The new baby is coming in a few days so we took a last minute opportunity to shoot some maternity photos in the dark. That’s what you do when you’re in Maryland and your wife is pregnant. You take photos in the woods at night.
I had an idea about how I wanted these photos to look, but I didn’t really get it. It was late and Sarah was feeling pretty worn out (being super pregnant and all) which meant we were working quickly. Plus, it’s surprisingly hard to work in the dark. And I mean, pretty damn dark. Barely any ambient light. I set the whole thing up by the light from my cell phone. Hard to tinker with the setup when you’re worried about slipping down a hillside in the pitch darkness.
However! I learned a bunch and think I can probably get closer to my original vision next time. Sarah won’t be pregnant anymore when we get the chance to try again, but the properly-executed vision will make a sweet Halloween photo. Always an opportunity for fun photos.
Here are a selection of the more successful photos from the shoot. Enjoy!
A few years ago, when we moved back to California from New York, we needed a car. Well, we needed two cars, but that’s beside the point. We needed a car because we were coming from a place where we needed zero cars. And where we had zero cars.
A generous friend of mine let me assume ownership of a well-used Honda Civic he was not using. Sarah named her Judy. She was a good car and she served us well first as a commuter for Sarah, then as a second car during the pandemic, and finally as a family car we didn’t mind getting a little sandy with the children.
With the recent acquisition of a minivan, Judy became redundant. I wasn’t sure what to do with her so I asked my friend if he wanted her back. She’s about 60,000 miles further down her road, but she’s been well maintained and even got a brand-new air conditioning system a couple years back when the old one decided to die in July in New Mexico.
So I asked my friend if he wanted her back. I figured if he didn’t I could probably sell her for a decent bit of coin with how ridiculous the used car market it right now. I told him her could have her for the price of coming to get her. He agreed that it was a good deal and hired a company to come load her up and drive her to Santa Ysabel, CA. For a pretty fair price, too! He paid the trucking company basically what he would have spent to fly out here, get from Baltimore to Delaware, and then drive all the way back, except that he saved himself five days of travel and crappy roadtrip meals. Good move.
Last Saturday, a man came from Pennsylvania and loaded her up on one of those trucks I’ve seen many times before and as many times wondered about how they got cars on there. The answer is: they drive them.
It was pretty cool! I thought he was going to screw it up a couple of times, especially as he came back down the wheels going toward a car with a much greater resale value than Judy. He didn’t, however, which is good.
Before he loaded Judy up, he walked around with his phone making notes on where there was damage, as if I were renting a car. He showed me the diagram covered in dots indicating existing damage. “She’s not a looker,” I told him, “but she goes,” and signed to release the car.
And there she goes! Easily the nicest car on the truck. Goodbye, Judy! You were a good car and served our growing family well. If I could have fit three car seats across your back row, I would have kept you until your wheels fell off. Enjoy your new-old home and may you drive many many more miles.
Apologies for no audio version on this one. Ran out of time before relocating to Maryland for the new baby’s arrival. I’ll come back and record it down the road once settled.
Here in the wilds of Southern Delaware there is a residential housing developer called Schell Brothers. They also have outposts in Richmond, VA and Nashville, TN, but from what I can tell on their site their major operations happen here in the good old First State. They build a bunch of houses.
For the last few years they have been putting on an event they call Schellville—a winter festival/market/family thing. They have a fake ice rink! They have little shops! They have more than one Auntie Annie’s pretzels from the mall! They have a beer stand! They have a great big slide!
They wisely require tickets for entry, even though those tickets cost nothing. What could be an absolute disaster for crowds, wasn’t all that bad… once we got inside. But let’s back up.
Last year the girls were too small to enjoy something like this and Sarah knows well how pathologically allergic to crowds I am. We skipped it. And by “we”, I mean “Sarah” because I had no idea it even existed so I really had zero part in making that particular decision. This year, however, she got tickets thinking that the girls are finally old enough to enjoy the spectacle.
She was right.
After waiting half an hour in line to be let in—with Penny absolutely wide-eyed at all the lights and people and snow machines and music and pretty much everything—we got in, found a relatively open, uncrowded space, and let them free. It was like watching their heads explode.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen them have so much fun. Ever. In their whole lives. It was awesome.
We only lasted about 40 minutes before we had enough toddler-chasing and the crowds started to get a little thick. When we told Bea it was time to go, she responded with “No, stay here,” which was the first time I’d heard that out of her mouth. Too bad for her it wasn’t her decision. She let us know how she felt about it in the car on the way home while Penny drifted between sleep and talking to the night outside the window.
I didn’t bring the right lens with me and the dark was a struggle with two fast-moving targets, so not a ton of photos. I took my trusty 85 which is fantastic with good light and while not trying to chase two speedy jackals, but it was too hard in the dark to focus on the girls. Should have gone with the 50. Oh well. Next time.
Here are the photos I liked enough to spend time on. Enjoy.
We visited Sarah’s dad in Maryland for Thanksgiving this year. It was a quick trip, but nice even if holidays can be a little nuts sometimes. They had a bunch of friends and family over, all trying to put the final touches on a Thanksgiving dinner for 20+ people. Two little girls were, surprisingly, not being the most helpful.
To help reduce chaos as much as we could, we took them outside to play on the steps. It was the only moment of the time we were there I had to make some photos and I spent most of it preventing the girls from doing real physical damage to themselves. I’m waiting for that self-preservation instinct to kick in. Any day now would be great.
Enjoy the small gallery of a couple of sunset crazies on Thanksgiving.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, no, they were not at all interested in eating Thanksgiving dinner.
What do you do with two toddlers who are losing their minds because Daylight Savings has totally messed up their sleep schedules? You take them to the playground!
Penny is super into throwing herself down slides right now, and Bea is a little more cautious. You’d think it would be the other way around (and at another time it was) but that’s how it goes, I guess. Kids.
The autumn sun was giving us beautiful light even if the girls wouldn’t sit still. Enjoy the photos.
It’s October! That means a trip to the pumpkin (or “PUMPIE!” if you are the kids) patch was on the docket. I was looking forward to it, too. Last year was great and all, but this year the girls are much more mobile and much more interested in the world around them.
They ran around like a couple of kittens let out of a carrier. Each pumpkin was the most exciting pumpkin they’d ever seen in their lives. There were many attempted pumpkin carries and some surprisingly successful pumpkin carries. Bea spent some time wandering around by herself while Penny contented herself by relocating handfuls of hay from the ground to the wheelbarrow, on top of pumpkins, and into her own hair.
All in all, it was a successful day. Pumpkins came home with us and meltdowns were few. Enjoy the photos.
It’s not a tennis court. It’s a pickleball court. But, talking about pickleball courts is silly. Does anyone even know what that is?
I’ll tell you what, Bea and Penny have no idea. I’m making an official editorial decision: we’ll continue to call it a tennis court in all future references to the pickleball court.
All this huff is to say that we took the girls out on a sunny morning to run them a little bit. The last time we availed ourselves of the tennis court Penny wasn’t quite walking. Now, however, she is a champion walker, sometimes walking as much as all over the damn place. It was time to revisit the location.
I decided to play around with a wide zoom I purchased around Christmas time. I’m a bit hopeless with a wide angle lens, so I thought a little exercise with it couldn’t hurt. Plus, photographing toddlers is an especially physical type of sports photography allowing me some good practice. I also threw a diffusion filter on because why the hell not. I wanted to see what it looked like under bright, sunny conditions. It’s nice!