Articles by hopeandmemoryphotography

Are air purifiers safe for babies?

air purifiers safe

Enhancing the overall efforts to setup a nursery for a baby is very important in the life of every new parent. Different brands of air purifiers are available on the market and recommended for those who require purifying the indoor air in the successful way. You may be a new parent and thinking about the successful approach investing in a brand-new air purifier for your baby. You can focus on whether the air purifier is safe for your baby or not.

Once you have understood overall requirements for the baby air purifier shopping, you can read honest reviews of top brands of high-quality air purifiers recommended by parents and experts in the baby air purifier sector. You can explore the specifications and benefits of the best baby air purifier in detail at this time. You will get the absolute assistance whenever you discuss with specialists in the air purifier and make an informed decision to prefer and invest in the suitable air purifier.

How to take care of your baby

The lung capacity of newborns and toddlers is smaller than the lung capacity in adults. Babies inhale more breaths every minute than adults. Usually babies breathe from 40 to 60 times per minute when compared to adults breathe from 18 to 20 times per minute. Homes rich in bacteria, allergens, mold spores, viruses and other unhealthy things floating around inside give various health problems to all people especially babies.

The indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air. This is mainly because every home is built to be airtight. If the pollutants enter the home, then they have no way to immediately escape. Baby nurseries are at the maximum risk of air pollution from hidden airborne contaminants released by different items new parents bring into their baby nursery.

There are loads of problems associated with the volatile organic compounds from various sources like paints and stains, glues and adhesives, pressed wood used in furniture, foam padding, carpet backing, varnishes and other things. Some of the short and long term health effects of breathing contaminated air are headaches, sore throat, nausea, nervous system damage, respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis and organ damages.

Healthcare professionals specialized in the baby’s healthcare these days suggest the best baby air purifier. This is because they make certain about how this product purifies the air and assists every baby to be healthy indoor.

Advanced and safe baby air purifiers on online

Many brands of advanced air purifiers available on the market at this time may confuse you. You can focus on the foremost attractions of these products and take note of benefits and drawbacks of these appliances. You will get the absolute assistance and decide on the successful approach for the baby air purifier shopping.

There are two important things to consider before choosing the air purifier for your baby’s room. These two things are true HEPA filter and activated carbon filter. These components keep the baby healthy when their power combined at a good level to get rid of air pollutants, odours and volatile organic compounds in the room.

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Choose and buy the suitable baby air purifier

A regular improvement in the design and production of the best baby air purifier attracts almost every parent who has planned to invest in the world-class nature of the air purifier for purifying indoor air in their baby’s room on a regular basis. This is worthwhile to focus on the UV-C light feature in the baby air purifiers. This is because this light works particularly for destroying the bacteria, fungi, viruses and germs and reducing the possibilities of sickness and infections in the baby.

A true HEPA filter is used to remove common sources of the air pollution present in every home. This product removes the dust, pollen, bacteria, mold spores, pet dander, viruses and other unhealthy things in the baby’s room.

An activated carbon filter is an important component of the air purifier and used to remove the smelly odours and volatile organic compounds from the nursery. This product is also useful to remove or reduce the smell of dirty diapers. You can seek advice from specialists in the baby air purifiers and fulfil your wishes about the baby air purifier shopping within the budget.

2013 Pin It to Win It Winner!

Are you ready for the Pin It to Win It 2013 winner?!  This is truly one of the highlights of my year; I can not express to you how much I absolutely love going through the entries.  The downside is that it is so very hard for me to pick a winner!  There were a couple I kept going back and forth between, but, ultimately, this one by Christina Martini stole my heart.

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“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is my very favorite Shakespeare play (if I thought I could get away with naming this impending baby Titania, I probably would!) and has always captured my imagination in a really big way.  If you couldn’t tell, I am a big sucker for fantasy and whimsy and this just totally fits the bill.  If I were creating this session for myself, this is very likely what my own pin board would look like and I am really excited to create this session for someone that so closely matches my own vision (like I said, I seriously considered naming this girl Titania… just so I could do a Midsummer Night’s Dream newborn concept… priorities, right?!).

