Make somebody happy, keep your promise

Nun and friendsI asked a very cool photographer in Nepal what her one bit of advice would be to a traveling photographer, and she said this, “If you take someone’s picture, and you tell them you’re going to send one to them when you get back home, then do it.”

So I made it a point to keep my promise every time I had such an encounter with a local. It happened a couple of times, and this photograph is an example of one such encounter. It happened this way.

It was a hot and sunny day. My friend, Preston, and I were walking up a steep mountain road. “Why were we walking?” you may ask. Well, that’s fodder for another post. Anyhow, we met these three women about half-way up the hill. We greeted one another, and then, in good Asian fashion, began to chat about how far it was to the top, where we were from, and stuff like that. Oh yeah! They were wanting to take a group photo, but their camera wasn’t working right, so I offered to take it with mine and then send them the picture when I got back home.

“Okay Rob! Remember what your photographer friend said; keep your promise.”

Funny how powerful one bit of advice can stick with you, because every time I saw this photo on my computer, I felt this urgency to send the photo to the nun in the photo.

So, after soon as I got home, I dug out that crumpled piece of paper where the nun had written down her contact information. But the paper showed only the name of her ‘nunnery’ – Is that what you call them? I should have paid better attention in Cathecism! Anyhow, I did a search on the web; it took about 10-15 minutes. I finally found something that seemed to match the name on the paper. So I sent the photo to the main email address and waited.

I never heard back from the recipient, so I don’t actually know if the photo ever reached her. But I can sleep at night knowing I followed through on my promise.

Have camera, will document

Helen and the girls with the evidenceI think It’s so cool that we can document those little – or big – moments in our lives within seconds just by pulling out a mobile phone. This simply wasn’t the case years ago, unless you were one of those geeky photographers who had a huge SLR camera permanently strapped around your neck.

Many pro photographers today are choosing instead to carry small point-and-shoot cameras, or use their mobile phones, when they’re not working on a regular project, or when they’re on vacation, because their work cameras are too cumbersome.

this is a photo I took yesterday at our midsummer celebration. Helen and these two little girls were having fun swinging on our hammock when suddenly, “RIP!” went the fabric. I heard the screaming and laughter, turned around, and got the shot.

Sniff! Sniff! It was a good hammock. it served us well. Actually, who cares about an old hammock? But, 10 years ago I would have missed the chance to document this humorous event.

Look at me! Here I am ranting about how cool it is that we can document life’s little happenings with our small cameras or mobile phones, when actually, I made this photo with my big bulky SLR.

Ah! Well, the principle still applies, doesn’t it?

How to break a rule without sinning

boys in front of oak treeThe most important thing I’ve learned lately, in regards to photography, has been ‘seeing the light’.

Light is the one thing that is essential to photography.  The word Photography means literally, ‘drawing with light’.
“Photo” is derived from Greek – the Greek word “phos” means “light.”
The word “graph” also comes from a Greek word meaning “to draw.”

It’s kind of cool to think that I can take a shot like this one using just my Android phone and some available light.

How I found this shot

This oak tree is being illuminated by the sun’s reflection bouncing off of some kitchen windows a few meters away. The sun itself is directly behind the tree.

The light was so wonderful, I simply couldn’t resist asking my boys to strike a pose for me.

“Dad! Not again!” I could see it written on their faces.

A year ago I wouldn’t have thought of taking this shot, because, as a general rule you’re not supposed to shoot into the sun. But that’s the cool thing about knowing the rules.. because then you know how to break them!

Where did my stuff go?

Veronica sitting on the back stepsOur ‘stuff’ takes so much of our time and attention. What I mean by ‘stuff’ is our techy stuff, like our iPhones, our computers, social media, uhm.. even blog posts! So, when we got to Kathmandu we decided we would try and let the modern world take the back seat for most of our travels. And here’s the result! Veronica, sitting on the back steps of our friends’ house, with nothing to do but chill. Niiice!

It blows my mind how much more relaxed and focused we became when we set aside our ‘stuff’. And, it’s also shocking how much time and energy – especially the mental kinds – we actually spend on our ‘stuff’.

Of course, other things still demand our attention: whining children, hectic pre-meal activities, and putting kids to bed. But, by just putting one tiny device like a phone, or a camera, on the shelf for a day, or two, or more.. brings balance and perspective.

The Challenge: Try putting some of your ‘stuff’ on the shelf for 24 hours, or longer if you dare! Then, see if you don’t start crying, like a baby in its crib, without a bottle! Or if you start to feel more relaxed. I bet if you do it enough times in a row, you’ll start to feel more relaxed. We did.

Violin ABC’s – A child’s perspective

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[wpaudio url=”http://darbyfamily.ywamnetworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Lucas-ABC-on-the-violin1.mp3″ text=”Lucas sings and plays” autoplay=”0″]

Like the spotting the rare species of ‘Sierra Nevada Red Fox’, I was able to capture Lucas with both the camera and the MP3 recorder.

Enjoy his concert!

PS Click on the image to catch a better glimpse.