The Graduate

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Sam graduated from high school today, and we could not be more proud of him. Today’s graduation ceremonies signaled the start of what is likely to be one of the most important transitions in his life, and as parents we can only hope he is ready for what lies ahead of him.

Enjoying school and posting a stellar academic record throughout his career, his motivation to learn has forever been impressive. He has spent considerable time on the practice and game fields learning life lessons and reaping the benefits of athletic competition, though lately he has poured his energy into after-school activities that have tested his intellect, his leadership skills, and his emotions.

As we gathered to congratulate the newly minted graduates and take post-ceremony photographs, we marveled at how Sam has forged friendships that will be strong enough to last a lifetime. We are extremely proud of our eldest son… the young man he has become and the the older brother he will always be. Having family with us to share in the weekend festivities was pretty special, and as Sam prepares for the many changes he will now have to navigate, we are confident that he is indeed ready for the challenge.

Congratulations big man… we are all very proud of you!

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Northern Lights

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As I was going through some older images…

I don’t like to call it a “bucket list” – but rather I call it my “things to do in life” list. Everyone has one right? Well… on mine always right up near the top was to see one of the most famous sights in nature… the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.

I came a cross this image as I was doing some editing – it is from the one and only time I have ever witnessed the Aurora Borealis. About 7 years or so ago we had gone out to dinner one fall evening, and as we pulled into the driveway at home I stepped out of the car and was absolutely mesmerized by an intense and unique pinkish/red glow in the sky overhead.

It took me a while before I realized exactly what was going on, but when my brain clicked into gear I grabbed my camera and tripod and scurried down to the local golf course in an attempt to try to escape the light pollution from being in-town and get to a place that was relatively dark. The colors I witnessed in that night sky were stunning and unforgettable. I saw the most intense reds, oranges, pinks, yellows and greens. The skies overhead were on fire, and I even had to de-saturate the colors here.

Without any kind of interesting foreground to frame the scene, I struggled to do justice with the camera to what my eyes were seeing. I ended up pretty much forgetting about trying to take photographs and just stared at the sky for what seemed like ages. It is very hard to put into words what I was seeing, and I was in absolute awe of the phenomenon I was witnessing all across the night skies above me.

The light show lasted about 45 minutes, and sometime during that span I set up the self-timer and walked around in front of the camera hoping that I might be able to create a silhouette of my shape to at least try to add something of interest to the foreground. I remember the shutter was open for something like 30 seconds or so, and that I had to guess where to stand with my back to the camera so as to be in the frame, and I also had to stand perfectly still during the exposure so that my outline would be relatively sharp. I kind of like how this turned out… but unfortunately other than that one occasion, I have yet to see the northern lights again.