My summer begins today!

After a long absence from this blog (sorry, my ropes course blog has stolen some of my writing time), I’m back!

Today marks the 17th year I’ve been at Timber-lee for summer camp… over the years as a rock wall belayer, program assistant, coordinator, and currently director of their challenge course program. In just a few short hours, my seasonal instructors will be arriving, along with about 100 others as we begin preparation for serving thousands of youth in the coming 3 months.

Bring it!


Not gonna apologize…

IMG_5964Ok, my dedication to my personal blog has been, putting it politely… waning? I had to grin a bit as I titled this post. Little bit of “Dave Trivia”… While in 3rd grade, I came in 3rd place in the Oconomowoc School District spelling bee. The word that nixed my aspirations to be a true brainiac? Apologize (I spelled it with two p’s.)

Life has just been busy. I’ve been sinking more time into my professional blog, www.theropesguy.com, so if I’m absent from here, check out my alter-site.

Spring is here… for a few days, at least. Gonna be almost 70 degrees tomorrow, so I have to take the motorcycle out before the temps drop later this week. I rode it up and down our street a few times before returning it to the garage.

Hiring staff for my summer team is going well. Out of twelve possible spots, only two openings remain. Every year, God assembles a great group of people to serve with me, and this year is shaping up to be no exception.

Alright, time for bed. Just spent the last couple hours finishing my Red Cross instructor recertification online. Nice to get that done and off my rather long list of spring/summer to do’s.


Where have I been?

I'm still here, still plugging away at home, at camp, enjoying my family, doing wild stuff. I recently read a tech article titled, “2013 – The Year Blogs Died” or something along those lines. I laughed as I read it, knowing my blog's been sitting like a turd for several months. Now it all makes sense. 🙂

Well, now that I'm back, where to start? Enjoying our winterXtreme weekends at camp. Had over 200 campers do our Zipline while the snow fell. Picture a Zipline in a snow globe and you'll have an idea of last Saturday was like.

 

Built my first major wood project last week. The workbench that came with the house was really beat up & woefully small. Took the better part of a day, but almost doubled the workspace, put in a lower shelf for power tools & cases. Now if I can just keep it from getting cluttered…

 


Still there?

Consumed by the craziness of life, I remembered the other day that (1) I have a blog, and (2) it's been a LONG time since I've posted.

Sorry!

It's not that there's not a lot to write about. To the contrary, I've had plenty of potential topics pass through my noggin over the past several months, but none of them have made it to the site.

Maybe that's a good thing? A bit healthy?

As I think about it, I think I'm ok with the fact that I don't feel compelled to share every significant experience or deep thought that gives me pause. In September, I walked Olivia to school for her first day of first grade. No pictures, no penning my thoughts. Just me & my princess sharing 30 minutes together. Sometimes it's ok to say, “it's mine.”

But… I also recognize the value in having this blog as a personal outlet, not to mention the privilege it is to have you the reader give of your time to read my posts.

Here's to balance 🙂

 


It’s been how long?

Good thing I don't rely on writing this blog for a living! Boy, how time flies 🙂

Will try to post more in the coming weeks, but in a nutshell…

– Bought a motorcycle

– Olivia's finishing kindergarten

– Building a 900' zip line at camp

– and much more!

 


Ninja Photography

You've seen it before – you're at a [wedding, baptism, etc.], trying to pay attention to the ceremony, watch the event unfold before you… and here comes the photographer. Gear bag bouncing, jingling, bounding loudly onto the platform to get a shot… and in the process, blocking the view of half the attendees.

DRIVES ME NUTS!

For those of you who don't know, I'm a photographer. Besides providing the best images possible to my clients, I also work hard to provide the best services as well. When I'm shooting a wedding, the “stars of the show” are the bride & groom. I'm not supporting cast, not even a walk-on cameo. I strive to be as invisible as possible. It was years ago, as I was honing my stealthy skills, that I coined the term “Ninja Photography.” Plus, anything with ninjas is just plain cool! 🙂

So, how does one embark on the journey to true ninja photography? Here are some tips…

(1) Dress for the venue & tone of the event. Formal wedding? Wear conservative formalwear. Casual? Wear nice casualwear. It's the equivalent of wearing camouflage. When you blend in, you don't distract. There are exceptions to this, especially if it's not a private event. Rule of thumb – always good form to ask the client what they'd prefer… they are writing your check, after all.

(2) Know the venue. If at all possible, scope out the location prior to the shoot. For fast-moving events like weddings, this is imperative. When I shoot weddings, I insist that I attend the rehearsal. Besides being a sneak preview of the ceremony, it familiarizes me with the layout of the area, I can note ideal locations for capturing critical shots, any hallways, alternate entrances, etc. that will facilitate my movement once the game is on. I'll never forget working one wedding as the sole shooter. There was one point in the ceremony that, to nail the shots I wanted, required fast movement from the rear of the church to backstage in under a minute. I took my last shot from the rear, ducked out a nearby entrance, ran through a utility hallway to a backstage doorway & discreetly fired away. When reviewing the prints with the couple a few weeks later, the bride looked puzzled & asked, “how did you get this? I didn't even see you…”

Ninja.

(3) Check your pockets & silence your kit. Keys, loose change… there should be nothing in your pockets that jingle. Might as well wear bells. Make a self check part of your pre-event routine. Don't forget your shoes. If at all possible, ditch the dress shoes that “clack” on hard floors. They're loud and slippery. Instead, look for the tools other “stealthy” pros use. Besides other pairs of soft-soled shoes, I have a pair of polished black tactical boots. Hey, if they're good enough for sneaking up on bad guys, they're good enough for getting close for a critical shot.

Couple other things to consider regarding noise discipline. Velcro is the enemy. Quiet sanctuary, officiant is leading a prayer… RIP! Yeah. Buy bags that don't use velcro. Some quality bags actually have velcro “silencers.” Me, I took my favorite bag, a seam ripper, and just removed the velcro tabs from covers & pockets I need to access while in action.

Side note on bags. Don't be afraid to stash your bag in a secluded spot during the action when you need to move fast & quiet. Just because you own it doesn't mean it has to be on your hip every second. They're big, make noise, and slow you down. You shouldn't sound like a paratrooper carrying a 70 lb. rucksack trudging down the isle. Very non-ninja!

Oh, and for the love… TURN OFF ALL BEEPS! Mute everything possible. You've seen (and heard) this – Bride and groom, exchanging vows while the autofocus churns away. BEEP, click, BEEP, click. When I buy a camera, one of the first things I look for in the settings is how to silence it.

So, there ya have it. Practice your skills, be the ninja, and take your services to the next level.

 


Glimpses of God from an exasperated dad

Ok, I had a difficult day…

The eightieth time I reminded Olivia to pick up her toys. The umpteenth time I had to tell the girls to stop arguing about how many My Little Ponys each was sharing (Hattie was upset about how many Olivia had, though according to an impromptu pony census, Hattie’s herd actually numbered greater.) Don’t even get me started about the copious amount of oatmeal that had made it to the kitchen floor under their chairs, practically requiring a pneumatic hammer to chissel clear.

ENOUGH!!

It was close enough to naptime that I sent them to separate rooms… they truly needed the rest & I needed the break.

As the quiet of the house helped lower my blood pressure & my primitive fight/flight response was replaced by more reasonable thought, it made me very aware of how little patience I actually had with my girls… especially when they started behaving like normal 5 & 3yr olds. By extension, it made me extremely appreciative of God’s patience with me, especially when I start behaving like a… well, a normal, flawed human being incapable of living a God-pleasing life apart from His grace.


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