 

If you didn’t win but would still like your dream session to happen, I want to help you create it!  Book your concept session by June 10th and enjoy a complimentary $150 print credit (that’s like TWO free 8×10 prints!) on me.

 

And with that, ladies and gentleman, I have to tell you I am officially on maternity leave (I’ll still be available via email, just expect a likely delayed response time) for June and July.  I just got this sneak peek from my maternity photos a few weeks ago by the fabulous Sarah Cornish at My Four Hens Photography and I couldn’t help but share it with you here.  She made me feel so very pretty, which is quite an accomplishment since I almost always refuse to step in front of the camera.  Check her out if you are in the Ft. Collins, CO area!

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A maternity portrait taken for me by Sarah Cornish of My Four Hens Photography

Pin It to Win It 2013 | Win a FREE concept session with Seattle children’s photographer

You may remember that last year I held my first annual Pin It to Win It contest.  It was SO much fun and I absolutely loved seeing all your dream concepts.  For reference, this was the winner announcement and here was her completed session.  LOVED it.  And now, now it is time to do it all over again; I am just giddy with excitement to see what the entries will bring this year!

WHAT:
Pin your absolute dream concept session with me.  We all have those childhood daydreams that we wish were a reality… here is your opportunity to turn them into a reality for your children, even if it is just an experience one afternoon, the photos they have will last them a lifetime of dreaming and remembering.  I do this by combining some posing and many candid shots to marry my vision as an artist to who your child is so that I can tell their unique and beautiful story.  You know your child best… the things they obsess over and adore; use this as your inspiration and get to pinning!

HOW TO ENTER:
Read the rules carefully.  If any of these steps are not followed, your entry will not qualify to win.

  • Create a new pinboard on Pinterest with the title “Pin It to Win It 2013 – Hope and Memory Photography.”
  • Pin the above image.
  • Leave a comment with a link to your pinboard.
  • Start pinning your heart out!

WHAT TO PIN:

  • your favorite photos from my website
  • textures and colors that inspire you
  • clothing, outfits, shoes, etc. that you adore
  • locations that evoke the feel you want in your photos (or locations you actually want to use!)
  • props that help to tell your story (especially fun DIY projects and crafts
  • songs, books, plays, etc. that speak to you (just make sure they are all relevant to your concept)

IMPORTANT INFO:

  • The winning session will take place in Seattle, WA during the month of August 2013 (the only caveat to this would be if I am already travelling to your area or you are willing to pay travel costs for me to travel to you… please email me to discuss this if you do not live in the Seattle area).
  • Your session must be a concept session.
  • Winner will ultimately be responsible for acquiring props, but I am more than happy to help create and shop online for props.
  • Winner will be determined by the most creative and well thought out pinboard.
  • Contest will run from April 25, 2013 until May 26, 2013.  Winner will be announced on Tuesday, May 28, 2013.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!

Spring! – Seattle Child Photographer

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I’ve been busy making some internal changes and external tweaks to my website (feel free to poke around and check it out!) and handling back end business stuff… and doing taxes.  Ugggghhhhhh – taxes are the worst part about Spring!  But, I had to pop out of my coccoon and say hello because the sun is shining, the birds are singing outside my office window, and I am able to throw my kids in the backyard to play (and that is a very good thing) and that means Spring is finally here (now, c’moooon Summer)!

I also wanted to remind you that I am going to be on maternity leave during June and July (how is it possible that I will have 3 kids in about 9 weeks?! I still have too much to do!), which means I only have 2 session openings left before baby gets here and a mere 6 session appointments left for the entire Summer, so book yours now to ensure you get a time and date you prefer before the holidays start rolling around again (I know, it sounds crazy to talk about that already, but trust me!).

And lastly, I had to share this photo of my girl from our personal mini session with the cherry blossoms.  I’ll share more later, but this is literally the only one I’ve had time to edit and now that the cherry blossoms are almost gone for the year and my momma heart is feeling so full, it just seems like a good time to share.  The cherry blossoms filling the trees and floating down with the wind always gives me such a sense of peace and some sort of magical element and I am always a bit sad to see them go.

