thank goodness for the water

most who know me know that i've been having a hard time here in tampa. i really want to just pretend we're moving to germany this summer and start packing things up. but the reality is that we have no idea where steve will be stationed next and the kids and i very well could be here in tampa an extra year by ourselves, to get kiele through high school.  i'm hoping we will know something regarding steve's next assignment by december. with all of that said, one of the things that always makes my heart happy and keeps me sane while here, is shooting in the water. it feeds my soul more than i can even explain. i think about it constantly. i long for it. i ache for it.

here are some photos from an evening spent in the water, with the littles and my friend, jen, when she was visiting us a couple weeks ago from atlanta. i wanted to post these earlier, but ended up with a flu bug that kicked my butt -- and i'm still battling.  anyways...

i think it's fascinating to view our two sets of photos -- how very different the feel / mood is between our photos, yet shot together, many of the frames fired within minutes of each other...

and yes, i do think about the fact that there might not be water at steve's next assignment location, but i'll deal with that when the time comes and...probably be quickly planning my vacation trips back to tampa. lol.

i did edit some images in color. maybe i'll post those tomorrow.

at the lake

let yourself be open and life will be easier. a spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. a spoon of salt in a lake goes unnoticed. [buddha]

beyond grateful for my week in minnesota and all that it offered me...

questions & answers regarding my underwater shooting:

Q: what camera do you use? A: i shoot underwater with my D700 and 35mm f/1.8.

Q:  do you use a waterproof camera? A: i don't use a waterproof camera (refer to next Q & A).

Q:  what underwater housing do you use? A: i first purchased an equinox housing, but it was way too big and heavy, for the type of photography i was doing. i later purchased an SPL housing, which is what i am currently using.

Q: what are you able to adjust once your camera is in the housing? A: i'm able to adjust aperture and shutter speed, once my camera is in the housing.

Q: were you able to stand while shooting the lake photos? A: i was able to stand some of the time. other times i was doggy-paddling or floating in a tube (so not easy).

Q:  are you wearing any special gear or clothing during the shoot? A:  no special clothing; i wear a bikini and sometimes a rash guard. if i'm shooting in the pool and need to stay underwater, i sometimes wear a diver's weight belt (refer to next Q & A)

Q:  how do you stay down?  do you use weights in shallow water? A:  if i'm shooting underwater, in a pool, i sometimes use a diver's weight belt.  if i don't, i'm pretty quickly floating back to the surface.  when i'm shooting in the ocean or lake, no weights with me.

Q: do you use the lensbaby or filters on these shots? A: i cannot use any other camera or lens in my housing except D700 and 35mm. and no filters.

Q: how do you keep things so sharp? A: same principles apply as regular shooting (out of the water).

Q:  do you do much to your photographs post-shooting? A: no, i don't do much to my underwater photographs in post-shooting. basically just standard post-processing, similar to my regular (out-of-water) photographs. i never add any additional blur, textures, etc.

Q:  my questions are a little different as i'm interested in how you fell into this - if you are open to sharing the images that sparked the idea, any thoughts around the creative experience - roadblocks or challenges you found along the way and how you worked through those to these today.  A:  i'm not exactly sure what initially sparked my interest in underwater photography, but i do know that it wasn't images.  i think it really was just something i wanted to try. my first attempt with underwater photography took place about four years ago when i lived in san diego. i rented housing to do underwater maternity photos of a friend.  while it was definitely challenging, it was at that moment that i fell in love with underwater photography. even back then, i dreamt of shooting underwater in tampa.

it didn't take long for me to purchase underwater housing here in tampa, since we have a pool in our backyard, we're surrounded by water and it's hot as shit half of the year. and i quickly confirmed that underwater photography is not easy!! but i continued to experiment in the water -- shooting of my kids and friends in my backyard pool. recently, i moved into the ocean and then last week, i had the opportunity to shoot in a lake.  i've come to prefer the ocean and lake, to shooting within the constraints of a pool.

