Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Story Behind The New Banner Picture

Several of you said you really like the new banner photo, so I thought I would share how it came to be.

Early on the morning after the big storm, I untied Summer School and took her out alone for a quick ride to drain the rainwater she had collected the night before. If you're not a boat person, there are three plugs in the stern of this boat that simply use gravity to drain excess water once the boat is up on a plane.

This was a great excuse for me to go fast and also to check out the remains of the family camp. The water was wonderfully clear and I thought the pilings would be a great place for the kids to snorkel.

I zipped around for a bit, draining rain water, then replugged and cruised slowly to the pilings. I wanted to make sure it was safe before I suggested snorkeling it to the kids.

As I approached, the current inhabitants, a flock of cormorants, sat on the pilings doing cormoranty things like preening, sunning their wings, and defecating.

They did not leave their post (heehee) until I nudged Summer School against the first piling. At that point they flopped off and regrouped about a hundred yards away.

The camp pilings were acceptably safe for kid snorkeling. No dangerous entanglements or things like that. A few jagged broken pilings jutted up from the bottom, but I could take care of that with a safety message to my crew.

I zipped back to the camp and gathered up Emma and the four boys. The boys almost didn't want to go at that time. It was close to lunch time and they were hungry. Already grey clouds were darkening out on the Gulf. I told Junior, "Look at the horizon. This is your chance to have a great snorkel. The ocean hasn't been this calm since we got here. I'm tellin' ya', if you wait until after lunch, it won't happen. The afternoon will be stormy ... listen to the voice of experience dudes. Let's go have a good 40 minutes of snorkeling and then you can come back here, even more hungry, and stuff your face."

They took my advice and a few minutes later they were in the water and having a great time. I was itching to go in, but being the only adult, I decided to stay on the boat and monitor their progress. If I had put on a mask, I'd have been focused on fish watching, not the safety of my 5 charges.

They were having a blast and kept surfacing to tell me about some new fish or thing they had seen. The boat was a little outside of the pilings, so I tossed a line around one of the pilings and pulled Summer School close enough to step on to a piling which allowed me to really keep a close eye on the knuckleheads.

While I was standing there, alone on my piling, it occured to me that a pic of each kid on a piling would be kind of cool. I picked a cluster of pilings that seemed easy to stand on and when the kids swam back to the boat, I tossed out the idea.


Okay, they were in.

Emma thought it would be a better shot if it were just the boys and decided to sit this one out. Like me, she's used to being behind the camera, not in front of it.

I took my serious shot and then they made up the poses. Here are the behind the scenes shots.

This one is a combination Crouching Dragon / Got A Little Captain In You?

This one is just All Boy.

This one is just good ol' Joi De Vie.

The leaping photo gave Emma and I a start. I told the boys they could exit the posts either by stepping back on to the boat after the last shot, or they could jump in between the two front posts. It was an open, safely deep area with no broken off pilings beneath the water. They wanted to jump of course.

I pictured them jumping in one at a time as it was a narrow space.

It never occured to me that they would all jump towards each other at the same moment.

You'd think I'd know by now ...

anyway, they survived, which is always good, and we got some cool photos.


Anonymous said...

You were surprised that they all jumped at once? Didn't you ask yourself WWFCD?

pablo said...

I hope your son grows up to be a writer so he can tell us all about the clearly idyllic life he's had there in Pure Florida. So many kids will never know the kind of joy and insight and experience these kids are having.

edifice rex said...

That's a great photo and your storm story was wonderful too. I agree also with Pablo. My father thought kids were put on this earth to work and we never got to go anywhere or do anything like I see you do with your children. I feel like I run myself to death sometimes trying to make up for that.

robin andrea said...

You didn't just get cool photos, you got AWESOME photos. Very interesting shots, and a fantastic experience for everyone.

Anonymous said...

I was a tad bit curious as to how that shot came about ;)...I enjoyed the 'behind the scenes' photo as well. I think you should actually enter the header photo into some sort of photo contest!

kathy a. said...

what terrific photos! the boys look like they are having the time of their lives.

Laura said...

Boys will be boys... ;)

Great story, too!

ImagineMel said...

Thanks so much for the memory making for my wild man. The pics are great. He had a great time. Lauren said you should sell that pic to a magazine. :)

Cathy S. said...

Sigh. I wish I were there. Great fun for all I know. And great memories, too.

Floridacracker said...

You make a good point!

Thank you sir.
I hope he's a writer too. The signs are very good ...

Edifice Rex,
Thanks. I'm so impressed by your artistic and technical abilities. Where did that inspiration come from?

Emma got some too and I'm gonna share some of hers one day this week. Thank you for the kind words.

I may just do that! Thanks.

Kathy A,
They were! Lots of energy there.

Yes, maam, we will !

J. did great! He's a super kid and fun to have around. I was proud of all the boys, they never got cabin fever, never sniped at anyone, just lots of wacky fun.

Cathy S,
Spectacular memories. Fun even for the cooks and boat captain :)

Cathy said...

A big 'second' to Pablo's comment. AND - I'd be submitting that photo to contests and publications. They are wonderfully, joyously surreal.

vicki said...

The banner photo alone is exceptional; as a series and a story, they're simply beautiful. I would think having a set of these pictures, framed, would be the perfect way for the boys to remember this 'summer school' adventure for years to come.

LauraO said...

I ditto everyone's comments here, and add that your photos show how much your boys enjoy being outdoor enjoying and exploring Nature. A lot of kids too focused on technology to care.

And yes - submit that photo to a magazine!

Scott aka Florida Native Musings said...

FC is the Flag out there all the time?

Yours in the bond.

rcwbiologist said...

Thanks for the explanation of the picture, I had noticed it a couple of days ago. Further, having 2 young boys of our own, I can absolutely and fully appreciate the term "you'd think I'd know by now".

Thunder Dave said...

Thanks for sharing! I also felt like I was there when the storm hit, in the previous post.

Not long now, I hear a Dragon calling don't you?

Floridacracker said...

Thanks, the slick water and haze make it so I think. It would be hard to duplicate.

That is an excellent idea.

What's neat is that they are typcial technogeeks,wiioids, cellphone junkies, myspacers, ipodians, etc. Yet, they left all of that except cell phones behind for 4 days and had a blast.

All the time, it's tattered and could use a replacement. If you knew this patriotic clan, it would make perfect sense for it to be there atop the remains of their camp.

They will keep you guessing that's for sure. Just wait until you have a daughter :)

I thought I caught a whiff of dragon scent this morning.

edifice rex said...

Hey FC! Your question, though it may have been rhetorical, really made me think.... I'm not sure I know the answer. If I do, it's a long one, filled with sordid details. Maybe I'll address that in a post. You are not the first person to ask me.
Oh, and thanks for the comment on my article.

Floridacracker said...

Edifice Rex,
I really did wonder where that came from...
Edifice Rex is a published author everybody! Go to her site and see her accomplishment!!!