20 June 2010

Do You Want To Making Photo?

After a weekend shooting with our old SLR, we remembered just how fun photography can be!  So we took a cue from Cara's parents, and got a new camera to shoot the new baby with.  Voila - mucho incentive to take even more great photos to share with yinz.  Because, you know, we know how much everyone likes pictures!

And look: Zoe's holding her bottle up all on her own!  Such a hard little worker...

I believe this look is called the hairy eyeball.  It's a look that brilliant people don when faced with encroaching crochet giraffe.  A warning to keep your distance Mr. Giraffe, and don't you forget it. 

Headed out through the park.  The new camera has some funkalicious features, such as digital filters that let us pull the color out of certain parts of the photograph.  (Hence the color people and the b&w landscape.)

And here's little Zoe Mae with her favorite hat.  (We think she looks a bit like Grandpa P at the beach...)

And here's the captain hard at work late one night.  We fired up the old sewing machine to make a little big curtain to block some light out so that we can watch the important World Cup games on the big screen.  (And it's been a project that's been on the back burner for a long time, so this was a perfect excuse to get it done!)  After an hour at the well-oiled machine and a couple glasses of wine to oil the old man, the curtain looks absolutely fantastic acceptable.  Even better, it works great. 

We leave you in peace: Budda Baby Zoe in a rare zen moment.

16 June 2010

Meet The New Intrepid World Traveller


Will you look at that?  Wee Zoe Mae has a passport!  And how about that photo?  The US Dept of State is very explicit about how passport photos must be taken...  Right down to the exact mm measurements of head in the frame, white nondescript background in soft focus, no shadows, and eyes open.  Which is all well and good, but damn difficult when shooting a baby that's less than 2-weeks old!

We took over 300 shots, on various backgrounds, and with different light, all trying to get a good straightforward shot of Zoe, with her eyes open, and that meets the criteria.  Finally we nabbed the above photo with Zoe laying on one of Tommy's white t-shirts on the little table on our back porch, in the afternoon sunlight.  After all, passport photos aren't meant to be sexy, right?

12 June 2010

Strange Days

[DISCLAIMER:  The following photos err towards crazy, and your brain and eyes will hurt as they strain to make sense of them.  Just click on any photo for a larger view, which makes it a bit easier on the eyes.]

After that last cliffhanger, we figured that it'd be best to continue the story straightaway.  For those who don't recall the last post, here's the note we'd left off on:  Tommy had found his old film SLR, and it the photo count showed a partially exposed role of god-knows-what from their past.  Always très exciting to be sure.  That's the story, and here's what happened:

Here's an example picture.  You can clearly see us, circa 2002ish, climbing up to Slide Mountain in the Catskills.  However, you may have noticed that Tommy's chest is uncharacteristically, well, rocky.  And fluffy.  Wait a minute - that's Rocco!  Yes friends, the camera tricked us.  The frame-count said that we had about 20 pictures left, but it was sorely mistaken.  Somehow, some way, the film had been partially wound back in the camera.  

Now we have absolutely no idea how this could have happened, as it's not something that can happen accidentally on this camera.  Someone would've had to manually release the film catch, and then wind the film back -- by hand -- but not all the way, only about 15 frames or so, otherwise it would've been in the can.  And Patrick was 12,000 miles away when this happened!  Strange indeed.


Another example:  Viewed Cara-side-up, it's Cara eating an apple in the wilderness, Circa 2002.  Viewed tri-colour-up, it's a shot from the interior of our porch at the river, 2010.   If you really look closely, you might even be able to make out Rocco on the wicker chair in the corner - the intended subject of the latter frame.  (Admittedly, Tommy isn't consistent in his portrait SLR-holding: Sometimes it's trigger up, sometimes it's trigger down, as evidenced by the opposite orientation of these exposures.)  As always, the brighter image wins.

Now here's an interesting one for sure.  It's a beautiful vista of the Catskills.  With Rocco bravely leaping off of Giant Ledge Slide Mountain.  Pretty cool how the blue sky blends with the river water, and how the green rocky shallows are revealed in the shadow on Tommy's back, nearly merging with the greens of the pine tree in the background.  Neat.  

 Again with the reverse orientation:  Here's Cara swinging in the playground with Zoe strapped on (2010), and there's a corner of our kitchen in Prague (2003).  We're not ones to cry over spilled milk, so we aren't lamenting the losses of the original photos too much.  That said, these were the only photos that we had taken of our really nice penthouse apartment in Prague, so we are a tiny bit bummed that the photographic evidence of our previous life is now literally tainted by our current one! 

And here's proof positive that little Zoe's got momma on the mind!  More specifically, it's wee Zoe, sound asleep on our porch in Thousand Island Park (2010) dreaming about Cara in a chiffon dress on stage in Arthur Kopit's Chamber Music at Divadlo U Hasičů, Prague (2003.)   We like this one, it looks like Cara's either trying to get out of Zoe's head, or is reminding her of something.  Probably couldn't have gotten it framed that well if we tried.