some of the challenges / roadblocks with underwater shooting -- it's a bit challenging to adjust settings and things on the camera are hard to see. a lot of patience is required.  i also have a problem with the 35mm lens i'm using, and when the problem occurs, i have to take apart my housing to reset the lens (very frustrating!).  the simple task of getting someone to the ocean or a lake, to shoot, is not exactly easy (i'm about 50 minutes from the ocean). and my dreads. :-) they take forever to dry, so getting them wet often can be a bit problematic.

regarding the creative experience -- for me, the creative process is the same; i shoot no differently in the water than i do out of the water (martha can attest to that, as she was with me the entire week, while at the lake in MN).  it's what's in me. it's how i shoot. it's what i see.'s difficult to explain.

if you look at my underwater work over the past year, it's definitely evolving and growing -- and i'm trusting. it will be interesting to see how things feel when i get back in the pool. it will be interesting to see how things continue to progress.  one thing i know is that i absolutely LOVE shooting in the water. i can't help but feel it's exactly where i'm meant to be!!

i'm not sure where the water will take me, but i'm sure enjoying the ride and oh-so-grateful!  you can see more of my recent water images HERE.

Q:  I would love to know if you are ever worried about water leaking in? A:  the first time i put my housing and camera in the water, i was a bit nervous, as i ever-so-slowly submerged it under water.  but now, i do a quick initial dunk, check if any water leaked in -- and start shooting.


if you're interested in purchasing underwater housing, i highly recommend renting one  before purchasing, as many are custom-made, not returnable and NOT cheap (around $2000).  or maybe even play with an underwater disposable camera, point & shoot or casing for your phone first.  for a very casual underwater shooter, i'm not sure expensive underwater housing is the answer.  just my honest two cents.

i'm not sure where the water will take me, but i'm sure having fun and enjoying the ride!  you can see more of my in-the-water photographs HERE.




Q: I am wondering what else you need besides the housing for the camera. Do you need specific rings? What if you want to use a different lens. Is it possible? Are you happy with your housing? Have you ever heard of Sea and Sea? I

i don't need anything else besides my housing. if i wanted to use a different lens, i would have to buy a different front piece for the housing, which would cost about $700. i cannot use a different camera, as my housing is designed to fit only the D700. yes, i'm happy with my housing. i have never heard of sea and sea.

what _____ looks like | month twelve

hard to believe i've been sharing these monthly posts for a full year now. although technically, this is really post eleven since i didn't share last month. BUT i think i had a pretty good excuse, being in tanzania and all -- and  i think i made up for it with my RIDETZ posts. :-) july was an exciting month for us, filled with lots of traveling: san diego, CA carson city, NV tahoe, NV san francisco, CA vegas, NV (an unplanned stay & ER visit) battle lake, MN.

we spent less than a week at home in july, which was perfectly fine by me.

what our july looked like begins at camp oma's in NEVADA...

with the cousins

my animal lover

izzy and her walking stick, on our hike

at the top

and back down again

the 1989 van

hands off

sky & great grandma mary

guitar practice


TAHOE lake stop

our hotel in SAN FRANCISCO

cool paintings that filled the walls of an entire alley way

overnight at alpana's

sick at the airport causing an unexpected two-day layover stay in vegas, NEVADA

back home in TAMPA & boating with our besties

a week family vacation in MINNESOTA with martha & her family. new friends...

sometimes, but not often, cheering up was necessary

with daddy

at our cabin, which we didn't spend much time at all (thanks to martha & her fabulous family :-) )

photo shoot of ellie & sky (shooting with and styled by martha)

cabin break

paint by number

soul sisters

lots of swimming in the lake and some super fun time shooting in the water.  a separate post on that coming soon.

there’s a small circle of photographers participating in this what ____ looks like monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link] — starting with stephanie moore | tucson family photographer.

and with that, i say good day and...

