Letters To My Sons | February

Dear Cash,

The 10th and 17th were special days for you this month, however, waiting for them to arrive wasn't so easy. At least at first. You see, it was the end of December when, after delving back into your shark fanaticism, you mentioned that you wanted to get a Megalodon tooth. I agreed as long as you earned your own money for it. We searched for fossils on eBay until we found one that you could afford. Though it wasn't the most expensive Megalodon tooth (very rare ones over 7" long can run into the hundreds), we found a 5 1/2 " one that with dedication and patience, would be yours by February 10th. 

At first you didn't like the idea of having to wait almost two months for your Megalodon tooth. Not surprisingly, you wanted it right away. Especially since this all coincided with a notice from your teacher that your class would be doing "shares" through February 17th, with yours scheduled for mid-January. You knew you wouldn't have your tooth by then and were crushed. 

While walking to the subway after school, through your quiet tears, I suggested we ask your teacher if we could move yours to February 17th, which would give you the extra time needed. We talked about how grownups do this all the time; they work for things they really want even though it can feel like forever to save up enough. But how satisfying it feels when you finally earn something so precious. You managed to come around to the idea, recognizing that it actually could be good thing to talk about with your friends, and wiped away your tears in true Cash commitment.


That evening Anna emailed back saying that your share was officially moved to the 17th, and the first thing you did was make a calendar of the days you had left. You wanted something you could cross off each night before bed, most importantly I presume, to help pass the time. 

Every morning you eagerly asked what your jobs were for the day -- such things as carrying the grocery bags, drying the dishes, cleaning windows, sweeping the floor, making your bed, reading books to Grey, cleaning the bathroom (sink and toilet!), lugging the laundry bag, putting away folded clothes and emptying the waste baskets. You would do around 3 jobs per day, collecting $1.00 to put in your "CASH BOX". 


You kept a sketchbook filled with drawings and descriptions of all of your jobs, and each night religiously put on "X" on your calendar. The Megalodon tooth remained in the office closet (following a contentious ebay win) until you had finally earned enough. As I watched you hold the tooth with such care and elation, turning it over and over in your hands, it was clear that your new possession meant more to you because of the wait. Because you worked for it.

When the day of your school share arrived, you brought your Megalodon tooth along with a list of facts about where it was found. You shared details about the shark itself (three times bigger than a Great White) and used a measuring tape to show your friends the difference in size between the Megalodon tooth and that of its Great White relative. You told me that you were a little shy at the beginning of your share, but once you started reading to your friends, you felt better. "I worked through it Mommy." And your teacher said that she didn't notice any nervousness whatsoever. So Bravo "Cash the Shark" (a nickname your classmates have appropriately given you) for a job well done! 

This February was kind of like "Shark Month" in our house; one snowy day you worked on your "100 days of school" project - painting a Great White portrait, while another day we spent making frosted shark cookies. 

However, I will remember most the lessons you learned and the patience you garnered in working toward your goal. You're already talking about earning more teeth for your collection, though the next one might very well be your own since you officially have your first wiggly tooth! And who knows, the tooth fairy just might put a $1.00 in your "CASH BOX". 

I love you Cashew!  Always & forever, Mom

The Graduate

It's not easy moving through a sea of parent "iphoneographers" at a preschool graduation with a larger "real" camera, but somehow I managed to capture this moment. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, my first official preschool graduate. Sweet as a rose. 

Photo 52: Within the Frame

Tonality: Mid Key {Week 29}

This week we continue to experiment with tone and mood in our compositions.  While high key images are created with bright light tones and low key photographs rely on shadowy dark tones, mid key images are created by isolating the mid level tones.  It may be subtle and pleasing rather than dramatic and often appears better in color than a monochromatic scheme. Colors can be complimentary and yet the same key, so although in black and white everything would blend, in color it works. One of the issues to keep in mind when playing in mid key is that although consistency of tone can help your subject and their surroundings appear well-aligned, the trick is to make sure your subject doesn't get lost.

During a recent family vacation to Mexico, my son's favorite activities included combing the beach for shells and chasing after seagulls.  It was particularly overcast in the mornings, and since my son's skin tone nearly matches the surrounding rocks and sand, I was able to get a couple of interesting mid key beach shots. 

Please click HERE to visit our collective blog, Who We Become, to see all of our images in one place.  

Photo 52: Within the Frame

Traditional Contrast :  Light vs. Dark  {Week 24}

For the rest of March, Photo 52 is shifting its focus to contrast.  A broad definition of contrast is the juxtaposition of opposite elements, the most well-known being the degree of difference between darkness and lightness.  During a playful game of peek-a-boo with the bathroom door, I captured my older son in split contrast within a split frame composition.

Please click HERE to visit our collective blog, Who We Become, and see all of our images in one place.   

Peek - a - Boo

Photo 52: Within the Frame

Camera Position:  Shooting from Above {Week 20}

Our journey through the concepts of perspective is drawing to a close. After weeks of considering what are perhaps less traditional concepts of perspective - wide angle and long lenses, aspect ratio - we are spending our final two weeks on physical perspective in the form of camera position. This week, we are shooting from above. From standing atop buildings to standing over children, this is a fun assignment with a lot of room to be creative as we capture what all there is to see when looking down.

