It's another Thanksgiving, the sun is trying to nudge above the horizon and I sit here alone in the glow of my monitor, sipping my coffee, pondering the vast number of things for which I MUST give thanks, but not to worry, I won't bore you with the list, but as blessings go I feel like a very rich man.
The one thanks I will share is the thanks for this blog, the people I have had the good fortune to know from all over the world is amazing.
And because you are a part of this community hundreds of pounds of food are delivered to two food pantries and a soup kitchen here in southern Maine every Monday morning. The need has become so great that we are now giving 50% of every affiliate sale to this cause, and because you use our affiliate link it really is you that makes the magic happen... and you get the recognition, when I drop off the food I say "I'm just the delivery man, it's my friends who made these donations possible".
So THANK YOU my friends.
I hope that today (and every day) you are surrounded by those you love and who love you, that you feel blessedandrich in spirit, and that you carry hope and charity in your heart.
There are many of you who are struggling and I hope even more for you... that people reach out to support and comfort you, that your burdens become lighter, that you never feel alone, and I pray that in the days to come you can worry less, love more, and that when strangers see you on the street they wonder what you are smiling about.
Let me leave you with a few words from people waaayyyyyy smarter than I:
Thanksgiving, to be truly Thanksgiving, is first thanks, then giving. ~ Unknown
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others remains and is immortal. ~ Albert Pine
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~ Thornton Wilder
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~ William Arthur Ward
Grace isn't a prayer you say before receiving a meal. It's a way to live. ~ Jackie Windspear
We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love. ~ Mother Teresa
Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, that is the true measure of our thanksgiving. ~ W. T. Purkiser
It just so happens that our last wedding of the 2012 season was at the Old North Church in Boston (MA), yup, THEOld North Church, the one that holds such a prominent place in American history (built in 1723) and of the "One if by land, and two if by sea" and "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" fame .
And though I had grown up in Boston never once had I visited the church... until this wedding.
It may sound corny, but being there one can't help but be in awe, knowing all that had transpired there, walking on the same stairs as Robert Newman (the man who actually held those lanterns on that night way back in 1775).
While walking around the church I stumbled upon the "dog tag garden", tucked away in a small court yard. Here are two shots that are pretty self explanatory.
If you find yourself in the Boston area this is a cool place to go and snap off a few shots. Not just for the church but also where it's located, smack in the middle of Boston's historic North End (little Italy) where you will not only find great history, but great food as well. Phenomenal Italian restaurants and bakeries.
Mathew leaves comments on the blog, shares his work with our Flickr group, and send out links and likes for us all over social media.
And not once has he emailed us to "take credit" for everything he does to help make Weekly Photo Tips what it is, I just happened to find out when I ran a traffic report and saw just how many visitors were coming to see us because of his efforts.
To say thank you, we are giving Mathew a one year "plus" membership to 500px.com.
And today's post will be even less organized than usually, just some thoughts and ideas with one theme, veterans and Veterans Day.
First, This is the first Veterans Day that does not have a single living veteran from World War I.
Second, we can actually blame the delay on announcing our latest contest winners on Veterans Day. On Friday I had been invited to lunch by James, a third grader who lives next door, it was the first ever "invite a veteran to lunch" day at his school and he invited me to attend.
I was under the understanding that it was a 30 minute lunch, it turned out to be MUCH more. First we had lunch, then went back to the classroom of the person who invited us (participating in some fun activities), and then ended the day with an assembly that honored us with poems, essays written by the students, then topped it off with a few patriotic songs.
So my Friday plans were pretty much tossed out the window, it I couldn't have been happier.
Third, my time in the military was important to me, though I wouldn't do it again for a million dollars, I wouldn't trade those memories for anything. I have written about that time on more than one occasion, you can find some of those posts, here, here, here, and the most important on (to me) here.
Fourth, there are soooooo many restaurants offering free appetizers and meals for active, retired, and discharged military personnel, you can get the complete list over at "The Military Wallet".
Fifth, a big thanks to all you fine people who took a minute to send me a Veterans Day email, it was extremely thoughtful, and so greatly appreciated.
Lastly, though I had put this together for Memorial Day a few years back, I want to include it here today because as far as I am concerned, those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, who have "gone on ahead", cannot be honored enough.
The first men featured are "The Lanni Brothers", they are my uncles who were first generation Americans and could not have been prouder to serve their counry.
Fourth, these are resources that don't quite fit in the first three:
If you are interested in creating a Timeline Cover from scratch, head over to Blog Technics, there you will find every dimensional aspect and size requirements known to man for Timeline Covers, they even have a "bare bones" template for you to download.
I wanted to share some images from one of our latest engagement/save the date photo shoots.
The odd thing (for me) about this shoot is not that Kara is my next door neighbor, it's that I've known her since she was (about) 5 years old and it's hard for me to grasp that she is now a grown woman, has graduated from collage, and is about to join the institution of married people.
You may recognize the shooting style of these first two images, it is similar (in style) to the images from our post "Shooting into the Sun".
Shading the sun from my lens:
Letting the sun hit the lens:
It's a technique so easy to do, can give you a dramatically different look, and I find that clients really like it.
Here is a mistake I had actually made plans to avoid before the shoot took place, but I made the mistake anyway, though it was a "save the date" shoot I knew there would be images they'd want to keep/share without all the date stuff included.
As soon as I took this shot I thought to myself "crap, they are going to like this shot" and sure enough, shortly after seeing their gallery I got a text wanting to know if I could take out the date out of the shot.
So I did, and though it's not the greatest Photoshop work I have ever done, people who haven't seen the image with the date in it picked up on the fact that I "Photoshopped" it.
Learn from my mistake, take the shot, then add date specific touches and take the shot a second time.
Kevin Kubota has come out with his new Action DASHBOARD 4 for Photoshop and he is giving it away for free! It comes with 50 free Kubota Imaging Photoshop actions, adding other action packs is optional but not necessary or a requirement to keep Action DASHBOARD 4 for free forever.
You will get an instant $200 rebate on the Canon EOS Rebel T4i Digital SLR Kit that comes with a Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens and a Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS lens - the final price for this body and 2 lens kit is $999.
It started the very first time back in 1985 when I was driving along and Charles Kuralt started talking about this new book, I interrupted my trip and drove directly to the book store and bought it.
"Love, Dad" was written by Patrick Joseph Connolly, though he had no idea at the time he was writing a book, as he had died of a heart attack a year before it was published.
Patrick was a reporter and would leave for work before his two boys got up, so he took a minute every day before he left to write the them a note, sharing insights, wisdom, and a bit of humor.
After he passed his wife took some of those notes, exactly as they were written (and drawn) and put them in the book "Love, Dad".
So you are probably wondering why I've bought it so many times... I was (and continue to be) so touched by it that I have given it many times as a gift, other times I simply lent it to someone and they too were so moved by it that I could not bring myself to ask for it back.
It only takes an hour to read, but a lifetime to appreciate.
At the risk of sound corny, it gave me ideas on how to be a better father.