a weekend of inspiration

to say that this past weekend was incredible and inspiring would be an understatement -- i had the awesome opportunity to spend the weekend with jock sturges in palm neach, where he was there teaching at FOTOfusion. we arrived saturday afternoon.  my kids were modeling for his ‘the meaningful portrait’ demonstration shoot. it was wonderful to hear his thoughts on shooting people and so great to see him in action. one thing that i really grasped onto is jock’s deep respect for the people he shoots.  he also stressed the importance of getting to know your subjects – something that i’ve always believed as an essential part of making a great photograph.

my kids and i also had the opportunity to visit the ‘full of grace’ exhibit at the palm beach photographic center, with jock.  the exhibition was so well put together and it was incredible to hear jock’s knowledge and thoughts on much of the displayed photographs.  he also took the time to teach and inspire my kids, who are now asking to visit museums here in tampa. if you happen to live in florida and can make the trip to palm beach, i so highly recommend the ‘full of grace’ exhibition.  i guarantee you will not be disappointed.

on sunday, jock and i spent hours talking about painters and their influences, not only on one another, but also on various photographers.  we began with cave paintings and journeyed through time – discussing artists such as sandro botitcelli, hieronymus bosch, jan vermeer, eugene delacroix, van gogh, picasso, piet mondrian and mark rothko. it was fascinating and something i plan to engross myself in, in the coming months.

we [my kids and i] then watched a slideshow of jock’s work, from the time he was a child through last summer’s work, sharing his thoughts and stories along the way.  it was impressive that jock knew every person’s name and many of them, he’s photographed for generations.

throughout the weekend, we laughed and shared.  he took the time to teach my kids – not only about photography and art, but also a few magic tricks, which of course, they thought was the best thing ever.  we left palm beach sunday evening and the first thing my kids said was, we really like him; when are we going to see him again.

jock sturges is one of the most kind, caring, giving people i have ever met.  he selflessly shared so much time, knowledge and information, asking for absolutely nothing in return. to think he’s a master photographer pretty much blows my mind.  he inspired me and encouraged me.  i'm not sure how i got so lucky, but i am beyond grateful.  he shared with me that he sees something special in my work and well, i’m not taking that lightly.  he had some recommendations for me, which i am going to see through.  one thing for sure, i’m going to make his time and energy spent worth it – i will not disappoint!

jock -- i can’t thank you enough for your friendship and the gift you have given me.  i feel more than blessed and i will make you proud.  my children and i thank you for a most-magical weekend -- a weekend we will never forget.

and a few photos from the weekend...

i love

i love when clients share their photo displays with me -- displays of photographs that i have taken.  makes my heart so, so happy. francesca shared these with me last week [all photographs from our session in chicago, this past october]...

and em sent this to me yesterday, sharing that it was her most favorite wall in her house.  the wall that makes her smile every time she walks by.  the boots and happy trash can photographs are enlargements made from polaroids i took, while in north and south carolina. the i love you so much print is from another artist.

seeing these has me longing to get my polaroid camera out this week.  i think i'll play a bit.

and you can see some of the photographs on the walls of my home, featured here.  i hope you are displaying  your family's photographs proudly.  if not, you should!

do you remember?

the above is not my photo.  i wish it was. i actually wish it was a photo of me with one of my babies. but it's not; it is a photo taken by my dear friend, steph [lifeography].  she facebooked the photo today, with the title -- do you remember holding your babies this way?

the sad thing is...i don't remember. well i do remember if i try really, really hard, but i want more. i want the photos, to remind me. i want the photos, to take me back to that magical place that i'll never physically go to again. sadly, i don't have that many photos from when sky and ryder were babies. especially photos that included me with them.

and sadly, i have NO video of my children or family. and THAT pains me so deeply. one of my goals for 2012 is to learn video AND to have my own family captured on video. i'm determined to capture my children more on video, even if it's iphone video.  the absolute best camera is the one you have with you, right?!!

where have all my babies gone?

