Details thru the lense – A breakfast in Ireland (and reflections of a Dad’s journey while at a special breakfast back home)

‎”Don’t think about making art. Just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they’re deciding, make even more art.” – Andy Warhol

This evening, I decided to look back into the archives for a few images I remembered taking. The inspiration? My daughter actually! I took a little time this evening and printed a few images of her’s from a photo class she took this summer and I have to tell you, they were really good! She really has a good eye 🙂 …. She’s growing up a little too fast, but not much I can do about that though right?  More on that later though……

About the image I created tonight…..

While on a quiet breakfast I had during a trip exploring the Irish countryside, I began to notice the details that surrounded me.  I tend to take these trips alone. Always have actually….for the most part. I guess that the camera works as a sort of travel companion at times ya know? I then created this layout with a print template in Lightroom that I modified a bit. Kinda has that travel magazine feel to it I think. An average group of images when viewed one at a time, but to me, tell a bit of a story when viewed as a group. Perhaps…..

And on a totally unrelated note….(I wrote this portion of the blog much earlier today…..when it was fresh in my mind)

I often come across something non photography related and have a deep desire to share. The following could perhaps be a ramble best left for another blog completely, (in fact, it absolutely should!), but for now, this convenient place for me will have to do I guess.

As a few of you may know, I have been on a bit of a “self development” journey of sorts. My quotes here on the blog from time to time might indeed be a dead give away. Like I said though, this half of the post really has nothing at all to do with photography, the arts, HDR, creativity, or travel, so I understand if you decide to click away now. If you plan on getting off the ride now however, I’ve included a cool little video just for you! For everyone else, I’ll continue the ramble on the other side! Enjoy 🙂

You’re still here?

So where was I now…

Oh yeah, the personal journey…..

Life comes at ya….hard sometimes if you let it. It can at times be a little bit of a challenge keeping in all in balance. I lost that battle a couple of years ago. A caring wife, (at least I think so), a wonderful daughter, a great career, a nice home in a great neighborhood, the white picket fence, (well maybe not the fence), but lacking a clear plan in how to keep it all together. Well, as it happens with so many of us, (50% to be exact), too deep of a focus into any one aspect of your life creates a little caos. Work work work. Buy more stuff. Build up the team. Maintain the brand. Work work work. Personally satisfying? Yes, of course, but way off balance! If corrected early enough, there is usually an opportunity to stay on the right path. I tried, we tried, but this 10 year journey I had started had quickly come to a fork in the road where there were some tough decisions to make and in turn live with. It’s funny (not really) how you never see the signs early enough. If you see yourself there, trust me…it might be time to slow down and have a nice long chat with yourself and your spouse. Just sayin’

(I get a feeling this is going to be a long post…….it’s not to late to escape!)

Enter the next phase of my life….

What the hell happened? What went wrong. It was all her fault. It was all my fault. The voices in my head….oh the voices. Maddening at times I tell ya.

It eventually gets a little clearer though…..

After cleaning it all up, it’s time to dig in, roll up the sleeves, and get back to work. Of course, I’m not talking about work as in “the career” work, I’m talking about taking account of all aspects of life….physical and emotional well being, relationships, spirituality, creative passions, financial and investments, business, family…all of it. ALL OF IT. As I have read so many times, there comes a moment in your life (usually after a fall of sorts) when this reality hits you. I guess that was the moment when I decided to get back to taking a little time for myself and start creating again in the world of photography and digital art. A loose tie in to this particular blog of course, but a reality now that I think a bit about it.

So, as I have been reminding myself over the past 3 or 4 years now, your life’s direction is 100% about where you decide to take it. It has nothing to do with circumstance or blame, thats a victim mentality. (There seems to be a little too much of that going around lately in my opinion.) Sure it is a tough realization to grasp a hold of, but essential for future healing and growth.  Knowing now that this awareness is something that I will continue to use as a tool until its time to leave this world as a physical being, I have for the last 3 years or so decided to be a little more proactive and seek out all the help I can find. Once again, I am referring to several spokes in the wheel…, health, relationships, investing, etc. Let’s just focus on one of those for now though shall we….

This brings me to a little get together I attended this morning…..

High on the list of priorities of mine is staying connected to my daughter. Should be easy right? As a passionate photographer and traveler though, I sometimes realize that that this can be a bit tough and might seemingly be the only thing keeping me a bit grounded. In fact, there is a really good chance that without that responsibilty, I very well might be on a sabatical of sorts somewhere in the world. As I have talked about here on the blog, for the several years leading up to that start of a new life that I so misserably failed in, I would live that “nomadic” sort of life every summer. A back pack, a plane ticket, and a rail pass, and a half assed itinerary……thats all I needed for a couple of months. It’s in these times of deeper self discovery that I get a clearer picture of the life I want to create for myself. Be it a train ride thru the country side of France or just a quiet moment on the balcony with a fresh glass of green juice, it’s important to take that time.

Wait a minute….I’m really getting off track here. This wasn’t supposed to be about me and my wanderlust. Oh how the brain wanders. Focus Mike!

Your’re still here? Cool. I think I might have gotten a little off track here. (wait, I just said that!)

Let’s keep rambling now shall we?

Like I said, it’s all about balance though…..several spokes in the wheel to keep tuned…..

As a single dad, it can be a challange staying connected. I am sure I’m not alone here. In fact, I just now felt like I was part of a much larger group as I typed in the words “how to stay conected” into my google search bar. Just after golf swing (are that many people searching for how to stay connected to your golf swing?…!) was the word “teenager”. I must say, a chill went up my spine just as a few tears formed in my eyes. Teenager…..that’s just around the corner! And staying conected….that’s easy right? I mean, we have always been close so that will just logically happen right? Apparently, from what I am reading, that might take a little work as well. The easiest choice would be to disconnect as my own father did so well, but that’s a path that I swore I would not take! Time to search for a little guidance again…..

