Posts Tagged ‘cinemagraph’

“Let’s try Lynx Lake Cafe for breakfast,” Mike said.

I displayed my lack of Prescott, AZ lore without keen self-awareness by answering, “Where’s that?”

A turn at Costco and suddenly you are in the Prescott “Recreation Area” surrounded by pinyon pines and juniper. A couple of miles up the road and we turn off to see a cottage-like building beyond a parking lot. Nothing special yet. Then we step out of the car and walk toward the entrance. The smell of burning juniper wisps through the chilly morning air in February. And then I see it: Lynx Lake, and all reservations are forgotten.

Lynx Lake, Prescott, AZ

We open the screen door and pass an inviting fireplace and on to the picture windows over-looking the lake.

The Fireplace at the Lynx Lake Cafe

I must be getting old and sentimental because a year later, I invite Damon and Regina to breakfast to relive the romance of the venue. I look up and see them with the lake beyond and notice they are both otherwise occupied.

Let there be texting!

There is a ‘teachable moment’ here. I just haven’t learned it yet.


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Thanksgiving – A great chance for extended-family portraits.

Kay was looking for a photographer to capture the family on the Thanksgiving weekend. Scotty was sweet. She told her friend, “you’ve got to call Bill.” She did. As we chatted about the potential shoot, she informed me of the 12 to 14 adults, one infant and one 10-year old that would be in the house.

These occasions may have intimidated me once-upon-a-time. But that was before I met Monte, Clay Blackmore and Hanson Fong. Now, groups are opportunities for great fun!

And another phrase crosses my mind as I am talking to Kay on the phone:

If one person looks good in the image, it’s the person … if 14 people look good in the image, it’s the photographer!

We agree on the time and place, and I show. As I unload the lights, I muse to myself, “this is going to be fun.”  I can smell the turkey and dressing still surrounding the house from the day before, and I enter the living room with a large brick fireplace with a rustic feel.  Kay’s husband, John informs me who is there and how it will go. The chairs are lined up like a high school recital is about to begin. With John’s permission I lose most of the chairs and arrange two the way Monte would have: 45 degrees to the camera facing each other. And we begin.

Film and an old joke

First, as the family is getting ready in all corners of the house, I corral Kay and set her in front of the fireplace (before I remove the chairs) to confirm that the settings in the camera are good.  I can hear John, a man who spent 40 years in marketing explain to some of the family that are gathered in the kitchen that he remembers those days in the commercial world when they used to burn one roll of film in every shoot before the models would warm up.  I butt-in from the living room and remark that I agree — “in fact in the old days, I wouldn’t event put a roll of film in the camera for the first 20 shots.”

As Kay waits for me to shut up, I remark how great she looks, and how I only wish that I had put some film in this camera!  A woman accustomed to keeping her composure and determined to keep a smile on her face, Kay falls for the old joke:

Now, we were ready to get started!

Exploring the Concept of Giving an Inappropriate Gift to Grandma

Next, Kay’s sister — Linda … an attractive lady who has been introduced to me as the actor in the family, says that she often appears in print.  She looks like a print model — elegant, well-spoken and open.  She mentions that her latest gig was a gag shot for a famous luggage company in which she was obliged to make an expression that would match the slogan, “Don’t Give an Inappropriate Gift to Grandma This Season ….” “Please, I’ve got to see that pose,” I begged.  She warmly and quickly obliged:

Don't give an inappropriate gift to Grandma!

What a scream! Of course I couldn’t leave it like that; I quickly put her in a basic “Monte” pose and got the following portrait:

I couldn’t help myself. Every combination of portrait that we made was not complete until we had done the “inappropriate gift” shot — culminating finally in the whole family’s credible interpretation:

An Inappropriate Gift for the Whole Family!

This could be their favorite image; it certainly made my day.  (The astute reader will (of course) observe that the seasoned photographer was able to get the baby to perform!)


I was great to see these sisters in love and enjoying their respective families.


Lighting: Westcott Spiderlites.

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Now forty years gone, I still find myself hearing my late father’s favorite sayings. I was amused when he first said, “the old jokes are the best — that’s why they’re old!” I have since learned that this expression was fairly common four generations ago.

A self-funded race car driver, he used to drive pedal-to-the-metal with thumb and index fingers on the wheel weaving through traffic citing the title of this post. Mother would object claiming, “Stop showing off, Bill. We’re all going to die!” He wouldn’t.

Now that the decades have assuaged any high-speed fear that I might have suffered then, I come more-and-more to realize what he meant. While reviewing some video of interviews, I came across one that stood-out after-the-fact. I sensed the young woman had more to tell than what I had interpreted to be a safe answer to a question about changes that she may have experienced in her life after studying alternative healing methods.

With one take “in-the-can,” I approached her to try to get to a deeper level, and quickly realized that she had said all that she had intended to say. In the following image, you can see her subtle reaction to my invitation to explore a deeper level in her response.

In the end, she gave a polite response, but I can’t help feeling that had the invitation been better-crafted, that something profound might have happened … or not.

I am reminded by the teachings of another friend and mentor, Hugh Milne, as he suggests to students of craniosacral work who are anxious to help their clients:

“you can’t go too deep — just too fast!”


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Not Your Typical Doc

Last week in the desert, while doing some video interviews, I met Dr. Leonard (no, not McCoy). A medical doctor who has a keen interest in indigenous healing methods, the doctor divides her time between her practice Down Under and her philanthropic work in Africa.

When she showed up to a second interview in a beautiful ceremonial dress, I couldn’t help asking her to pose for this study.

Dr. Leonard

Dr. Phillipa Leonard, MD


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