Fowl Treatment

I usually try to stay out of this industry nonsense for a few reasons, namely because I find it to be unprofessional and petty, but this particular time it has gone a bit too far and people are just blindly posting this information all over Facebook and their blogs and it is just this side of bullying, in my ever so humble opinion.  That being said, it is very important that I preface this by saying this is my experience after contacting the USDA and PPA (the photographers trade association) and that I am sharing this information with you because it was very difficult to get anything but a vague answer from several people and I don’t want anyone operating under misinformation.  If you have any questions regarding this for your own business or a session you have scheduled, please do contact the USDA or PPA yourself and ask them specifically about your situation.

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Ok, so maybe you’ve seen this little gem of an article (titled “Bunnies and chiclets and children, oh my!”)?  Over the past week or so, it has gone pretty viral in the photography industry.  I saw it about a week ago and just sat quietly by and watched it get reposted time and time again; I wasn’t worried about it because I was confident that my upcoming bunny sessions are totally legit.  And then I got a certified letter in the mail from the USDA yesterday, which obviously sent me into freakout mode trying to figure out what I did wrong (turns out nothing, just as I thought) and how to fix it so I didn’t have to cancel on my clients.  This certified “letter” was really a certified package with about 20 pages of paperwork with various titles having to do with fees and licenses and items and classes and exhibitors along with a book on the Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations.  Needless to say, I was overwhelmed and my head was spinning.  I immediately called the USDA and was transferred to the Washington office.  I was very up front and nice about why I was calling and told her my exact situation regarding the bunny mini sessions and my style and niche of photography.  She told me that I have photos of animals on my website, which meant I was in direct violation of the law, because I did not have a license to do so.  I told her I was confused since I had researched this after reading the aforementioned blog post and this was the first I was hearing of this law and asked her if she could please clarify a few questions for me; every question was eventually met with “I sent you the information, read it.”  Well, now that isn’t very helpful, is it?  I told her I was more than happy to read it and had in fact already looked through much of it, but I was overwhelmed and confused because I did not see A SINGLE THING regarding photography and photographers, let alone something as specific as my situation and could she pretty please just direct me where to look, which form, which chapter, ANYthing so I could begin to figure this out since she was certainly not going to help me in doing so. Again, no, figure it out yourself.

At this point I began asking specific questions, one of which was if the animals in the photo were clients’ pets, did the regulation still apply.  I was told that yes, it absolutely still applied to any animal in the photo and any information I was reading from anywhere else was completely and totally wrong.  This was utterly astonishing to me; what about photographing my child playing in the backyard with our dog, what about the family that brings their dogs to their session, what about the senior girl that wants to be photographed with her horse, what about the family that has urban chickens and goats, what about the pet photography industry?!  Are you telling me that this is so closely regulated that I have to have a license to share a photo of a family with their beloved pet on my website?  Or even my own children with an animal, be it our pet or not?  This woman at the USDA would have you believe so.  I found this to be so ludicrous that I contacted PPA and shared the conversation and the letter with them.  The response from them was that the form letter I received was in line with the information on the PPA site about legally using animals in your photographs (sorry, you have to be a logged in member to read it) and to call the USDA back again and speak with someone that could answer my specific questions about my bunny sessions and that they had never heard of pets (or pet photography) being regulated like this.

Fast forward to a couple hours ago when I got a call from the Washington state USDA veterinary inspector.  Again, I presented my situation to her and asked her about pets, animal handlers, and work already on my website (you may have seen ponies, rabbits, and chickens…).  She assured me that I was 100% legal and doing it right but that the USDA has an obligation to follow through when complaints are filed against people.  Wait.  Whaaaaaa?  Yes, you read that right.  Someone filed a complaint against me (I thought this was all waaaay too coincidental for the USDA to have just found me and suddenly decided that I was someone they needed to pursue) but I will get to that in a minute.

I want to make it VERY clear that this is the information I received from the USDA inspector today, 3/19/2013 at about 1:40pm PST:

  • You can use client pets, no matter how exotic they are, as long as the client is present.
  • Rabbits are regulated, but this is an easy workaround as long as you hire a professional handler that is licensed (I am using Bunnies for Birthdays, she is licensed and she has her sweet little baby bunnies well socialized to be around children.) and will be on hand to take care of the animals during your shoot.
  • Horses are not regulated (I think she may have even said that donkeys and goats are also fine, but do not quote me on that) for photos.
  • Birds are not regulated for photos.
  • Reptiles are not regulated for photos.
  • Rodents are not regulated for photos.

