The Priceless Gifts of Photography

Last weekend our family celebrated the 80th birthday of my father.  When I visit with my dad in person, I see him, but I also hear him and enjoy his person, or his spirit.  In my visits with him I invariably come away feeling that he is the same Dad that I have known all of my life, though I know that he is aging.

This is the great difference between seeing a picture of a loved one and actually visiting with them.  When I look at a photo I took of Dad at his birthday, in many obvious ways, he is showing his age;  he has more lines on his face and his hair is now a bit thinner and a lot whiter than it used to be.  The photo shows his age.  The particular pose I caught him in shows a small hint of his personality.  But the photo of him at age 80 alone shows little of who he really is.

 

When I compare the recent portrait of him with one taken of him 55 years ago at the age of 25, I can start to get a sense of the history of the man.  Together, the photos leave the viewer wanting to fill in some of the missing 55 years between these two portraits and the weave of the tapestry  of history is perceived a little.

 

I am truly grateful that my Dad is still alive and kicking; still witty, active and sharp.  I am grateful that he has not been stolen from me by any hint of dementia.  I am grateful that I can have opportunities like his birthday and other visits where I can take a couple of photos to add to my private store of memories.  I know that far too soon, whether it is 5 or 25 years, we will eventually be separated by death.  I realize that at that time, all I will have of him will be these photos and my own memories.  I try not to dwell on that day.  Instead, I am thankful that I am given opportunities to preserve bits and pieces of my memory of Dad while I enjoy his company.

 

As photographers we can get far too caught up in the technical aspect and forget one of the great values of photography.  Far too often we do not treasure the gift of our family photo albums until something tragic has happened.  We need to take the time to realize the future value of these photos so that when the time comes, and the photos are all that remains, our memories will be rich.  Live in the moment.

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The People have Spoken: Survey Results

For those of you who missed it, I ran a brief survey last month requesting some reader input into the type of content that people would like to see more of and less of on this blog.  I thought it was time to be accountable and share the results.

The truth is, the results were largely a confirmation of my suspicions based on watching my Google stats, but it was fun to get the answers, and some readers shared some killer ideas with me for future posts:

87.9% of you were very interested in more Lighting Articles.  That is cool, because I really enjoy writing these kinds of posts.

Software tutorials and Do-it-yourself articles generally have a good audience where all respondents had some level of interest in these kinds of articles.  Software and equipment reviews, interestingly enough, did not have as much popularity.  It tells me that you readers are a bunch of practical people who like to do things, not so much interested in shopping for new products.  You want to learn how to use what you already have.

Book reviews are the least popular topic I have been covering on the blog.  Message received.

Most of you like the travel related images and articles, but they do not have the popularity of the practical articles.

The written responses to my question of the type of articles you would like to see more of were largely the same flavour.  More requests for specific kinds of tutorials as well as some requests for more outdoor photography tutorials.  Again, message received, loud and clear.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who took the time to respond to the survey. Rest assured that I will do my best to bring you the kinds of articles you want.

Wednesday Travel Pic: Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Canada

Sitting like a fairytale castle in the middle of Banff National Park, Canada, is the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.  Originally constructed by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a tourist resort hotel in 1887/88, it was reconstructed in its current Scottish Baronial style in 1911.  Reputed to be haunted, the hotel is a popular tourist destination in Banff National park and a national icon.

 (Doug Pruden)

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

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