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Happy New Year 2016!

Happy New Year

New Year blessings

As last year turns into 2016, once again we’re struck by how fast it went, a reminder to celebrate each day with joy, be grateful for our blessings and for all those with whom we share our lives. May your 2016 be filled with love and laughter, may your trials be light and few, may you have your heart’s desires fulfilled.


Tomorrow begins the work of putting our holiday treasures away. If you haven’t already done so, consider cataloging the small things that reflect your family’s history, that carry holiday stories into the future, that bring you, your children, and your grandchildren joy when the boxes open, the tissue comes off, and the scene is set for another celebration of Christmas or whatever your family enjoys at year’s end.

A small boy looks at Christmas at Nana’s and Grandpa’s house!

There’s an eager, cheerful child in our lives who gives us a special reason to begin cataloging our seasonal treasures. The song is very familiar to him from Knutsen and Ludvigsens Beste album that helps put him to sleep each night. Apart from the happy lilt of the music, it says “Hallo! Hallo!” to each of you from both of us. So here are some of the Christmas treasures most meaningful to our family! It’s a mix of several cultures collected over a lifetime. Each item has a wonderful memory attached or several. There’s a book for a boy in the making with more to add, much to improve, a beginning . . .


Best photos come from best practices

The photographer in me shares a quick list of best practices:

  • Indoor photos in low light pose challenges to photography. Tack sharp comes from using a tripod, a chair back, a table top, whatever works to stabilize the camera. It matters! The eye is drawn where the focus is sharp so use it to emphasize the most important details. The opposite is also true; soft focus can be used to minimize the background and/or less important features;
  • Good light and saturated colors can be used that way too as the human eye is drawn first to brighter and more saturated areas of an image;
  • People are interested in other people! Children are always intrigued by faces even–and maybe especially so–when they belong to caricatures;
  • Move in close to your subject; walk to zoom so the subject fills the frame;
  • Before you click the shutter, check to see if you’re reflected in the shiny surfaces you’re shooting and move or adjust if that’s not intentional;
  • It’s always best to get color right in camera rather than afterward. Auto white balance works well in most modern cameras, but the mix of indoor lighting–incandescent lamps, compact florescent bulbs, and modern LED decorative lights–compounds the trouble. If your photos look weirdly color cast, perhaps overly blue or orange, you have a white balance issue that can be improved either by pre-selecting a camera program like tunsten or florescent or after the fact in software where temperature and tint sliders can work well;
  • Let your shots tell a story. Most of all be creative and have fun.