Grasp The Moment Photography

Note inside … Please read

This was a weekend of gifts.

Saturday was clean out day. My parents and I are cleaning out and fixing up the basement of the house, getting a new drier, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc (To emphasize the work involved.) On Saturday morning, a dumpster was dropped in front of the house and by Saturday night, it was full. Dad served the cold beers all day, Mom took the kids out and I had a few great friends to help me accomplish the rest.

We worked through the day, and by the time we were done, my kids had returned and were finished with what they had to do in my apartment. A secret, of some sort, or at least that’s what I led them to believe. See, I turn 35 this week, and since I had my kids this weekend, we were celebrating. I got a crown to wear, pizza and beer, and some really cool presents, but the best part was that all the people I really love were there with me. Its all I really wanted for my birthday.

Sunday me and the boys headed out on a mission, we were in search of the ocean.

When Jackster and I crossed the GWB a few weeks ago, we watched the Hudson river float by, and I began to tell him about messages in bottles floating in the sea. His eyes turned big and he asked if we could do that. So Sunday morning he and I sat at the table and we wrote out notes, that gave his name, my email address, and the request to contact us when the note was found. We wrapped the bottles up in tape and drove off to Sands Point. The three of us stood on the beach and tossed the bottles we made into the current with the highest of hopes. Jack and James threw pebbles after them, and I watched them bob up and down in the waves until they had disappeared from view. I told Jack that I couldn’t see them anymore and he said “Awesome…” and went back to throwing rocks. Yeah, I know it’s a 50 50 chance they’ll ever be found, but hey, we can hope right?

We left the beach and explored the rest of the preserve – itself a gift from the original owners to the public to be enjoyed for the beauty it is. We found a nice quiet little spot on the side of a pond and the three of us played, pretended to fish and camp out. It was a beautiful gift, the gift of time alone with my boys.

I regrouped with my mom in the basement to survey the cleanup after I brought the boys back to their mother. My mom and I had already been to home depot to look at new lighting and a new dryer, and to be honest, I really just wanted to go relax. I was contemplating feigning a heart attack to get away from her when she finally said, “Here, you have this.” and handed me a dusty old metal box.In an instant, my heart stopped when I opened it. Inside was a precious gift, something I never expected to have, and something I’m still so childish about, that I have it sitting in the desk next to me, as if me being away from it would make it disappear again.

My grandfather’s camera.

It’s a Kodak Graflex and it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen simply because I know he held it in his hands, his eye looked through it.

Then she said to me “He’d be so proud of your photos.” and I couldn’t think of a thing to say.

I never met James Killeen, but my whole life I’ve been told how much I’m like him. When I took up photography the deal was complete. He was a photographer, self taught, and more talented than I could ever hope to be. I used to sit with my Grandmother and make her tell me stories of the man in the self portrait with the fedora and the smoke curls circling around his head. When the time came, I named my first born son after him in the hopes that maybe he’d be able to capture some of the essence and spirit I had only heard about in all those family stories.

So the 65 year old camera sits here now, next to my Nikon D90.

Maybe they’re sharing stories. Maybe my D90 is telling it about the day we had and the Graflex is responding, “oh yeah, that’s nothing compared to the day’s we’re gonna have.”

Until I get the Graflex working, here’s some shots from today…

The Hempstead House

Message In A Bottle

Jack And James On The Beach

Our Bottles Float Away

Autumn Pond

The Hempstead House In The Afternoon Sun


7 responses

  1. DaveCat

    You always have the bestest of stories…

    ~Peace & Love~

    November 9, 2009 at 1:17 pm

  2. suehenryphotography

    Congratulations on many things — helping your parents get the basement cleaned, a wonderful activity shared with your sons, more frequent blogging posts filled with great photos and stories, your 35th birthday, and…….oh, the wonderful gift you’ve received; your grandfather’s camera! It’s a gift to be treasured. But then, you know that.

    November 9, 2009 at 1:35 pm

  3. Mike

    You never cease to impress me with your vision and talent for painting a picture with words. Good luck getting the old boy up and running again, and if you need any help you know where to find me.

    November 9, 2009 at 4:31 pm

  4. Jenn

    Wow! What an awesome dad, I envy those boys.
    Such an amazing weekend, you’re so blessed to be surrounded by so many who love you.
    These photos are breathtaking, makes me wanna take off and go see it for myself.
    If you get a response from that bottle, I’d love to hear it 🙂
    Again, outstanding blog,
    Keep us posted…

    November 9, 2009 at 5:51 pm

  5. Lovely account of a lovely day!

    November 9, 2009 at 6:17 pm

  6. Doug

    Like I’ve said elsewhere, I can’t wait to see what comes of that great old camera.

    Another great blog Ptch.

    I really like the 3rd pic from the bottom of these new ones. I love it when you have to stare to find where the reflections begin and end. Nice one!

    November 9, 2009 at 10:29 pm

  7. Doug

    Oh and Happy advance Birthday brother!

    November 9, 2009 at 10:30 pm

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