It’s the first time I’m posting a photograph that I haven’t taken myself, but I don’t think the artist will mind. He is, after all, my dad. He’s also the reason I ever developed an interest in photography. If not the most verbose teacher (“Hold the camera still. Keep the needle on that light meter in the middle. That’s all.”), he was certainly the most effective. I learned by watching him work: he would take ridiculous amounts of pictures, to the extent that “are you done YET?” became our family motto. His answer, invariably, was “not yet.”

I used to be annoyed by what I once considered to be his insane attention to detail, his documentation of every mundane item or event. Then, yesterday, someone asked me to name my favorite thing to photograph. I paused and had to laugh at the answer that came so easily. I, too, photograph the little things, the seemingly unimportant. I find myself sitting back and watching, taking note, just as he’s always done.

My dad took this photograph a few weeks ago on a beautiful night at the boardwalk. His camera wasn’t anything special (just a little digital point-and-shoot we gave him last Christmas), but then again, photography isn’t about the equipment: it’s about finding the calm inside the chaos. In the midst of all the lights, music, voices, and crowds, my dad captured a wonderful image of his oldest grandson swinging high over our heads on the giant swings. I recognized a striking synchronicity in their expressions as they both quietly absorbed all the sights and sounds.

Today, I would like to take a moment to thank my dad for teaching me the important things:
1) Sit down and be quiet.
2) I don’t know everything. (although I do find this item to be, at times, debatable)
3) Don’t shake the camera.

I’m sure there are things I’m leaving out. I’m sure I’ll think of them later. I’m also sure that these are the three most important things to remember, the ones I use every day.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

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