That being said, I took notice of a little program called  the “All Pro Dad’s Day” that was on a piece of paper that my daughter brought home other day. It talked about a short little before school breakfast offering great tips and resources to get your “Dad Game” on. Sign me up! I need all the help I can get!

I warned ya… photography tips here!

As I arrived, I noticed a few familiar faces. Aaron, George, Lilly’s dad (man I am bad with names!). There is a small pack of us that always seems to show up to these school things 🙂 As unconnected to life as I sometimes feel, it always feels good to be part of the group that is taking the time to be present. Although the meeting was short, it was meaningful. Building those preciuos moments of time with my “not so little one any more” have been one of those spokes of the wheel I mentioned before. The quick takeaway from the meeting today was to never end the day without telling your kid 3 things. You love them, you are proud of them, and something that they did well that day. More important for me though, was the resource’s that are available online. Here is a cool link to their recource page. Check it out! Good stuff 🙂   Top Ten Resources


Here is an example of some of the many resources that can be found on the site:

10 Ways to Know You Are a Successful Father

“Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.” (Ruth E. Renkel)  There is not one single path to successful parenting. All fathers are not created equal in method nor in standards. What sets a successful father apart from the pack is passion for his duty and the ability to love unconditionally. Possession of those two traits is the common denominator in all successful parents. The following list can be considered the “greatest hits” of an awesome Dad.

  1.  Real Communication     Talking is the most valuable tool in a father’s belt. Conversation is information and information is understanding. Serious, funny, or totally random. Every conversation had with your child is invaluable to you as a parent. Know your child better than they know themselves. Then tailor your guidance towards that knowledge.
  2. Respect And Love Your Wife     “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” (Rev. Theodore Hesburgh)  Your son will grow up one day to treat a woman the same way his father treated women. Your daughter will grow to expect the treatment that was provided in Dad’s example. This country has an epidemic of disrespectful young men and young women with low self-esteem. We are daily bombarded with examples of male prowess and female promiscuity. That’s no accident. We have a duty to stand and fight this battle against good family principles. That starts by always showing your wife the love and respect she deserves.
  3. The Bedtime Story     Every time you read to your child, it’s an intimate and special moment. They have your full attention, and that’s the thing they crave most.  Daddy adds the funny voices and physical animations as he reads. Your daughter’s eyes light up and a smile takes over her face as you talk in your moose voice and put pretend antlers on your head. Silliness is something you both enjoy and understand, but more importantly this time together builds trust and makes your child feel secure.
  4. The Guard Dog     Speaking of security, children crave it like you crave that Kit-Kat™ you have tucked away in your desk. A successful father has children who know that Dad will always be there to protect them—no matter what.  He’s a big, hairy, loveable guard-dog…ferocious when required, but gentle, loving and loyal to the very end
  5. Friends     We are usually only as good as the company we keep. Friends are an important part of your child’s life. Chances are they spend more time in the company of their close friends than with you. That is a very large amount of influence that is not under your control. It is imperative that you have a relationship with these friends. Make the effort to know them as well as their parents. Your child’s friends should be diverse and inspiring.
  6. Discipline     “Just wait until your father comes home.” What child hasn’t heard that at some point? Discipline is a responsibility that all parents experience. It’s not pretty and certainly not easy. The alternative is a spoiled and out of control child with no boundaries of behavior. There’s good news, though. A successful dad follows through on discipline enough times to gain respect from his children.  They have learned from experience not to test Dad. He means exactly what he says, and they can trust him to be consistent.
  7. The Good Humor Man     A great dad has fun with his kids.  They joke, they laugh, they play and they hug.  No need to be a world class comedian.  To your kids, Dad, even when you’re not funny, it’s still comical.  Joking around with Dad is great fun for all children.  Let them.  Of course, there is a level of respect that should be maintained, but other than that, let yourself be teased occasionally.  They love it.  They love you.
  8. The Educator     Class is in session and you are the professor. Life has many lessons that will either be learned the easy way or the hard way. Dad is the voice of experience. Share your wisdom early and often with your children. Your advice will not always be followed, but it should always be given.  Don’t be afraid to let your child fail.  Just be there afterwards to lovingly explain why failure occurred and sow the seeds to future success.
  9. Spiritual Leader     A wise father realizes that God is in control.  Worship is a cornerstone in the life of a successful family. Guide them as they grow in their faith.  Be the man God would have you be.
  10. The Example     “My Father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it.” (Clarence Budington Kelland)  Many parents make the mistake of stopping their own lives once they have children. Dedicating themselves and immersing their own hopes and dreams into the lives of their children. This is a tragic mistake for all involved. Be the example for them.  Show them how to live in a positive way—with passion, desire and joy in everything you do.

Just the other day, when I realized that my next book might be a resource book of sorts to help in my journey of staying connected with my daughter, this little meeting and resource site appeared into my existence. Sure, I feel I am doing a pretty good job so far, but its always nice to get a few pointers along the way.

So why the long post Mike?

My hope is that this post might someday effect some other dad as well. I felt that I had to share the message somehow as I drove home. In fact, as soon as I got home after the breakfast this morning, I googled the video below that they played at the meeting. Wow, I realize that I might have a lot to learn! Talk about giving you’re whole life to helping others!

Hey, cool, ya made it! I hope you got a few take away’s from this post. Like I said, perhaps a wee bit off subject here, but it seemed a little more important to share than rambles about fstops, shutter speeds, and ISO settings. Don’t worry though, I’ll get back to that tomorrow 🙂

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