Recently, my sons & I traveled to northern California. Specifically: Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and some places in between. You may, if you like (below), regard one of my notoriously (below) understated photographs (below). That’s Sam, scrupulously circumspect, on the left. That’s Max, in full-on battle-mode—as rarely captured with saliva between his upper and lower teeth—on the right (below).
Why do they appear so thusly as they do (above)? Who knows. I dunno about yours, but my kids are crazy. E’en so, I have a theory. It involves a camera. Here, let me explain.
Long ago, when I was perhaps 14, I had a fantasy: A camera attached to my eye. With which I could record everything that I experienced. Drawing, with other kids looking over my shoulder. Action, in a fight! Dropping, precipitously, on a roller coaster. I called this fantasy (yes, I had a name for it) “The Adventures of an Exciting Guy.” Which I was generally not back then. But e’en so.
In the years since, the nearest equivalent is a GoPro Hero 3. It’s tough, it’s tiny, it records movies, and it attaches to your head.
Now wait! Lest you interpret this as an unequivocal endorsement, permit me to equivocate: From a shooter’s perspective, the Hero 3 is a disaster. By default, it offers no viewfinder, optical or otherwise. Its controls are scant and make little sense. The documentation is the worst I’ve ever read. It burns through a battery in less time than it takes to experience an event. And every so often, it just plain craps out. While it may be a function of the memory card (I’ve tried three now), it has a habit of bailing on a movie, sometimes right away, sometimes a few minutes in. Simply put, it’s a precious little machine.
But when it captures, the results are amazing. Plus, it snags a ton of pixels, it ships with an underwater housing, and (once you come to terms with it) it might be the funnest camera I’ve ever owned.
Now for a few frames:
Here’s one with my oldest, Max, floating above the lovely Colleen Wheeler. In a swimming pool, as a test for an open-water dive that I hope for us all next year.
Here’s one with Sam in the foreground and Max in the back. Like all brothers, they are one minute best friends and the next clawing each other’s eyes out. But in this nanosecond, they are blissfully unaware of one another and therefore enchanted by themselves.
I don’t normally post pictures of myself. And for obvious reasons. E’en so, here’s one. Yes, I know I’m hairy. I can’t help it. Thanks, tho.
Here’s another. Suddenly warmer, with my son Max. Who appears to be doin’ some old-school crouching-tiger-hidden-I-really-don’t-know-what maneuvers. Like a dream, I remain chill.
Oh, Max, still warmer. I swear, I could photograph you all day. Why three fingers? For “Wheeler,” as in Colleen, the classic brunette bombshell in the background. We’re all fans of the Wheeler clan.
Many are confused about this next character. His name is also Wheeler. He is Colleen’s progeny. His full name is not Wheeler Wheeler. That would be stupid. His full name is Wheeler Strand. That is, Mom’s original surname followed by Dad’s comparatively permanent surname. Which is pretty cool, much as is he, as pictured below. (This is not an automatic camera effect, by the way. I spent a long time on this composition. Not surprisingly, in Photoshop.)
Happily, I was able to exchange the camera back-and-forth with my boys. Max captured the pics without him in them (4 and 7). Sam took a coupla others (5 and 6). Later on, Max recorded a movie in which he kept diving toward the light. Over and over and over again. Like a moth, I tell you. This is my animated edit of the thing. Watch it to Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps.” Or some other stormy music.
And that’s just one afternoon in a swimming pool. Obviously, I have many more.
I compiled these movies in iPhoto. Which, I have to tell you, as pretty as it is, sucks ass. Goddamned Apple. Love their hardware, hate their software. Granted, Adobe has come under fire lately. For how they sell their stuff. But, whatever their market and complexity, Adobe programs (with the obvious exception of Acrobat, which makes Microsoft apps look intuitive) give you control and make you powerful. Professional tools for professional people. To stay limber, I’ve been fooling around with a lot of other apps lately. But nothing is as good as the Adobe suite. If you think otherwise, comment. I wanna know.
In the meantime, luv ya. E’en so.