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Happy 1st Birthday Oliver!

It's been one hell of a ride.  You've made us appreciative of so many things in life.  Sleep may be at the top of the list :)

Through it all, I feel most fortunate to have your Mom by my side. You see...she's the key to it all and I'm confident you'll pick up on that over the years ahead.

I love your hugs and that smile you wear more times than not.  You make all of us laugh and you have your mom's sparkle in your eyes.

We're lucky to have you son...and we're really excited to celebrate with you today...

Oliver.

Owl-iver.

Ollimon.

Ollie.

We love you!

Find Something to Hold on to...

These days I find my head swirling

…and while I think fatigue is always a given

Life is just…

Swirling

…with good news and bad

…via social media feeds

Texts

Calls

…whether they’re my own, Sara’s or someone else close to me

The flow…is fierce

Any lulls are short lived

…but welcome

 

So welcome

 

…like a quiet morning just before first light

When the world, it seems…

Doesn’t quite rest (as it should)..

…but pause

…for a quick breath

Before jumping back into the hustle

 

Where simple walks with Finn make way…

…for a clear head

And promise of nothing more than a walk.
The here. The now.

 

I experience this like everyone else

…but can’t help feeling removed more times than not

Feet firmly planted in my own mire…

…sunken down a few inches into the sediment as if I’m making every effort to take root

To be steadfast

Detached

 

…to resist.

 

And I watch

…and can almost see the wind kick up

…and the swirl start

…and the torrent of activity

Sucking up all within its path…

…willing or not

 

A new day is here.

 

Find something to hold on to…

 

Boys Hope Girls Hope

It's been about a year in the making -- I'm happy to share that I'll be documenting the good things happening at Boys Hope Girls Hope Baltimore in 2016. Last week I visited both homes and I'm really looking forward to meeting all of the kids and helping to tell their stories.  When I do this sort of work, I truly feel the impact of photography...and my heart beats a little stronger. Stay tuned...

January...

Slower days.

I've disconnected in a lot of ways...

...from the larger, social world

...and like a hibernating bear, I'm finding comfort in my cave.

The solitude soothes me...

...giving my own thoughts room to breathe and meander.

To just be.

It won't be like this long.

The demands of life and providing dictate otherwise.

But these mornings....

...these slower days

Sustain me.

Making...

Cookies.

Memories.

Time together.

...fill in the blank.

 

We're always making something...

...even when we're not physically making something.

And the craziest...

Loudest,

Most frustrating,

Messy,

Chaotic,

....times, 

Make for some of the biggest smiles...

...the fondest memories.

...and the best times together.

 

They don't appear so zany on the flip side.

Rather...they're Imperfectly perfect.

Like each of us.

...and that's pretty damn special.

Miss you Buddy...

It’s been 2 years my ole friend...

…we’ve painted walls that once wore your slobbery mark

...we've added a little guy, Oliver, to the nest

...and Yeay's taken over my office space full time

I think of you often...

Mostly when I'm walking Finn

...or on the occasion when you visit us in a  beautiful sunset. 

Can you hear the kids?

'Look...it's Henry.  Henry is saying Hi. Hi Henry'

I sure hope their voices reach your ears -- as wrinkled and curled over as they were...

It's those times when I'm reminded again of the fabric of family...

...and how there's a hole in ours where you once were

That draft can bring in sad feelings of loss and wishful thinking of seeing you again.

It simultaneously provides a space for light to enter...

...and brings a warm reminder that you'll always be shining on us...and in us...

...until we meet again.

Miss you Buddy...



Finding our way...

It’s never clear really…

What’s next?

…around the bend

We make plans

Dream

Go through the motions

…and life sorta happens

Flowing

Like a big beautiful river

 

Often times I watch from the banks

Where it feels safe

Quiet

I sit still

Gaze

…and just watch

I’m not much of a swimmer

So you can imagine what the other times are like

 

I enjoy watching my kiddos skirt along the edges…

Jumping in periodically

Testing the waters (and themselves)

…and racing back to my side

Hearts racing

Breathless

 

We’re in good place

 

Making it up as we go along

 

Finding our way…

 



The Best Pictures I Never Took...

