Two of a Kind

BeckyB’s October Squares: Kind
One Word Sunday: Two

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This pair of three year old feet were two of a silly kind during a memorable FaceTime moment last year.

Dinner Time Shenanigans

First…one bare foot appeared and propped itself up on the table…then disappeared at Mama’s gentle request…

Seconds later, it returned when mama looked away.

Disappeared again.

Then back in a flash.

Grandma (me) started giggling.

Then foot number 2 joined the fun.

Mama gave up.

And…as we all know…laughter is contagious.

Up Close and Personal…looking back

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge: Up Close and Personal

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO OF CLOSE UPS (HUMAN OR NOT).

SixWordSaturday

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How could I NOT post photos for this challenge! Up close and personal – whether it be human or not – is my passion in photography.

I searched through my archives for these two shots. By archives I mean an extensive collection of photo albums (with negatives!) – which take up an entire bookshelf in the living room.

As I mentioned in my last post, I took pictures of my children “at every milestone”…however, I also tried to capture their “ordinary” days. Playing outside and taking a break for a drink or snack on the deck…as was the case for my 1½ year old son below. Or watching daddy play guitar and sing at a local apple harvest festival at the age of 4½…as my daughter was in the second photo below.

Catching my kids in a quiet moment was always a challenge, as they loved to grin or pose or make silly faces when I pulled out my camera. Often waiting patiently while I focused – no autofocus back then. As they got older, they would hold up 2 fingers in a peace sign pose to give me something to easily focus on…quicker.

I really love these two photographs because I can see a glimpse of who they are now. And it makes me smile. The eyes. The expressions. Children are so beautiful in their transparency.

From Camp to Kites

A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away. 

Eudora Welty

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This post inspired by two challenges this week…

Lens-Artists Challenge #115: Inspiration

We look forward to seeing your thoughts and images on what inspires YOU.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #113: How It All Started

…think back to those moments that changed your life. No need to use the prompt; just demonstrate how “it” started.

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I was only 10 years old when I got my first camera. And fell in love with photography. I don’t remember the circumstances of who gave me the camera or why. I just thought it was cool (or as we used to say back then…”Keen!”…”Sharp!”) and I’ve never been without one since.

My first attempts at photography – with a Kodak Brownie camera and black & white film – manifested as square blurry images of trees, lean-tos, and other 10 year olds at Girl Scout camp. Hard to believe that a week of rustic living became a defining moment in my life as a photographer, but I guess it did. This despite my most vivid memory being the latrines (just plywood for seats, people – I mean seriously?) and how I dreaded making the trip to That Building (no pictures, sorry).

It was also where I discovered (after the film was developed) that when I held the camera on the lean-to railing the blurring disappeared…

Over time, I slowly improved at steadying the camera and moved on to capturing my younger siblings when they least expected it. As the years went by I became the family photo historian by default. Even more so when I advanced to color film! Very exciting.

My friends knew I would always show up with a camera as the unofficial keeper of the memories. Even at a young age I became acutely aware of how quickly life – and people – could change. It became very important – for me at least – to preserve what I could. I do remember feeling all of that. Which kind of astounds me now.

Oh…and it was fun.

I was 14 ½ when my 4th and youngest sibling was born and he became a willing subject for photography practice. Never mind that he was exceedingly cute and followed me around constantly. I was “in charge” of him most of the time so taking pictures was easy.

The photographs I took at college and summer jobs are best left off the internet, but they are definitely treasured keepsakes.

I graduated to a Canon SLR camera shortly after I got married and burst onto the taking-pictures-of-my-children-at-every-milestone-possible scene. They were my inspiration for decades and have appeared in many blog posts, so I will restrain myself from adding them in here. Same goes for my grandson, who is now 4 and very comfortable getting his picture taken as a child of the smartphone generation.

However, now (accompanied by a Canon DSLR camera) I am also inspired by the ordinary…what’s outside my window…down the path into the woods…winding around that chain link fence. The mesmerizing waves at the beach. I am constantly looking up and down and to the side…not in as much of a hurry as I used to be.

The best photo moment – for me – still springs from the unexpected…no matter what (or who) the subject happens to be.

Last week I was able to return – after several months of Covid restrictions – to walk along the water’s edge at Hampton Beach. The tourist season is over. Crowds are gone. The parking rules have been relaxed. I couldn’t resist the trip on such a beautiful…sunny…blue sky windy day. Even with a mask on, it was worth it.

As I made my way across the sand to walk back along the street, I spotted something bright in the sky.

Off came the lens cover.

It wasn’t the surf or the rocks or what usually fascinates me about the beach.

I had to get a closer shot.

I set the camera on what I call Grandson Mode or Freezing the Action Mode.

And I was off…

Hampton Beach, NH

And…by the way…it is still fun.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: A Labor of Love

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113: A Labor of Love

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When you are only 13 years old and decide to sew a patchwork quilt for your parents, it’s a labor of love. That’s what my daughter did 25 years ago amidst her very busy life as a middle school student.

