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Vacation memories in a flash

Posted by on Jul 29th, 2010 and filed under Viewpoints. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Last week, I mentioned that we still have not seen the majority of the pictures from our family’s summer vacation. They’ve been transferred over from the camera’s compact flash card to a file folder on the portable hard drive – so at least they’re not technically “still in the camera.”
How bad has our delayed photo gratification become? Well, the photos I speak of here were taken during our family’s summer cruise through Alaska’s famed Inside Passage. No big deal, you say? After all, it’s only the end of July and we still have half the summer to enjoy. Just wait to view those pictures until the chilling frosts of early Autumn descend over the Crescenta Valley and we can reminisce to our hearts’ content while snuggled under woolen blankets, sipping mugs of hot, steamy cocoa and sitting near a crackling fire. (You do realize that last sentence was written with tongue very firmly planted in cheek, right?)
That would be true if we had taken a cruise this summer. But it wasn’t this year, or even last, for that matter. No, the nearly 2,000 as-yet-unseen photos of Alaska’s watery highways and byways are from an unforgettable (but diligently documented) eight-day cruise our family enjoyed back in August of 2008. I know, how embarrassing.
To put that in historical perspective (and also raise the ire of more than a few readers), we got off the ship in Seward, Alaska on the very same morning that national news outlets were breaking the story of presidential candidate John McCain choosing the state’s governor, one Sarah Palin, to be his vice presidential running mate – thereby effectively sinking his own ship of state and instantly creating an entire cottage industry within the media and left-wing pundits whose sole purpose was to destroy a woman’s reputation, harass her family and mock her every word. Not a proud chapter in American journalism. But, I digress.
Okay. So granted, most people do not snap 2,000-plus photos in slightly more than a week’s vacation. However, I’ve mentioned in this column before that one of my sons is a photographic prodigy. Unleashing him with multiple cameras in the vast, panoramic beauty of Alaska and the Yukon was almost overwhelming to his insatiable need to experiment with focus and perspective and lenses and shutter speed and aperture and white balance and – well, let’s just say he was a busy young man.
It came as no surprise to anyone in the family that we finished up our cruise with the proverbial boatload of photos. Not just photos of family members standing in famous locations, or sweeping vistas of the northernmost region of this great land. No, from the few glimpses I’ve seen of this massive collection, we’ve got some fascinating (and I’m not in the slightest being facetious) extreme close-ups of water droplets on polished teak handrails, fog tendrils weaving through dense pine forests, multi-hued starfish clinging to wood pilings exposed by changing tides, a beach of the most perfectly smooth, round pebbles stretching to the horizon, a bucket of crab just minutes from the ocean and seconds from a propane-fired pot of boiling water in front of a rustic wharf-side seafood bar. And on and on.
We’ll see them all. Eventually. As soon as I can pry them from my son’s hard drive. You see, he’s not only a prolific photographer, but he’s very picky about what images he releases to the “public.” No matter how beautiful the subject or how creative the shot – there are always hours of Photoshop® time to be invested in each picture to fine tune the colors, brighten certain elements and darken others, eliminate unwanted signage or glare or even family members.
Then again, if my young Ansel Adams sees fit to tweak away a few inches from his old man’s waist and add an inch or so to my hairline, who am I to complain?
I’ll see you ‘round town.

Jim Chase is an award-winning advertising copywriter and lifetime CV resident. Find him online at

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