the food. The food is the centerpiece. Does it matter. No. it is the people. It is family. It is gathering together after three long years of covid separation. We survived. Some had it. Twice. We were fortunate to have missed Covid. Safe? No. There is a positive number for new cases and deaths. But the risk? is at acceptable levels. All the old recipes were pulled. My turkey was made in our new oven which overcooked the bird in less time than we expected. No one complained. It was as though we were seeing long lost relatives. Mistakes were made. And everyone had an excellent time. No one went away hungry.
It will always be thus. You regret the pictures you did not take. And you continue to not take the very same pictures you regretted going forward into the future. Eh? Why?
There are almost no group pictures of me and my brothers as adults. We gathered regularly especially at the holidays. We lived close enough to be at one another’s homes. Group pictures with the family were done pretty regularly. Sentiment? Anyone? Did anyone? Well, there are images of us individually and so forth. You cannot go back and shoot again. And it appears no one else has the sentiment. Had the sentiment. Will have the sentiment. Do better? No, I fear it’s just more of the same. Hold on to those you love tightly.
Family photo time! My timing was poor. Colleen said no and had a fit. We were just getting over severe colds and she was sleep deprived and still coughing. Plus, we were in a cooking frenzy a few days before Thanksgiving. Ha ha, it ain’r a pretty picture.
Take seven cats and ask them to cooperate. Right?! Each was frog marched up to the table and forced to look at the camera. Cooperation was at a minimum. Jen laughed at how happy Willow looked to be there. The passable shots were melded. Voila!
We got photobombed. Spice is over Colleen’s left shoulder. So, I got eight cats and didn’t know it.
Happy Holidays from our Family to yours.
If you are going to do this, then go for it. Multiple shots and poses. It took about 130 shots in all. And no, it was not perfect. But this is all tongue in cheek. Eh?! A few years back the ladies in the drug store giggled. The peeked at my prints and were impressed that the cats all lined up. With straight face I told them I have trained cats….
As you can readily see Colleen came around to my way of thinking. We truly do love our cats.
“Ok! All you guys, get up on the table and smile. Now!”
For about two weeks in the summer I chase family groups. It’s not too hard. You announce group photo and everyone slowly gathers. If you stand back far enough no one really notices if someone has their eyes closed. I shoot multiples, just in case…. There are plenty of smiles. Groups are generally all different in composition. With camera in hand there is always something for me to do. Thankfully no one complains about their picture in the posted photos.
Planning. Herding cats. Family. They are willing subjects. Just reluctant. Good natured, I suppose they value the historical memory. These images will filter down thru the years…. Who’s there? Who’s missing? I do it because I can. Will anyone care? The remote control for the camera has a battery. I have never replaced it – in years and years. This family keeps reunion(ing) about once a year…. Take multiple shots. Someone always has their eyes closed.
It’s like an O Henry story – everyone is trying to do the right thing and we all miss by, that much. Alternately – no good deed shall go unpunished. Or, vacation – a game the whole family can play.
We tried to visit Jules and the kids before she started work once more after maternity leave. How many times have I had sick kids during important events? Christmas flu anyone?
No surprise. The little girls were both sick. And Jules…and us. You name it, they got it and had it. And, they shared! The coup de grace was getting shoes and socks soaked when a rogue wave overtook us on the beach! Yeah, well, nothing so dramatic?!
We all stumbled over ourselves trying to be good to one another. Jules wanted to entertain us. She wanted to take us to see things. She wanted me to cook with Noa. Etc etc… I was not at all demanding and wanted everyone to get well. We just never seemed to mesh. Plenty of smiles but there was a lot of illness. Funny. The kids never did look too ill. Neither were we.
Colleen and I spent the second night home alternately coughing and trying not to wake one another. The girls are mending. Jules missed her first day to return to school. And, it was all on Halloween. Boo!
Eight pictures six cats. We are doing a kitchen renovation. The cats are kept free and separated from the workmen. I got two or three (cats). They are spooked. Strangers! So, they hide. The others are with Colleen and want to see. They are ready to go explore the doings. Sort of. Several want out. Freedom! And Feather? She has steadfastly remained hidden under the couch since the doorbell rang.
How much is enough? I never know. It’s not a competition. Photo op? How many shots do you take? This was my second time seeing Quinn. I won’t see Noa or Quinn for a while. They live far away. I shot throughout the day – about 7 hours. Colleen shot. Jules shot. Jeff shot with my camera. We got 2000 images. Do you think there was a good one? Sure! From a certain perspective the day was a success. A great success?! I think the moments will be more precious as time passes.
Time flies. Patience was never my forte. Today’s news reported reviving dead pig cells – after death! My my! One last visit before every one departs for home. We made a long road trip, a day trip, to see the grands. Cute! It is bittersweet. We don’t see them often and will not see them for a while now. They grow up so fast! It’s already autumn and every one has returned to their school routines. Will it ever be routine? Covid is among us still. Plot and plan, who flies/drives next? Parenting is so different nowadays. Grandparenting? It’s hard work, just go with it.
Photography? In the old days I might have been content to take a couple pictures of the day – slides – and a group picture at some point. Film cost! So, at most a roll (of 36) or two. Four would have been extravagant. Do the math. I did nearly 2000 shots. Digital is free. Memory cards are cheap. Go for it. It was a memorable day. Here were representative shots of start and finish.
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.
Too numerous to count…. Smiles are everywhere as the family has its annual gathering. The players change, come and go, arrive and depart. The smiles linger. You can’t but help smiling yourself. It’s always hectic. There are personalities, large and small. The smiles tell you all. …it’s a good time. Indeed! Rory was hugging me tight all the while saying, “Mine!” That melted my heart! Of course!!