Day Three Hundred Sixty-Five:

New Year’s Eve Toast…

A year has passed.

365 Days of Photographs, all made with a 50mm focal length on a full frame camera.

We had an impromptu gathering of our friends and neighbors and the kids tonight and it was a great way to finish the year.

And what a year it has been.

A visit with my sister Mary and her husband Scott in January, Sparky’s baptism in February and my Mom’s trip for it, a life-altering month in South Africa in March, a busy summer & fall of portraits for our third Kids of OC Charity Book Project and weddings, a visit by my niece Stefanie and her fiance Jeremy, and numerous trips to school to drop off and pick up, and hundreds of moments with the kids throughout the year.

This blog, though, became a photographic focal point, if you will, for my work this year.  Every day the thought would be in the forefront in my mind:  “What am I going to photograph today for the blog?”

Sometimes it was easy or obvious, other times it was downright daunting (like when I was busy with Christmas orders and had very little time to photograph).  I would often dedicate one camera with a 50mm lens specifically to craft an image for the blog.  Having those parameters might seem like a limitation, but instead it forced me to view the world with that perspective in mind and I think it made me a much better, more thoughtful photographer in the process.  I would use this lens because of the blog and that would be a change from the way I might have approached it before this blog started.

Some days I photographed a lot (over thousands on some days with weddings, sometimes hundreds for other things) some days I photographed a little (just the other day I made 14 exposures).

It wasn’t about the numbers, though, it was about trying to create an image that I would be proud to share.

Thanks for spending the year with me and for your notes of support when I photograph struck a nerve.  I appreciated it and they often came when I was at a point when I most wanted to abandon the blog (not too many, but there were a couple times).  I’m glad now that I did not.  Nor would I have let myself.  The legacy I wanted to create for the kids was too pressing and was the goal that pushed me on.  Plus I can be downright stubborn when I want to be.

The joy of photography is still with me, and it might even be more pronounced 365 days later.  I’m more in love with photography than ever before and especially when it means pointing the camera to the people in my life I love the most.

Thanks to Nicki, Kate and Sparky — they helped me shoulder the obligations of the blog, which often meant coming to bed later because I was editing and processing an image for the blog.  Or being under the constant gaze of a Zeiss or Canon lens.

But they never complained and just allowed Dad to do what he does.  I couldn’t be more grateful for that because I suppose it’s my way to bottle them up.  I keep telling Kate to stop growing up and there’s a part of me that means it because I suspect that in no time, I’ll be watching her head out for her first date, a prom, high school soccer matches, and driving her own car.  Don’t get there too soon, my little girl.  I know you will but maybe, just maybe, this is my way to get you to slow down a bit.

When I look at the year’s photos of Sparky, the changes are so pronounced.  He was a newborn then and now he’s a little boy.  Babbling, not talking, but a little boy and not a baby.  That first year the changes are dramatic and we’ll have them documented on the blog (and in the book).

Special thanks, too, to our friends and family who never hesitated in letting me photograph them for the blog.  It often was my excuse to come along on a play date (when a year ago, I probably would not).  I’m glad I did because I got to know them, and their children so much better over the year.  Everyone should be so lucky as to have friends such as these that are so willing to be so helpful.

I’m blessed with a beautiful and loving wife, and two children that are the joy of my life and I thank them for allowing me to share them with you.

May your life be as richly blessed and lovingly photographed. Cheers!

Paul

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Day Three Hundred Sixty-Four:

Michele and Jeremy’s Wedding, Temecula…

What a gorgeous day it turned out to be for the wedding.

Sure it was cold, but was it ever clear and the snow covered mountains in the backdrop made it even better.

Plus the afternoon light in winter is so different than the light of summer.

I was ecstatic when the elements came together — made even better with a gorgeous and lovely couple such as Michele and Jeremy.

When I photographed them back in the summer, I could have only hoped that the day would have turned out so nicely.

Congratulations you two!

Day Three Hundred Sixty-three:

Kate tries to cheer up the Spark…

Our little guy was down for the count today.

He got some version of a stomach flu that is going around and was alternating between sleeping, being sick, and running a fever all day.

Not easy on him and definitely not easy on Nicki who did an amazing job taking care of the boy today.

It’s was so difficult watching our usually bubbly and energetic guy lethargic and really feeling it today.

This photo was made mid morning as he woke up from one of his long naps today … he made a bit of a recovery and then later felt the effects.

Kate, a big girl now of 5, was a help too as she tried to cheer up her brother after the nap.

Day Three Hundred Sixty-two:

Kate Turns Five!

I can’t believe that she’s been in our lives for five years.

It has flown by and watching every step of the way has been a joy that I can’t describe in words, so I hope the photos capture it and do the emotions justice.

Surrounded by most of her friends (good friend Eva is away but will celebrate with Kate tomorrow) it was just the perfect day — weather was clear, sunny, crisp and the kids had a great time in the bounce house and filling up on cupcakes.

Day Three Hundred Sixty-one:

It’s in the genes…

Sparky wears a Green Bay Packers hat at the dinner table this evening.

It was a Christmas gift from Aunt Mary and Uncle Scott and Nicki said he couldn’t wear it enough this afternoon.

I was at a portrait this afternoon but she said that when it came off he would bring the hat to her and want her to put it on his head.

It’s odd because we can’t get him to keep any hat on his head — no baseball cap, but this is another story.

Maybe he just knows that he’s a Packer fan deep down.

Day Three Hundred Sixty:

In the Shadow of Toy Story 3…

Kate jumps in her new Rapunzel Dress (again made by Granny Moira Couture) and Sparky is in the shadow of the Toy Story 3 poster at the neighborhood Blockbuster as we headed for the store.

I think we’re all in a bit of a post Christmas hangover from all the food and the gifts and the excitement.

It was great, don’t get me wrong, but boy almost feeling a bit tired from the push to the big day over the past two months.

Though seeing Christmas through Kate and Sparky though, really gives me a renewed love of the holiday.  It’ll only get more meaningful next year as the boy realizes more of what it means and Kate still believes in Santa.

Day Three Hundred Fifty-nine:

Christmas, 2010…

It is starting.  He’s now beginning to get what Christmas means.  In this case little boy toys such as a Toy Story blue chair and this little car set.  Not to mention Toy Story 3 DVD, clothes (including Green Bay Packer clothes from Aunt Mary and Uncle Scott) and knock out blocks from Aunt Ruth and Uncle Dave.

These kids just had a bountiful Christmas and for that we are so incredibly grateful.

Day Three Hundred Fifty-seven:

Kids of OC Books for Open House…

The stack of this year’s Kids of OC 2010 wait to be collected by their owners.

Today we had an open house and so our clients got to get their first look at the Kids book!

This is the third year in a row that we’ve done the project — it has raised around $35k for CHOC with a 100% donation of the session fees.

It’s always a kick to get the books and then when you see them stacked up it really is exciting.  There’s something about seeing the work in print that gives it a different dimension.

Very excited that the book has been so well received and the project so supported by our clients.