                   Dear Film:

                            Thanks for keeping it real.  
                                                         -Cara & Tommy (2002) 
                                                           and Rocco (2010)

06 June 2010

Old Man River...

The story goes something like this.  Cara and I and Zoe and Rocco all went to the river.  (That's a great start to any story to be sure...)  And while we were at the river, I found my old camera and lenses stored safely in a box under our bed.  It's an old Konica SLR that's probably about as old as I am, and over the years I've pulled many rolls of film through it.  However, in this digital age, our well worn Konica had become all but forgotten.  Until now.

Gloriously, when we resurrected this fine old manual camera, it had film in it.  According to the dial, there were about 20 shots left on the roll, and in the on-deck tube on the neckstrap, there was another new roll of B&W film.  Score.  So, on the porch, I fired it up as Cara eased the tension of the moment with an adult beverage and a relaxed Zoe in her arms.

And then we headed down to the dock, where the blazing sunlight and low water was a perfect recipe for a proper film camera, and Cara, of course, was a gorgeous subject for such photographic documentation.  She bravely lowered herself into the frigid depths of the mighty St. Lawrence, while Rocco was left to stare in amazement:  How did she just have a baby? Good question puppy, good question.  Cara, as always, looks like a million bucks.

Above is our favorite photo of the day: Cara and Zoe playing it cool on the rocks of Prospect Point.  You can click any photo for a larger view, and I really recommend it with this one...

Of course, we wasted no time introducing Zoe Mae to the river spirits, and our fine child acknowledged their power straightaway with a ruckus greeting-scream.  Nice to meet you too, Zoe.  One benefit to the unusually low water this May is that it's (relatively) warm for this time of year, so Cara's feet didn't even turn blue while braving the shallows for this shot.

After so much excitement, it was back to home base.  (That's the front porch to you foreigners.)  Cara and Zoe got a chance to relax and steal a nap under cover of film grain.  Sure, you can fake photos like this these days, but there's something appealing about an actual grainy b&w photograph.

Example B:  The evening bath, this time caught on film.  Again with the great grain.  The soft corners are from shooting at the wide end of a zoom lens with a UV filter and scope lenscap: the extra exposed barrel stack unintentionally rounds off the corners.  Again, it might look like a cheesy digital effect added in post, but it's actually a side effect of a chunky filter/lenscap combo. Film is great.  Plus, there is the undeniable thrill of the chase, knowing that you only have a few feet of film on which to capture the moment.  And then there's that feeling of proud satisfaction as you hear the shutter ka-chunk at the exact moment your 5-week old daughter cracks a smile.

Sometimes you just know when you've gotten a shot that you want, even without that little screen to confirm it right away.  G'night.

P.S. - If you're a particularly attentive reader, you might be wondering about that first, partially exposed role that was in the camera to begin with.  Well, dear friends, that role is another story altogether.  A hilarious story.  I'll need a few days to scan some of the photos, but suffice it to say, the photos will feature Cara and myself as you have never seen us before.  Seriously.

01 June 2010

Zoe's 1st Super Duper Car Adventure

We begin this story with a nice little family in Pittsburgh, PA:

This nice little family then pointed a Wee Box north for a few hours to stop by another nice family in a nice new house.  The children were welcoming and kept a close eye on little Zoe Mae...


Then came the real adventure:  A long, long ride in the Wee Box.  Zoe was a champ, and closely guarded by our faithful wingdog, Rocco the brave:

And even in the rest stops Rocco kept an eye out for intruders. (read: Squirrels)

And then we got to the river, where we promptly ensured Zoe's safety in the event of a flood or boat ride:

And then we went in search of water.  And found some. . .

. . . in the bath!  Yup, after the long anticipated departure of Zoe's umbilical cord stump, we promptly deposited her in the cottage's sink.   We considered the river, but at ~50° Fahrenheit, well, we're just not that mean.  Besides, Zoe was really good on the ride up...

All clean and ready for action, we wandered down to the river.  Actually, we generally do this about 85 times a day.  It's not far, and Zoe really likes walks.  So does Rocco.  Come to think of it, Cara likes walks too, and even Tommy will amble down to the water at the slightest provocation.  Sadly, among the many great baby gifts that were generously given to us, we've yet to get beverage holders for our strollers, so at present, we're forced to carry our beers in our hands while we walk.  The horror.

Luckily, Zoe is largely unbothered by such a minor inconvenience, and gracefully rocks the watermelon safari hat on our adventures around the park.

Back at the homestead, and ever vigilant, Rocco fearlessly keeps watch from his perch on the porch.  (Note to all who might try to invade:  Unless you're a chipmunk, he'll happily let you in the house, so long as you don't try to steal his seat.  Drinks, as always, are in the back fridge; help yourself.)