Sunday, April 20, 2008

Late Date...

Prom season is here!!! We had a busy weekend last weekend with my oldest daughter and her senior prom, and my youngest attending two different proms. I am pretty sure( I can't keep up!) that we still have one coming up next weekend. I will be glad when it is over. As a father, I can say with certainty that the best part of prom is when they whisper through my bedroom door, "I'm home".

I do like the idea of a prom for the photographic possibilities. A time when the girls have a chance to pretty-up and are actually willing to have their photos taken. Of course it just so happens that our climbing rose on the patio blooms every year for prom. That makes it even all the more better!!!

I know that many of my blog visits are by family and friends. Statistics, however, lead me to believe that most of my visitors are fellow photographers. Either way what we all have in common is that the majority of us are watching our children, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews grow up. So for the sake of sentimentalism I have a story to share about a photograph I captured on last year's prom night, and a bit of advice.

The first photo in this post is a shot of my daughter Kristina in the mirror. It was taken this year as she was preparing for her senior prom. I have always made it a habit to grab a few of these type shots as the girls prepare for such events. I chose to give this particular photograph an aged look, and I am pleased with the results.

The last photograph in this post(below) is a similar type one that I captured last year as she was preparing for her junior prom. Looking at it you will notice several things. First and foremost the photo was captured with an exagerrated tilt. I shot the photo through a 50mm prime lens in a fairly tight area. The tilt was needed to keep the elements of the composition inside the frame. All of the elements in this composition are important to the story that this photograph tells. Secondly, this photo is finished with an aged look achieved by processing it as a duotone. This was an easy choice at the time since the color of her clothing and all of the items on the counter were a distraction to what was really going on in this image. Lastly is the story itself. The photograph depicts Kristina applying make-up while sitting on the vanity with her feet in the sink. This, of course, used to be a common occurance anytime she was doing her hair or make-up. In fact, while I did make sure that the photograph clearly depicted her sitting on the vanity, the specialness of her action did not really cross my mind. As I said, we saw her doing this every day.

Now the sad part...

The day that I captured that photograph was the last time that I can remember seeing her sit like that while dolling herself up. The end of an era in my home. That simple fact makes this photograph priceless to me. It is another example of how fast our kids grow up. Their habits that are cute and commonplace could be only a memory as soon as tommorrow. My advice to you is to be absolutely sure that you are capturing these memories of your little ones. Words cannot even begin to express how thankfull I am that I was there on that day to capture this image of her. There she is...through the lens...for all time.

Help!!!...I Can't Keep Up!!!.....

The saying "time marches on" is completely off the mark. "Time races on, nearly ahead of us, swallowing everything up in it's wake" would be a more accurate phrase. Maybe it is common among "over 40" adults and they just don't talk about it, but lately I cannot help but feel that time has slipped like sand through my very fingers. My son, the oldest of our three children is graduating from college in one month. If that isn't enough, my oldest daughter will graduate high school the same week. I feel as though I have lost something that is terribly important to my existence.

A week or so ago the Army Corps of Engineers opened the gates at the Bonnet Carre Spillway. This is a flood control gate that diverts water from the swollen Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain just north of New Orleans. The last time this protection system was used was in 1997, eleven years ago. It so happens that eleven years ago I drove the family to downtown Baton Rouge and we walked up on the levee to witness the historic high water level. I did not remember bringing a camera, but I did.

I was charged, last week, with putting together a slide show for our church to honor our high school seniors. We do this every year. Among the sports and senior portraits we include photos of the kids that were taken at various stages in life. So I found myself digging through boxes of old photos when the photo above presented itself. That is Kristina in the center(our high school senior) and Josh just to the left (our college senior). At the very left of the frame is Kim and Breanna. I didn't include the photo in the slideshow, but brought it to work to show the guys how high the water was in 1997. It so happens that I was also planning my 10 year service celebration at work this week. I am treating the guys to boiled shrimp and fried fish next week.

Joshua, Breanna, and Kristina last week

It dawned on me, when all these various events of the week lined up together that it really seems as if I started that job yesterday. The photo was taken only one year before. My kids are sooo tiny in that photo, and now they are all but grown. What is going on? I can't keep up!!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Ghosts of the South

I was delighted last week to be asked to do some senior photographs in beautiful St. Francisville, LA. Only a short drive from Baton Rouge, it is almost like taking a trip back in time to this quaint town. St. Francisville is home to a long history and many antebellum and plantation homes.

One of our stops last week was at The Myrtles plantation. This home is most famous for it's purported hauntings. The lush grounds are shaded by giant live oaks and spanish moss. We also spent some time on the grounds of Grace Episcopal Church, and at the heritage museum in Zachary, La.

The young lady in the photographs is Rachel. She will be graduating high school in May. I have had the pleasure of knowing Rachel and her family since she was not much more than a toddler. We wish Rachel all the best in her future.

Grace Episcopal Church

Rachel and I at the Heritage Museum in Zachary, La