my friend, steph, is a brilliant writer and photographer and today she posted THIS on the creative mama.  tears strolled down my cheeks as i read her words and thought about my own kids (and no steph, i'm not PMSing). kiele started high school this year. sky is in third grade. and my baby, ryder, is now in first grade (and for some reason, a first grader just seems so much older than a kindergardener).

my babies aren't babies anymore and... i ache at the thought that i am no longer cool in kiele's eyes or that she would rather spend time in her cave than with the family.  i ache at the thought of skyler no longer wanting me to kiss or hug her in front of her classmates. i ache at the thought of ryder not asking me to snuggle with him or him not coming into my bed in the middle of the night.  the thought of my last baby no longer being my baby makes me want to throw up.

how is this happening?  so quickly?  where did the time go?

not long ago, i saw this photo of my friend, heather, with her youngest, who is about ryder's age.  i now long for such a photo of ryder and i.  i can barely hold him anymore (he's so big) and before long, that will be gone too.

above image copyright heather starr

don't get me wrong, i do celebrate the wonderful children my babies have grown to be, but i can't help but think about how quickly the time has passed and the memories i hold onto so tightly.

in closing, i share a few recent photos of my babies...

sky and ryder yesterday, their first day of school

i wasn't able to get a photo of kiele yesterday because she was running late and had to rush off to school to test all her cochlear implant equipment before the other students started arriving in the classroom.  however, i was able to get a photo of part of her teenage cave.  ;-))

and the little ones' shoes.  couldn't help it.  every year, we have major shoe drama (too big, too tight, not bendy enough, hurts my pinky toe, etc.). also, i love their independence in selecting their own clothes. check out sky's rolled down striped socks (selecting their own clothes in the morning is something i have always encouraged).'s knees are pretty darn cute too.

note:  we're actually headed to payless this afternoon because the shoe drama continued this morning.

and the dog, who is hard as hell to photograph, makes a mess of my doors and anxiously awaits their return home every day.

i heart mr. fischer

i  think i met terri when i reached out to her about her dreads.  but i actually might have met her (pre-dreads) because of her wonderful film photography. can't really remember (because i have a terrible memory).  but i do know that we became friends on facebook.  i always knew she was special.  and then terri and julie came to visit me last year, in kansas. and our friendship has just continued to grow. yes, she really is that special...and more. a few weeks ago, terri shared the news that tom was diagnosed with a slow-growing follicular lymphoma. while slow-growing might sound better, it's actually not.  it means it's been around longer.  and often tougher to combat.  six rounds of chemo are in tom's immediate future.  he begins round two tomorrow.

as soon as i heard of tom's diagnosis, i knew i had to get out there, to photograph the fischer family.  to capture all the magic that they are.  i tried to get out there immediately after i heard but lots of factors prevented me from doing so. but last weekend, everything fell into place (much thanks to the women of the witches brew) and i was able to travel to wisconsin to photograph the fischer family.

i'm not really sure how to do justice to the amazing family that they are.  but i'm hoping that photos will show what i am not able to put into words...


also, please check out terri's t-shirts, for sale on etsy. she's saving the money to send tom on a dream-come-true fly fishing trip in alaska...once he's in remission and has beaten this beast (like seriously kicked it's ass kind of beaten). we HAVE to believe that that is the way this will all end up, right?!!!

i'm a proud owner of both an "i heart mr. fischer" t-shirt and a goddess t-shirt.  it's obvious how cool the t-shirts are but they're also seriously great quality.  i love my t-shirts.

a special thanks to julie, who opened up her house to me, while in WI...and drove me everywhere.  you are such a magical soul.  thank you for your friendship.  thank you for everything.

p.s. cancer fucking sucks!!

folly beach * smile *

two weeks ago, i met my friend, em, and her daughter, at folly beach, SC. a mini-vacation, of sorts. we went for the break. to have fun with our kids. but it was also so much more. it was a magical weekend of sharing, challenging, reflection and growth -- as friends.  as photographers. part of our time together was my photographing em. challenging her. challenging myself.