I hope this information makes the laws and regulations a bit more clear for at least one other person, if for no other reason than avoiding the (literal) headache that I’ve been dealing with for the past few days.

Now, back to this reporting business.  Pardon my internet speak, but WTF?  How have we come to a place in this industry where we are so full of nastiness and envy that we resort to shaming and turning on each other?  The blog post I mentioned before specifically says “Because a professional would rarely use animals with or without a license. In fact, VERY few professional photographers offer this option at all. If they do, it is in a VERY controlled environment and no one is allowed to touch the animals. In fact, generally the use of animals is considered highly NON-PROFESSIONAL by the majority of professional photographers. Since I am a fine art photographer, I also expect my works to be put on fine papers and canvas finishes to be hung and treasured forever in my client’s home. An image like this is not going to be a “forever” portrait.” So, that is one person’s opinion, we are all allowed to have our own opinions (however wrong they may be;)), but how DARE you shame the rest of us that choose to use animals in our own fine art work and call us non-professional?!  Barb Uil of JinkyArt, a trusted friend of mine and one of the most well respected photographers in the industry is known for putting animals in her child portraits and, in fact, recently won an award for her work that was chosen by members all across the photography industry.  Then further down in that blog post she says “To see if your photographer is licensed according to the Animal Welfare Act, you can go to the USDA – APHIS databank. I spoke with the USDA, as of March 8 2013 this data bank is current.” Or, you know, JUST ASK.  Instead of jumping to conclusions thinking that the photographer in question is being unethical, just be honest with your concerns and ask them.  If they are not happy to divulge the specifics, that would certainly throw up a red flag for me, at which point I would definitely inquire further, but until then, can we all just be a bit nicer?  I just am so flabbergasted that a member of such a tight-knit industry would respond like this, especially since I have made it very clear all along that I have hired a legit business to bring their well-socialized bunnies to me.  I can see no real reason, beyond just being mean-spirited, that someone would react in such a way.  Truthfully, I really don’t care how much you hate me or dislike my work because I am confident in who I am as a person and as an artist; to take the time out of your day to go through the governmental hoops to report me to a governmental agency when you have no evidence that I am doing anything unethical or illegal speaks volumes to the type of person that is doing this… and I just can’t understand why.

So to all my fellow photographers out there, this is my plea to you:  Can we all just get along?  I’m not even asking you to love everyone’s work or falsely praise it or even to be bffs with your local competition.  I just want us all to live in peace together, regardless of how unqualified you think someone else’s work is or how much you despise someone.  We are all in this ever-changing game together and when one photographer lashes out at another it really causes a ripple effect, even when done anonymously.  Focus on being the best you that you can be, get over the jealousy and the envy, and carry on with your life in peace.  If you truly have a concern about the safety of a child, client, or animal, please just quietly ask the photographer about it before jumping to conclusions.  Above all, respect your fellow humans and be the best person you can be.

Dawn – Well done!!

Michele – To this I say . . . kudos.

suzyb – Considering oodles of non-pros enter our industry every day but think a fancy camera and a blog make them a pro, it’s no surprise that there is a huge lack of professional conduct and courtesy in our ‘workplace.’ Nice article and great points, sadly I don’t think for many of these dingdongs will get the message. Beautiful work and thanks for sharing xo

Charlotte – I love how well you wrote this! I think if you don’t like something, then learn to turn your head. These photographers, or even people that are turning us in, do not know if we have the correct things in order, or how we handle safety issues at our sessions! I’m with you, my bunny went through several trips to insure that it was in law, and even went through several shots, and I have a valid record along with a certified letter from the vet. It is a shame that they assume the worse. What if we turned every newborn photographer in for showing a picture of a newborn hanging from a treat and considered it “fowl play” because they didn’t post a composite, or even mention it was a composite. People always want something to complain about in this industry, and I’ve just learned to mind my own business and what I am doing. I know I abide by laws, those turning others in may want to look at what they are doing!