When the camera angle is located above the eyeline, often times the figure or object appears vulnerable while the image itself is more dramatic.  Below is a photograph of my son during our first trip to the dentist, so I guess you could say he was a bit vulnerable that day.  Shooting from above, I captured him resting his head against my leg, looking up, as if to say, "It's going to be okay, right Mom?".

My dear friend and fellow Photo 52 member, Jessie Wixon, pointed out that it was also a excellent photo for Valentine's Day since the both his eyebrows and his hairline make a perfect heart shaped face!

Happy Valentine's Day All!

Click HERE to visit our collective blog, Who We Become, to see all of our images in one place. 

Letters to our sons | February

***I am so thankful to be a part of this blog circle "Letters to our Sons" with so many amazing photographers and moms.  In honor of our love for our little boys, we are posting a monthly image(s) along with a corresponding, heartfelt letter.  After reading my post, please click HERE to continue around the circle, starting with my very talented and good friend Jill Cassara.

"So, how many hats does Cash have?'" 

This is a question Pow-Pow often asks when we go and visit him and Grandma.  

"Well," I say, "quite a lot." 


Dear Cash, my son and wearer of many hats ~

You have been wearing hats since before you could walk --- heck, before you could talk!  At six months old you wore your first one; it was a newsboy hat and it was white, for your baptism.  I don't recall you keeping it on all that long that particular day, but by the time summer arrived three months later, you were hardly out and about without one.  On your first birthday that September, a family friend gave you a plaid newsboy hat that looked just like the Kangols Daddy always wears.  To this day, one of my all time favorite photos and the inspiration for me to dust off my camera and delve into photography again, is of you and Daddy in Central Park wearing your newsboy hats.  It makes my heart swoon.     

Just after your first birthday we made a trip to southern California.  By then you had several newsboy hats - plaid, houndstooth and pinstriped.  During a stroll through the village of San Clemente, we came across a black gingham porkpie that would become your signature hat - above all others.  From that point on you didn't go anywhere without your porkpie, drawing smiles and comments from passersby everywhere.  You have gingham, plaid and blue wooly ones for the the colder months and blue/white and black/grey straw ones for the warmer months.  Dad and I are still surprised to this day how attached you have become to your hats and how you fuss when someone takes it off your head.  It's no wonder that Jon Klassen's book,"I Want My Hat Back",  about a bear who has lost his hat and desperately wants it back, is one of your favorites.  Equally amusing to you is Klassen's sequel to the book, "This Is Not My Hat", about a fish that stole a hat and will probably get away with it, that Santa put under the tree for you this Christmas.

Christmas Eve 2013

"A hat is a flag, a shield, a bit of armor, and the badge of masculinity. A hat is the difference between wearing clothes and wearing a costume; it's the difference between being dressed and being dressed up; it's the difference between looking adequate and looking your best. A hat is to be stylish in, to glow under, to flirt beneath, and to make all others seem jealous over.  A piece of magic is a hat."   ~ M. Sliter

Above is a collage of photos of you wearing various hats throughout your first three years of life, which by the way, was an absolute joy to create.  To the left is the photo of you and Daddy that I cherish most of all, for reasons already mentioned.  Framed and prominently placed on our bookshelf, I find myself looking at it all the time.  

You are my little dapper don, my pint-sized aficionado whose hat wearing is a vital part of your personality and style.  Who knows if your little brother will become such a fan, but it was just this month that he started wearing your white newsboy hat - the first one you ever wore.

Hats off to you my son!  May you always be king of your own swagger.     

Love always and forever, 


Photo 52: Within the Frame

Perspective | Aspect Ratio 1:1 {Week 19}

The traditional square format is one of my favorite aspect ratios.  It is mostly used by medium format film cameras such as Hasselblads and toy cameras like the Holga and Diana.  A couple of manufacturers created square 35mm cameras with a negative size of 24mm x 24mm in the 1930's and 1940's, but the idea never caught on.  

Even though there are no square format digital cameras on the market, it has become quite a popular aspect ratio due in part to Instagram, iphoneography and the ease of post-process cropping.  Being an avid Instagrammer has really helped me in my ability to envision an image within a square when shooting with my digital camera.

Below are two of my favorites.  I think the contrast of my son's long limbs, balanced by negative space and all within the small square frame, works quite well.

Please click HERE to visit our collective blog, Who We Become, to see all of our images in one place.  

Photo 52: Within the Frame

Perspective | Wide Angle Portrait  {Week 16}

This week and next Photo 52: Within the Frame will be challenging the "traditional" use of lenses - first seeking to utilize a wide angle lens in a portrait or other non-traditional use.  Choosing a wide angle lens for portraiture requires the photographer to consider the consequences - one of which is that items placed near the edge of the frame often appear larger and sometimes distorted.  However when captured with intention, this consequence can greatly add to the visual impact of an image.

Recently my son has taken to boxing with his father and the portrait below has since become one of my favorites.  The enormous size of the gloves and the distortion caused by the wide angle lens gives the image an edgy, editorial look.


Click HERE to visit our collective blog, Who We Become, and see all of our images in one place. 

Crowned Winner