Laying on the couch.

Working remotely on my laptop.

Recouping from further kidney stone adventures.

Editing photos from Maine.

Surrounded by family.

Sara and Oliver playing on the floor.

Mady watching Netflix on her iPad.

Liam running around, being Liam.

Frames forming in my mind.

From my vantage point.

From above.

From the nearby stairwell.

No need to turn my head.

Clear in my peripheral vision.

Even now...in my noggin.

Surrounding me still.

And they're perfect.

Right where they are.

The best pictures I never took.

The Difference a Day Makes...

Yesterday I woke up not feeling quite like myself.

I ended up spending about 4 hours in the ER.

The diagnosis...kidney stones. Pain level...the worst I've ever felt in my life.

This morning I woke up feeling normal.  I'm not sure if I've passed anything yet or whether things have just shifted into a favorable position.  

Either way, I'm feeling fortunate and enjoying this view.

The difference a day makes. 

Yet another reminder to soak in these days (and the ones that you love most) because you never know what's around the next bend in the road...

Pure Magic..

I need to write…

…but lately I’ve been having a hard time finding the words.

So what better way to deal with it, then by doing it.

That’s the rub, right?

 

The thing that drives and inspires us…

…can also be a huge source of frustration when things aren’t flowing.

It’s rut inducing…

…and for me, the inner critic comes out at every turn…

…mocking (what appears to me as) my inability to create.

 

These days can (and do) multiply quickly.

Endlessly at times.

Piling atop of one another, creating a stifling weight.

…and it’s heavy.

Truly.

 

Ironically, these are the some of the best moments.

They make me appreciative of the flipside…

…and when that moment comes…and it will although it feels like it may never…

…when the dam breaks

…when the clouds dissipate

…when a breath of fresh air finds its way to the tip of your nose

…when things dry out and conditions become ideal for a spark

That moment.

That seemingly needle in the haystack…

…so elusive, yet so close at hand

…finds its way to you.

It’s magical.


Pure magic.

A Few with the Leica Q...

Today I had an opportunity to get my hands on the new Leica Q. I really wanted to get it out and put it through the paces on a family shoot that I had in the afternoon...but the DC store only had 1 on display.

I'm not a technical guy, so my apologies for the brevity.  Here are my first impressions...

Solid build. It's what you come to expect from Leica.  The Q does not disappoint.  It feels good in the hand and for me....just right.  It's slightly larger than the Fuji X-100T.  There was no strap on this demo unit, but I didn't feel apprehensive holding it.  It's not as slippery as I've heard others reviewers mention...although I would prefer some sort of leatherette/rough finish.  The built in notch for your thumb rest is a nice touch.  Later, I tried the optional hand grip and it definitely made the camera 'fit' and feel that much more solid -- note, using this grip does cover the battery/flash card.

The shutter is very discreet/quiet -- you're in stealth mode at all times.

Auto-focus is probably the fastest and most accurate (of any mirrorless camera) that I have tried.  I took a few shots inside (which was on the dark side) and didn't have any issues locking in. ISO performance, while better than other Leicas than I have tried, begins to introduce grain earlier than I would like (around 800)...but honestly the jury is still out for me -- I need more time with it. I left the camera on AUTO ISO for the duration of my time with it.

Outside, colors popped. The 28mm focal length seemed right and I wasn't disappointed with distortion. 

I didn't really have (or take the) time to go through menus and other features.  Those sorts of things are meant for a rainy day.  For me, it's more about how the camera feels in my hand.  This one got out of my way and made me want to shoot it. It feels like the Leica I've always wanted...

...but I definitely need more time with it.  Stay tuned.

Special thanks to Aziz Yazdani for taking the time to show me the camera and allowing me to take a few photos of him.