Jane – I’m sorry to hear what you had to deal with! There is only one reason this sort of thing happens: JEALOUSY. The individual that did this is so jealous of you and your business that she wanted to cause you trouble and was hoping your business would suffer. Pathetic. When I saw that post going around, I didn’t touch it. I’m beyond fed up with the big name bullies in the industry that strive to intimidate. If your competition is jealous, keep up the great work!!

Jamie – Well said! Kudos to you.

Stacie – Thank you so much. After my own digging I found the same. I took the time to panic and have a little melt down but thank you so much for putting this out there.

dee – I am still sitting her blinking in astonishment that someone has nothing better to do with their lives than try to find fault in someone else’s even when there is NONE! Amazing. I am so sorry you had to go through this but what a wonderful educational lesson you presented for everyone else in how how to process the whole situation. Great job!

lauri – Well said. I had no idea this was all still such a big issue among photographers, but now that I’ve read some of the recent blogs out there on the subject, well…you just have to consider the source.

Laura Brown – Well done. People are mean and they love to see you fail. Good job for being proactive. I actually called a veterinary friend who has several USDA connections…they told him the same thing. Thank for you for the reassurance. We hope your bunny session is very successful.

Victoria Campbell – I am so glad I read this…I too am doing the same thing for mini sessions…and hired a handler…had no idea there were such “laws” and value the work other photographers do with photographing pets with families {this is something I rarely had the chance to do}…kudos to you and yes this is bullying at its finest!

The Crane Wife | Children’s Concept Photography

First, you need to know that this concept was inspired by one of my favorite bands, The Decemberists. They released an album in 2006 (and, I think it is also my favorite album of theirs) titled “The Crane Wife”. There are 3 songs on this album (Crane Wife 1, 2, and 3) that tell a story that has captured my imagination for quite some time now. I’ve included a video of this below; please watch it to get the full effect.

This was a personal project that was very special to me. I knew going into it that I was going to have to take my time with every last detail since I also knew that I wanted these on my walls. I could not find a wardrobe that fit my vision for this shoot and I did what I often do and decided to just make something. Unfortunately, I do not have the best sewing technique and tend to learn things like that on the fly so I enlisted the help of a friend that is a very talented costume seamstress and knitter to help me construct the bones of the dress. My vision for this shoot was sculpted by the Decemberists style of music, especially on their Crane Wife album, which has a whimsical western flare to it (in my ever so humble opinion, anyway); the dress had to reflect that. I started with a “western” prairie girl-esque dress pattern from Simplicity (kind of like this western style girls costume but I can’t remember now if it was actually this pattern) and mixed and matched the pieces in there until we got the look I wanted with a stark white sateen-like material. I then picked different elements, all in grey, white, and black, to embellish it and give it an avian feel. This included a white with black piping ruffle fabric, sheer white frienge, lots of lace, and some grey organza to add a Victorian sash (kind of like tail feathers). To put it simply, the finished product is, despite my shoddy costuming abilities, stunning!

I ended up compromising quite a bit on my original vision and plan because I could not find the right location. Once I found it, my girl (whom the dress was made specifically to fit) had outgrown it to the point that we couldn’t even zip it all the way up! My perfect location is in the Tacoma area and I was flying back to Houston to pick up the kids after a stay with the grandparents and I knew that I couldn’t wait another 2 weeks to do the shoot, so I threw the dress in my luggage and purchased props in Texas, where I photographed my kid the first day I was there. It isn’t perfectly what I wanted but I still love this set of photos for what they are. I do plan to photograph this again with a different model in the Seattle area, so if you have a girl (preferably with dark hair) that fits a size 5/6 dress, and are interested in a session like this, let me know!

“And all the stars were crashing around
As I laid eyes on what I’d found”

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“It was a white crane
It was a helpless thing
On a red stain
With an arrow its wing
And it called and cried
And it called and cried so”

“My crane wife arrived at my door in the moonlight
All star bright and tongue-tied, I took her in
We were married and bells rang sweet for our wedding”

“We were poorly, our fortunes fading hourly
And how she avowed me, she could bring it back
But I was greedy, I was vain and I forced her to weaving
On a cold loom, in a closed room with down and wool”

