Park Hawk and The Missing DSLR

2012-04-15_14-49-16_116On Sunday, NHL had a birthday party to go to.  While he was having fun there with B, I decided that JSL and I should have a father-son day out.  After all, he had just endured 8 days of Passover food and none of the food he usually likes.

After a quick lunch at Five Guys (grilled veggie sandwich for me and grilled cheese for JSL), we headed to a big park.  There, JSL ran through the hedge maze, played tag with me in the big fields, led the way through a hike on the wooded path, and finally played on the playground.

As the time to leave approached, I let JSL know we’d only stay five minutes longer.  While we were waiting for a swing to free up, suddenly, the playground was invaded.  A hawk flew right behind the swinging kids and swooped towards a black bird on the ground nearby.  The bird got away so the hawk then, without skipping a beat, flew back up to the branches of a nearby tree.

Usually, I’d have went over to take photos with my DSLR.  However, in an effort to travel light, I decided to leave my DSLR at home.  I had my new camera phone, but JSL really wanted to swing.  So I resorted to that old parental standby: bribery.  I told JSL that if he came with me to get some hawk photos, I’d not only restart our "countdown until we leave the park" timer, but I’d also add five extra minutes.  JSL reluctantly left the swing area and came with me where I (and someone else with the same idea as me) took a few hawk photos.

Unfortunately, they didn’t come out great.  Camera phones can take decent photos in some situations, but this wasn’t one of them.  My DSLR would have taken a much better photo.  Still, at least I got some record of the hawk that almost turned the playground into a feeding ground.  I also learned an important lesson: The more times I can take my DSLR out with me, the better!

A Leaf Walking Trip With NHL

The day after Yom Kippur, we were deciding what to do with the boys.  NHL had off from Hebrew School, so this was a rare opportunity to do something fun the whole day.  We started it off by going apple picking.  Perhaps it was the Irene and Lee rains or perhaps it was the freakish 80 degree day (resulting in shorts instead of our usual apple picking pants), but we didn’t have as much fun.  The apples didn’t look as good and we got tired quicker.  After much complaining, we called it a day and headed out.  Of course, being hot and tired didn’t stop us from picking 39 pounds of apples.  Yes, THIRTY NINE POUNDS!  Much slow cooker apple sauce will be made.

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(As usual, click on the photos to enlarge them.)

After apple picking, the boys were tired and thirsty.  We considered going for ice cream, but every place was too crowded.  Besides, the apple orchard had affected B’s breathing.  (Which was already impacted from recovering from being sick.)  We needed a nice spot to relax for a few hours and B’s parents’ house got chosen.

After a short rest, NHL wanted to do something.  B and I considered it and we came up with going on a leaf-photography trip together.  First, we went home and dropped off the apples.  (This is when I weighed them too.)  I got NHL’s camera and off we went.

First stop was back to B’s parents’ house to drop off the car.  Then, we began walking.  As we walked, we talked and occasionally took photos of interesting things that we saw.

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Despite the warm weather, there was no denying fall was in the air.

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Eventually, we reached our destination: A local pond.  As I had guessed, the ducks were spending some time by the shore.

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NHL spotted a small playground nearby and I let him play there for a bit.  Then, we went back to taking photos.

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It was nice spending some quiet time bonding with NHL and he did me proud by spotting some nice shots.

Before long, though, a mistake I made prior to us leaving caught up with us.  I had forgotten to get NHL to go to the bathroom.  We had no car, there was no bathroom at the pond and we had a good 10 minute walk back to B’s parents’ house.  NHL held it in and didn’t complain much as we walked back.

Along the way, we spotted landmarks, like the stairs where we saw a chipmunk hop by as we had walked to the pond.


As we got closer, NHL was definitely slowing down more and getting a bit more cranky (as any tired, potty-emergency-stricken kid might be).  Still, he had moments when he’d ask me to take a photo.  Like of this tree that he thought looked like a monster.


In the end, we made it back.  We had a great time, made some great memories, and have some great photos to boot.  I need to take more of these walking trips with NHL before the snow begins to fall.

100 Steps Father-Son Photoshoot

This was going to be a “Wordless Wednesday” post, but I needed to give too much back-story.  So instead, it’s a “Wordy Wednesday” post!  And a Photo-Heavy-Wordy-Wednesday post to boot.

On JSL’s birthday, he got a new camera.  In addition, I gave NHL my old camera with the broken flash.  (Where “gave” means “let him use with my supervision.”)

A few days later, Chookooloonks posted some photography exercises.  Among them was one called “100 Steps.”  It’s very simple.  Step 1: Grab your cameras.  Step 2: Walk out your front door.  Step 3: Take 100 steps.  Step 4: Find 20 things to take photos off.

So I armed the boys with their cameras, explained what we were going to do, gave them some ground rules (no photos of people without their permission, car license plates, etc) and off we went.  To keep things simple (especially for 4 year old JSL), I limited us to 10 photos.

First, here are mine:


Now, here are NHL’s (with 2 removed because they were horribly out of focus and 1 removed because it could identify a neighbor’s house):

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Here are JSL’s (he only took nine):

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After we were done, we decided to stretch the rules and walk around our block for a bit taking more photos.  Here are some of ours.  See if you can guess who took which photos.

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If you answered that the first 4 were JSL’s, the next 4 were NHL’s and the last 6 were from me, then you were right!  Your prize?  The chance to go do the same thing with your kids.  Go outside for a walk and take photos together.  If they don’t have cameras, don’t worry.  Just have them point out things for you to take photos of.  Just remember the most important rule of all is to have fun together!

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