One of the absolute unexpected joys of becoming a father is watching my daughter absorb experiences for the first time. Now I finally understand the notion that being around kids makes you feel younger.
As the holidays approached this year, Ellie decided she wanted a Christmas tree of her own, in her bedroom. The idea sounded odd to me, and I wondered briefly whether saying yes would be over-indulging our only child. But, hell, a Christmas tree in my own bedroom as a kid would have been awesome! My wife and I said yes. Ellie didn’t want a real Christmas tree that would be thrown away after the holiday, so we picked out a little 24-inch artificial tree.
Last night, Ellie and Kim sat down on the floor in the living room (near an outlet) to decorate it. Since the tree is technically designed for a tabletop, it already includes built-in LED lights. Of course that wasn’t enough. The girls had already gone shopping and brought home new lights and ornaments, so while I made dinner, they worked on the mini tree. Ellie practically bounded when it was done, calling me over for inspection and pointing out the star—a cascading gold fabric bow—on top.
After dinner I bathed the girl while Kim brought the tree to Ellie’s room and plugged in. The girl walked in wearing a towel (dry on her torso but wet from the thighs down) and exclaimed, “My tree!” as if she hadn’t heard Kim mention not 20 minutes before that it would be waiting for her.
We usually spend a few quiet minutes in Ellie’s room after tucking her in, and tonight I had the pleasure of watching her fall asleep entranced by the tree. She stared at it, lying on her side with blankets tucked under her chin. She did her best to keep her tired eyes open to gaze at the colored lights, not looking anywhere else in the room. And in that gaze I recognized a sort of satisfied wonderment. This tree, which she’d no doubt envisioned dozens of times since the idea first emerged, was real and there in her own room.
Perhaps she just admired the colors, the new ornaments deliberately bought, the small stuffed penguin now destined to hang from branches instead of get buried at the back of a shelf. Maybe she couldn’t believe that it was really there in the foggy transition just before sleep.
Sitting near her, watching her eyelids droop and slowly open, I was filled with my own wonder. Will this be a memory that sticks with her for years? Will she someday relate the story of when she was five years old and got her very first bedroom Christmas tree? Or would this moment be absorbed by all the other experiences rushing through her young developing self and be forgotten, save for a glimmer of recognition each year when she pulls the tree out of its skinny box?
I want to encourage those memories and shape her personality as best I can, while also acknowledging that my contribution may be only a faint sense memory—bright hued starbursts in a dark room with a vignette of sleep encroaching at the edges. I know realistically that’s the best I can expect (especially given the general poor state of my own memory from when I was that age).
Maybe that’s enough. I was there to see her eyes as the lids eventually gave up trying to hold themselves open. I saw that wonder and felt my own glimmer of recognition.
Canon has unveiled the successor to the EOS M, the EOS M2, but there’s no indication yet (says CanonRumors) that it will be sold in the Americas or Europe.
According to PetaPixel, the biggest shortcoming of the EOS M has been addressed: autofocus is much improved thanks to a better processor. Otherwise the M2 seems very much like its predecessor, with the same body design and 18 megapixel APS-C image sensor. The camera also gains built-in Wi-Fi.
If the M2 does appear, I’m guessing my book Canon EOS M: From Snapshots to Great Shots will still be a useful resource.
By the way, the EOS M is still heavily discounted: Amazon has it (with 22mm lens) for just $329. The image quality really is superb—here’s a link to a set of photos I’ve shot using the EOS M.
[Alas, the deal has expired. However, you can still get the 45% off print books using the code CMPRI2013 and up to 60% off ebooks and videos using the code CMDIG2013 for Peachpit's Cyber Monday deals.]
For this week only, The iPad for Photographers, Second Edition is Peachpit’s Ebook of the Week! Get the book at 50% off, just $9.99, through December 1.
The purchase includes EPUB, Mobi, and PDF files, so you can view the book in glorious full-color layout (PDF) or as reformatted flowed text with full-color photos (EPUB and Mobi) on any device.
The ebook version is also great as a reference in the field—you already have an iPad or iPad mini available while shooting, so you can read the book while you’re waiting for the sun to come up!
Just in time for the holidays, the Canon EOS M mirrorless camera is now just a hair over $300 including the lens. (It originally sold for close to $800!)
Pick up the camera and a copy of my book (itself only $19) while you’re at it: Canon EOS M: From Snapshots to Great Shots
(My thanks in advance if you consider buying them using these affiliate links, which helps support me!)
Inspired by Duncan’s and Sam’s posts tonight, here’s my entrant into the new genre called “slow-motion autumn leaves shot with an iPhone 5s”: my daughter and the twins who live next door playing in our leaves. I captured the video, scored the music (using loops in GarageBand), and edited the video (in iMovie) entirely on the iPhone 5s.
There’s always guilt. You come home after shooting a bunch of photos and the queue is intimidating. During the Oregon Wonders Photography Workshop in October, I added 3,100 photos to my library. And when I got back, I had to jump immediately into three concurrent projects.
Even though I follow my own (excellent, I humbly suggest) advice for processing photos that I describe in my ebook Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac, the ratio of volume to time is stacked against me.
So I’ve been editing photos in dribs and drabs since then, and the guilt over neglecting the images I worked so hard to create is ebbing away. The editing backlog is still there, but now adjusting a photo or two is a welcome break from the other projects that are currently demanding the rest of my time.
The photo above comes from a satisfying sunrise shoot at Sparks Lake in Oregon. The morning light on the mountains overlooking the lake was gorgeous, but I also couldn’t resist the ice that had formed the night before along the edges of the water. As you can guess, it was also bracingly cold, but six layers of clothing and clear mountain air makes up for a lot.
Serenity Caldwell reviewed the new iMovie 10 for Macworld: iMovie 10 review: a lot to like, a few quibbles. As a longtime iMovie user (and author of several books and articles about it), here’s one line that particularly stood out:
The app’s fast enough now that it doesn’t need you to downscale your HD clips so that you can edit them.
Yay! I haven’t had a chance to play with the new version, but I’m looking forward to it.