“Sound the keening bell
And see it’s painted red
Soft as fontenelle
The feathers in the thread
And all I ever meant to do was to keep you
My crane wife…
There’s a bend in the wind and it rakes at my heart
There is blood in the thread and it rakes at my heart
It rakes at my heart”

“And under the boughs unbowed
all clothed in the snowy shroud
She had no heart so hardened
All under the boughs unbowed
Each feather it fell from skin
‘Til thread bare while she grew thin
How were my eyes so blinded?
Each feather it fell from skin”

“And I will hang my head, hang my head low…
A grey sky, a bitter sting
A rain cloud, a crane on wing
All out beyond horizon
A grey sky, a bitter sting”

Port Orchard, WA Wedding Photography | Anna and Trevor

It’s the middle of Winter on a particularly cold (for this Texan transplant anyway) night and I am lying in bed with what I think is the flu. I’ve been meaning to post this lovely wedding for quite some time, but I got busy with clients and morning sickness and holiday orders and then the actual holidays… so, um, blogging fell by the wayside. But here I am in this new year with the resolution of being a bit more consistent with my posting this year instead of just being sporadic. My other resolution is to just take more photos of my kids and enjoy the moment instead of fussing with perfectly composed shots with excellent exposure. I’ll likely be posting a lot more personal photos and what-have-you, but I’m not ready to take on another weekly project this year as I typically burn out on those by mid-Spring.  Since I am craving sunshine and warmth, I am so very excited to finally share my very first wedding with you, shot at the beautiful Cedar Springs in Port Orchard, WA.

Now, I have to be honest in telling you that I never thought I would shoot a wedding, to the point that I swore up and down that weddings were not not not for me (never say never, right?!), but Anna and Trevor sold me on this whole wedding thing. Anna was the antonym of bridezilla and the two of them were just the perfect client throughout the whole process from engagement session to album delivery. They are such an impressive, strong young couple and I am so honored and proud to be the Seattle photographer that they chose for their stunning August wedding.

This necklace that Anna wore as a bracelet belongs to Trevor’s family. It was her “something borrowed” and such a sweet touch.

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“First look” photos always make me a teary-eyed emotional mess, and I was thrilled that Anna and Trevor agreed to one. I’d been crossing my fingers since the beginning and couldn’t have been more excited when they said yes!

Seattle Custom Holiday Mini Sessions

I will be foregoing traditional Seattle holiday mini sessions this year in favor of what I think is a much better option.  Instead of scheduling one date at a specific location that may or may not work for everyone, I am now offering custom minis!  How does this work?  Gather a group of about 5 families (these could be close friends or family, parents from dance/soccer/yoga classes, other families at your kid’s school, or even just a group of interested parties in a parenting group, etc.), decide on a date that works for all of you, then email me to let me know you are wanting me to reserve a date for you.  After that, I’ll work with you to decide on a location and even a theme (if you so desire) that fits you and your friends perfectly.  Super easy and super simple.  I’ll photograph each family for about 10 minutes, you’ll get approximately 5 proofs, and either 25 holiday cards or 1 high res file for just $150.  What a deal!  Let’s get together ASAP since it is officially busy season and I am booking quickly.  And while I am at it, just a reminder: all holiday sessions and orders must take place by November 20th to ensure Christmas delivery.

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My Most Prized Possession

If I bounce around a lot, just bear with me as this is what has been on my mind all morning and is just my thoughts being poured out of me as they come.

Everyone has traits and quirks that just are known and associated with them by everyone that really knows them.  One of mine is Russia; everyone that knows me knows how much of a Russophile I am.  But that’s not the quirk that this post is about.  I’m also very sentimental and nostalgic and when someone gives me something, no matter how small or insignificant, if it is a gift from their heart, it has meaning to me.

