Posts Tagged ‘christmas season’

“I Don’t Know Why I Remember…” is the first exercise from Alice LaPlante’s “the making of a story,” a book I recommend highly. The point of the exercise is discovery of material “that remains ‘hot’ for you in some important emotional way.” I have four of these from my archives that I’ll be posting soon. But, in the spirit of Christmas, I decided to write a new one. Here goes.

Merry Christmas from John

Merry Christmas from John Click to enlarge

I don’t know why I remember peeking downstairs that year on Christmas Eve. It cost me dearly (or so I thought at the time). The living room was brightly lit, just pouring festive up the stairs. The adults were enjoying the holiday merry while we kids were all nestled in our beds. Yeah, right. Sleep was impossible. I lay there trying to will myself to sleep until the idea that morning would never come pushed me out of my bed and down the hall for a peek at the head of the stair. What was all this noise? What am I missing?

Of course they caught me and told me to get back into my bed, that Santa had already taken one of my toys back for being naughty. No way was I risking the loss of another toy, so my angelic self set a world record hustling back to my bed where I lay wondering which toy Santa took back but sleep came. Morning came. Christmas was here.

I always wondered which toy went back into the sleigh. Did Santa give my toy to some other more deserving kid? I carried this burden until I discovered the truth about Santa, when part of the magic of Christmas disappeared forever.

Christmas magic is a special kind of magic kept alive by the children. There are other forms of ‘kid magic,’ but Christmas magic is the best.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The photo above of me could have been taken that Christmas many years ago when magic reigned and I still believed.

Update: I was 3 years old when this photo was taken which dates it to Christmas, 1947. That’s 67 years ago!


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Here’s the first post from the photos I took over the Christmas Holiday.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

From left to right: Carmel Jones – my mother-in-law, Daughters Sue and Erin, Twin Granddaughters Maddy in front, Livvy behind.

I took five shots and this one turned out best. I do like it. I used my new FujiFilm X10. I like that camera. It takes good quality photos and it’s not a point and shoot with no control. Can’t wait to get out in the woods (when I’m feeling better and the weather is warmer).

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I finished the roll of Tri-X in my F3 on Sunday. Hey, 36 exposures can take awhile. I developed and scanned the film the other day. I have a few good ones to share. This week it’s Livvy and Maddy again.


This photo was taken on Christmas Eve at Sue’s home where we had a lovely family gathering. As you can see, Livvy (on the right) and Maddy certainly enjoyed themselves.


Tracy and I visited Sue and the twins on Christmas morning (Sara and Julia were with their dad). Maddy (on the left) and Livvy seem deep in thought here. I don’t remember what Maddy was doing or looking at, but I think Livvy was watching the TV.

Both images were taken with my F3HP and 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor lens. The film was Tri-X rated at 1250 ISO and developed in Diafine. I love my 50mm lenses. I think 50mm is an ideal focal length for making images of kids, at least I’ve had good results with this focal length over the years.

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You might do a double take when you see the first photograph. Are you looking in a mirror or are the girls twins?

Say hello to Maddy and Livvy, our three year old twin granddaughters. The occasion was a Christmas concert at the local grade school. Two of our older granddaughters, Sara and Emily are in the school choir. They were scheduled next. Maddy, in the background, standing on her chair, conducts the school band. Her performance was stellar. Livvy was only standing for a minute, probably because Maddy was standing.

Here’s a shot of the band for context. These kids were pretty good too.

The photos were shot with my Bessaflex and 50mm Takumar screw mount lens. The film was Tri-X @ ISO 1,250 — no flash.

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Wishing all of you, my friends who come to visit (and your families), a Christmas season filled with peace and love. Thank you all for your kind words, for enriching my life and for the opportunity to share our passions for photography, writing and life itself with each other. You’re the best.

Merry Christmas from John

This photo was taken in 1947. The kid in the short pants sitting by the Christmas tree is me when I was a wee lad of three. I scanned this image from an old B&W photo about a month ago. I restored it, cropping it a bit to get rid of the worst damage around the edges and cleaning up the rest. Then I adjusted the tones (using curves) and gave it a sepia tint to warm it up and inject a touch of nostalgia along with the magic of a child’s Christmas. Kudos to the family photographer, whoever it was.


New Section —  Photo Books – where you can download a free copy of Saigon 1966: Volume One – Black & White, the ebook version (pdf).

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Two good things about my Christmas spent in Vietnam in 1966: When any of us received a care package from home we shared and I didn’t have to shovel snow. Phila., my home town, had a massive snowstorm on Christmas Eve that year. We, on the other hand worried about sunburn (among other things).

Merry Christmas from Vietnam 1966

Here’s a shot of three of the guys in our outfit digging into a Christmas care package someone received from home. Did I mention that we always shared? I converted this scan from an old color slide because I prefer the B&W version.

Merry Christmas to all and please share. Speaking of sharing,  I added a new tab to the Aware Writer this evening Photo Books  where you can download a free copy of Saigon 1966: Volume One – Black & White, the ebook version (pdf).

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Once again, I scoured my archives for old images that reflected the spirit of the Christmas season. Today’s photos were taken on Christmas Eve, ten years ago with my now obsolete 2 megapixel Olympus digicam.

Nearly everyone in the neighborhood participated. We all lined our driveways and walks with candles inside white paper bags and lit them at an agreed upon time on Christmas Eve back in 2001. It made a lovely scene. Here’s a shot of our home that I made from the sidewalk.

Here’s another, closer view of the same subject. I probably used the zoom lens on the camera to move closer. I remember using a tripod and the EXIF data confirms my memory. The shutter speed was two full seconds.

I couldn’t decide which of these images I liked best so I offer both.

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