it's not often that i have the opportunity to photograph adults.  it's not often that em is in front of the camera.  last time i tried to photograph emily (when i did her family's photos about a year ago), all she could do was stand there and giggle.  of course, we did still end up with a few giggles because laughter is so much of who em is.  but we also ended up with so much more.

i hope that i never stop challenging myself. learning and growing and...exploring what's possible.  i hope that i can always say and truly believe that my journey in photography has only just begun!

my dream is to one day hook up with a model or two, makeup artist and stylist and see what happens.  i know it will happen...some day!!

thanks em for trusting me and allowing me to capture all the beauty that you are -- inside and out.  can't wait until the next time.  xo.

being grateful

i love this womani am grateful for this woman and all she shares with us she reminds me what it means to be good and grateful and not-so-serious in this crazy, mixed up world of ours

while in kansas, i started a grateful 365 project. to be completely honest, something went off course and i never finished. and then we moved. and then i was sent really off course. but seeing hailey's video has me longing to start another one. although i'm taking the daily pressure off and simply calling it my 'grateful project'. can't wait to see what comes of it.

how can anyone ever go wrong with a project that reminds them of all they have to be grateful for...each and every day.

hope you enjoy the video...

please don't forget to check out their 365 grateful site --

last but not least, here's a few photos from my 2010 (iphone) grateful project...

it's a swirly mess

yep, just like that...i feel like i'm back to a swirly mess. my mind...that is. spinning in circles. with thoughts. questioning. wondering.

i see blog posts about why we do photography? and i see blog posts about beautiful, confident, amazing women.

and my mind just starts swirling... about who i am. and what do i REALLY believe is important. about what really matters.

and then i silently whisper (or yell) to myself... really.......what is important? damn it.....WHAT?

and then i go on to read another blog post or edit a photo or answer an email or waste time on pinterest, but amongst the swirly mess, the yelling continues... really, what the fuck is important and really matters in all this... in life. in photography. in everything.

i'm not sure i'll ever have a complete grasp on the answers but i'm so thankful for these amazing women in my life, who continue to challenge me, get my mind swirling and keep me on the right track. even though they might not know it, i'm so, so grateful for their presence, voice and encouragement.

and so with all that said, i share an important, every day moment in our everyday life -- an after-school-watching-tv kind of moment.

finding peace

meet my dear friend steph beaty, who i respect and admire beyond words. steph was actually one of my very first clients in may 2006 (referred to me by carrie sandoval) -- which is still hard to believe.  the photo below was from that first session together.  little did we know at that time, that we'd one day be the best of friends.

steph's husband is currently deployed and will (hopefully) return when the baby is two months old -- making steph's shirt peace on my mind very literal.  they also have a four-year-old and two-year-old.  steph's strength, along with her kindness, passion, faith and goodness, inspires me each and every day.

lucky for me, steph grew up in the tampa area and her family still lives here.  so while we live plenty apart, i'm excited that steph and i will see each other (at least once a year) over the next few years, while we're stationed here in tampa.

on steph's trip last week, i was able to do maternity photos for her.  to say the evening was magical would be an understatement.  we had already rescheduled once because of weather and this was it -- no more days to work with if this one evening didn't work out. i think the only thing that could have possibly made the evening the tiniest bit better would have been a can of bug spray.  at one point, i looked down at my leg and had at least 10 mosquitoes chomping on my calf.

i am blessed to have steph in my life and so grateful to call her my friend.  i could go on and on but i'll stop there.  i think y'all get my genuine admiration for this woman.  :-) © deb schwedhelm | tampa maternity photographer

when the stars align

monday, i had a new coach at crossfit because my regular coach was on vacation.  she asked me what i do and i shared with her that i was a child | family portrait photographer.  a bit later, a woman walked in, ready to train, and my coach shared that i was a photographer.  the woman said,

oh, we haven't had photos done in forever.  but i don't like the way i look right now so i keep postponing.