5 years ago, we moved across the country from southeast Texas to Seattle.  I’ve always been close to my parents and I have a very close-knit (large) extended family; leaving them was (and still is) extraordinarily difficult.  I think about them constantly and miss them deeply.  It seems like I’ve constantly got thoughts and memories about at least one of them bouncing around my head.  Lately, that person is my precious Daddy.  It seems silly that I would be missing him so much right now given that I just spent a few weeks with him a month ago.  The last time I was down, he sent me home with his old film camera.  My Dad loved photography and shot a few weddings back in the 1970′s (I think that is the correct decade… I suppose it doesn’t really matter as the message is the same.) with this camera.  Remember the aforementioned quirks/traits?  Dad’s just happens to be that he loves a good adrenaline rush; there are countless stories that he and my brothers have told me about their motorcycle, hunting, white water rafting, fishing, scuba diving, etc. escapades with our father.  This camera tagged along on many of those adventures as well.  Most of these were before my time or when I was too small to take part or even care, but their stories have always been magical to me.  Maybe because that was a side of Dad that I never knew?  Don’t get me wrong, I would catch glimpses of it… I’d tag along on the occasional hunting or fishing trip, I rode with him on his motorcycles, and we even went diving – just the two of us – a few times.  I was never exposed to the things that I associate with major adrenaline rushes and death defying acts (although I definitely secretly a bit grateful because I am a chicken and would certainly not love it).  But this camera was there.  See that fraying strap?  It’s the original.  It fascinates me to think of all the things this camera has seen.

Nikon-Pics-e1348163358633(pp_w934_h747)Nikon F2 Photomic

It seems like this would be a fixture in my childhood, right?  Kind of like how my cameras are a fixture in my children’s lives (and oh, how fickle they are… sometimes they love it and sometimes they loathe it), but it wasn’t.  At least, I don’t think it was.  It certainly wasn’t foreign to me, but I don’t have any distinct memories of seeing him whip this camera out.  Maybe because this one is all manual (I am LOVING the rangefinder, by the way) and he had learned to love point and shoots by the time I came around.  In fact, I don’t really remember ever seeing this camera (although I know I must have at some point) in use.  My first clue as to the last time it had been used was the Disney World lens cap when I took it out of its case (the last time my dad was at Disney was when I was about 5).  He handed it to me with an old roll of film still in it (unused, and probably loaded at or right after Disney World).

I’m young (25) and am a child of the digital generation.  By the time I cared about taking photos of anything, film was already on it’s way out the door and almost all of my experiences with film were with a disposable camera.  However, I love old stuff.  And I’ve recently decided to take up film for a couple of reasons.  Primarily, I noticed that I was not taking any snapshots of my kids beyond my iPhone (which is all well and good, but I’d like to have “real” photos as well, especially with a bit more control over the settings and how they look).  That task just felt like work and I would take photos and never do anything with them because going beyond the step of actually snapping the shutter was just too much.  So, I decided film would be the way to go.  I got a Holga for Christmas, broke it before ever being able to use it (it IS a toy camera), and then finally replaced it with a Diana F+ in May-ish.  When I mentioned this to my dad, he decided it was time to “break out the old Nikon.”  And that, my friends, is how this lovely little camera found it’s way into my hands.

Another photo, unedited, taken with the F2… all of these are on 20 year old film!

So, why is it my most prized possession?  Because it is irreplaceable.  The sentimental value, the connection to my father and my family, you an never put a price on that.  Much like a wedding ring or an old family Bible, you can replace them with a duplicate that looks identical, but it is just not the same thing.  I’m kind of weird in that I have a running mental list of “things to grab in the event of a catastrophic emergency” (like a fire, flood, etc.); on this list are my girl’s baby books and their lovies, my computer with all my photos on it, a few other odds and ends, and now this camera.  I would grab the F2 over my 5D Mark II bodies in a heartbeat because those can be replaced.  This precious gift that my father has given me can not, but I am so grateful and so touched to be the recipient that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A Canvas Review

Before I write this post, I have to do the whole disclaimer thing about not being affiliated with either Pixel2Canvas or CG Pro Prints.  I am just a dissatisfied/satisfied customer that wants other photographers to know about this great company I have found.

I have been a brand loyalist to Pixel2Canvas since the beginning.  They had a premium product (at a premium price) and a good reputation.  I loved them and swore that I would never use anyone else.  In fact, I have 6 of their canvases hanging in my home displaying my personal photos.  I’m not sure when I became disenchanted with them.  It may have been when I started noticing my canvas backings getting all wonky or when I saw the photos chipping.  Now, in the interest of honesty, I will say that I am very rough on my canvas samples in toting them to client homes and coffee shops, they do take a beating and I have always just assumed that was why this was happening.  Until I realized it was happening on all of my canvases (and not just the ones that travel).