She sewed our Christmas gift that year (and I think it took all year!)…by machine and by hand and presented her father and me with a quilted king sized bedspread, which has lasted to this day.

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Christmas Day 1995

Fandango’s Friday Flashback: September 4

Inspired by Fandango’s Friday Flashback: September 4

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year…How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

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This post was originally published on September 4, 2018

Last Friday’s flashback had also been an entry for Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge. Still wondering if/when he’ll be back. Hoping he will be!

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Tuesday Photo Challenge – Backyard

Here is my entry for this week’s challenge hosted by “Dutch goes the Photo”

https://dutchgoesthephoto.net/2018/09/04/tuesday-photo-challenge-backyard/

The theme this week is “Backyard”

Backyards are often places where families gather. Children run, jump, play, swim and learn about their outdoor world. For many, a backyard is where bare feet first touch blades of grass – or – where a squirrel is first spotted racing up a tree…

And in these vintage 35mm photos…

A backyard is for reading library books in a hammock with daddy.

backyard003

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And a backyard is where little brother and big sister cool off and share a sprinkler on a hot summer day.

backyard001

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Just a Few Words Wednesday

(This was going to be a Wordless Wednesday post, but pairing it with Nancy Merrill’s vacation memories challenge made the wordless part too challenging…)

Photo a Week: Vacation Memories

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Covidcation 2020
Pocono Summit, Pennsylvania
Four Days of Quarantined Family Fun

From lakeside….

morning lake

To a nearby deserted baseball field one morning…

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Back to lakeside at day’s end…

firepit end of day

…three generations gathered.

sunset on the lake
Treasured memories…well documented.

Fandango’s Friday Flashback: August 28

Inspired by Fandango’s Friday Flashback: August 28

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year….How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

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This post was originally published on August 28, 2018 

This also makes me wonder what happened to Frank at Dutch goes the Photo (whose blog this post was linked to). I always enjoyed his Tuesday photo challenges. I am also forever grateful for his helpful advice in choosing a new camera last year. I hope he is okay!

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Tuesday Photo Challenge – Lift

Here is my entry for this week’s challenge hosted by “Dutch goes the Photo”

https://dutchgoesthephoto.net/2018/08/28/tuesday-photo-challenge-lift/

The theme this week is “Lift”

Lifting brings to mind the story of a maple tree. A crimson king maple tree to be exact.

We planted this maple tree with great care a few months after moving into our new bare-bones house and 1/2 acre. A young tree, it was just beginning to grow, as our young family was too.

Thirty five years later, the tree had grown at least 40 feet high…wedging itself between the deck and garage we also built along the way. We planned them both around this tree, but it wasn’t enough space in the end.

The tree had to go. And it had to be lifted from the back yard, swung around to the front, lowered and then put through the chipper.

Exactly a year after we said goodbye to this tree, we signed the papers to sell our no-longer-bare-bones home and its half-acre.

lift
Tree’s End – Lifted Away

 

IMG_0337
Shortly before liftoff

1980 tree003
Tree’s Beginning – 35 years earlier

 

An All Too Brief Pandemic Pause

 

on the road

What a sight it was a week ago Friday.

Six hours of driving (almost) nonstop. Highways to city streets to country roads. Following the GPS lady’s directions – every minute bringing us closer to our CovidCation. The weather was beautiful – almost too good to be true.

Faster and faster we drove (well I did…my husband’s foot is not as leaden as mine).

We were out-running a virus after all.

Get my lunch out of the backseat please! The car was packed with 2 coolers, 2 suitcases and laundry baskets full of necessities. My gluten free toaster in one of them. As we learned bringing our kids to college, laundry baskets work out well for car trips…as they can nest when they’re empty for the trip home.

It occurred to me that travel by car meant I could bring Full Size Bottles of whatever I wanted. So I did.

My laptop and our cameras…carefully packed. We remembered the tripod for a group photo. Paw Patrol bubbles (but of course). Decks of cards. Guitar.

We arrived at the lake house in the Pocono Mountains around 6:30 pm.

Within a minute a short blonde 4 year old came running out…Grandma! And somehow he was up in my arms with his arms wrapped around my neck, legs encircling my waist. I don’t know how I picked him up but I must have. The first full on leap into my arms hug since February. Far too long.

After that, my daughter and I shared a good long hug. Face to face for the first time in 6 months. Then hugs for my son-in-law, my son and his girlfriend. We had tested and quarantined and stayed safe. Carefully planned and orchestrated.

All those hugs felt so good.

Of course we were joined by the two family dogs: Lutra and Taco (who have been featured in this blog before). They enjoyed themselves immensely as well.

We were in our own little bubble.

bubbles

A four day pause from virus fears.

firepit

What a sight to see.

No masks.

No social distancing…except from the family swimming across the lake.
(Grandma which one is the dada and which one is the mama? Grandma I think the bigger one is the dada….)

ducks

It was glorious.

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V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #109: What a Sight
Ragtag Daily Prompt: Pause
SixWordSaturday