A few months ago, a group of local photographers started talking about this other canvas vendor that they had discovered at WPPI.  I didn’t really pay much attention until I saw one at one of our meetups; everyone was instructed to bring a canvas from all the different vendors that we used.  Off the top of my head, I know there were canvases from all the main vendors (Pixel2Canvas, Simply Canvas, CG Pro Prints, and a few others); we also had some Costco, H&H Lab, and I think a few others that I can’t remember.  The point is, we had a lot of canvases to compare their build quality, color, and price to.  One canvas stood out leaps and bounds beyond the others and that was CG Pro Prints… so I decided to order a sample.

Meanwhile, I had a client order to place and still had credit with Pixel2Canvas.  After about two weeks, I still had not received my canvas and had a client (moving out of state so I was on a deadline) waiting on this order.  I checked my account and it said the package was untraceable; upon calling Pixel2Canvas, we discovered that FedEx had indeed delivered it and left the box on the side of my house next to my recycling.  Of course, this is not Pixel2Canvas’s fault and their packaging is actually what saved this canvas since it had been raining for like a week straight at this point.  I immediately opened it and discovered that the photo was, at first glimpse, unharmed and happy but the backing was all kinds of wrinkled and messed up.  I emailed iPhone photos of this to Pixel2Canvas at their request so they definitely saw it and agreed it was a problem.
Initially, I attributed this to the whole box-left-in-the-rain issue, but a couple days after the phone call it dawned on me that the photo was totally unharmed by the rain since it was wrapped very tightly in plastic.  At most, it might have been affected by a little humidity, but I really don’t even think that happened since the issues that I saw do not appear to be caused by humidity.  Thus, I attribute all this to just being an inferior product.

Really, the biggest issue I have with Pixel2Canvas at this point is their customer service (although their shoddy work sure doesn’t help my views on them).  When they saw the photo on the left, the response was “Do you have a JoAnn’s or a Michael’s near you?  Take it to them and ask if they will fix the back for you.”  Really?!  Thinking this sounded a little off, I called our local JoAnn’s and they laughed at me when I asked if they could do this.  I emailed Pixel2Canvas to let them know the response and was told “Okay, we will send you another backing and you can reattach it.”  The backing comes in and I nervously get ready to transplant this sucker when it occurs to me that the hanging wire is screwed into the back of the canvas.  Terrified that I would mess up the canvas, frame, or somehow cause it to come undone, I emailed Pixel2Canvas again and told them of my concerns: “The hardware is easily removed with a star screw driver…”  Not knowing what else to do, I went to a local framer and asked for help.  He told me that I shouldn’t even bother with that because reattaching the current backing would lend a better result than trying to undo the hardware and so on and so forth.  So, he kindly did his best to fix it for me.  The backing, although smoothed out, was just – for lack of a better word – crappy.   Now, I already told you I am hard on my samples… but this was not a sample and had been carefully tucked away in my office.  It wasn’t until I had this canvas in the daylight, right outside the framer’s, that I noticed the chipping on the corners.

canvas-comparison2(pp_w934_h467)

Ok, I’ve complained enough.  It’s time to get to the good stuff; now I get to tell you why CG Pro Prints is so awesome-sauce!  Their corners are the tightest and flattest that I have ever seen.  Every canvas is finished off with a clear acrylic coating, providing a very scratch resistant protective layer with a satin luster.  And, this is the one that really sold me, their finished solid backing; you can knock on the center of the canvas, that is how well these things are built!  Oh, and did I mention that they are less than 1/4 of the cost of Pixel2Canvas?!  So, to recap: better build quality, more durable, and less expensive!  I think that is a dream combo right there.  My singular critique would be that I wish the wrap depth was 1.5 inches instead of 1.25 inches, but they are still new and I have hope that there will be more options like this in the future.  But all in all, AMAZING product!

If you’ve stuck around this long and read my extreme praise for CG Pro Prints, you probably want to try them out for yourself.  It just so happens that the wonderful people over at CG Pro Prints have offered a discount to all y’all!  Go, order some inexpensive and amazing canvases, and tell them I sent ya!  Then head on over to my Facebook page and tell me what you thought.