tears instantly flooded my eyes, as i shared about kirsten. and max. and sam.  and my is there a perfect time post (which i now have at the top of my blog, hoping that everyone who visits will click and read). i don't care if she commissions me but i begged her not to wait for the perfect time, which for her was when her hair is more grown out.

there's a few things i feel i'm really meant to do in this life (beyond the obvious of being a great mother and wife) and one of them is sharing the importance of family photos -- not for ourselves but for those who love and cherish us. in this life, we just never know...and there really is no perfect time!


also, this past weekend, i was commissioned by two incredible north carolina photographers and women -- serena boggs and emily corey.  to say that i was a bit flattered would be a huge understatement.

today, i want to share a bit about serena's story (tomorrow...emily). serena commissioned me for photographs of her family. but she commissioned me for another reason too...

serena asked me if i would also photograph her in a special dress and coat -- of her mom's. sadly, serena's mom passed away eight years ago, while waiting for a heart. she was only 49!! needless to say, serena misses her mom deeply and is very passionate about organ donation.

i flew in pretty late friday but we knew we had about 30-45 minutes of light that evening to play with. we had also checked the forecast and were blessed with a weekend of great weather. and...

it. was. absolutely. magical.

i really do believe the stars aligned and it was meant to be. i originally wasn't going to be able to photograph the boggs family because i was going to stop in north carolina, while en route to tampa...and it just so happened that the boggs family were going to be out of town that weekend. then plans changed and i ended up flying to north carolina this past weekend instead. yes, some things are just meant to be.

this morning, while surfing facebook, i came across this from serena...

deb photographed me in my mommy's dress and fur coat. these shoots i have waited for just the right artist. photographer to capture. knowing how important these were to me and my family. i have longed to meet deb for many many years now. she is one of the most beautiful women i have ever met. her art is enchanting and heartfelt. all the stars aligned for these. i am forever grateful. forever changed. and the heirlooms she has given us are irreplaceable. these are gifts for my three daughter's. a part of me & a part of their grandmother. much love to you deb. our hearts are full and thank you's will never suffice. xo

i have to say...having met and been able to hang out with serena and her family, MY heart is full and i am beyond grateful.  i am seriously blessed. thank you serena for letting me into your heart and home and for just simply being you. © deb schwedhelm | tampa family photographer

p.s. i almost burst out of my skin when serena told me that her dream family portrait was one where everyone was wearing masks.  i so love that!

p.s.s. do you see the hearts in two of the above images?  i do.

weekend warriors

how did i get so lucky as to have two of the most incredible weekends, back to back?!! last weekend, i flew to salt lake city, for a photography get-together--just a few of us girls, hanging out and having fun.  to say the weekend was magical is actually an understatement.  we shared. we laughed. we learned. we cried.  i left there a better person...a person that embraced and soaked in as much goodness as possible, from each of these fabulous women.

i was also super stoked to find the most breathtaking resort for our fall workshop location.  the location alone is crazy inspirational!! we're hoping to share all the details and open registration this coming week.  just a few more things to work out before the contract is complete and signed.

i adore this photo so much. i love the way we all seem to be entwined with one another, which is exactly how i feel.  a part of them will forever be entwined in my heart and soul.  i'm going to print this and keep it on my desk, to remind me every day of their light, love, goodness and inspiration. from left to right: wynona, crystalynn, steph, me, mindy and jefra photo set up by jefra. taken with self timer. and edited by mindy.

and this weekend... terri fischer and julie bartel are visiting ME :-) woot! woot!  i thought they were fabulous, knowing them on-line. well, they're even more fabulous in person. we're having a blast. and so much laughter shared!!  they are actually flying with steve right now (he got his private pilot license just the other day), which is why i have the time to blog right now.  this afternoon will be filled with shopping, shooting and hooking up with another new friend. i just love terri and julie and am so very thankful to have them in my life. they, too, make me a better person.

will you ever?

i don’t think you will ever...fully understand how you've touched my life and made me who i am. i don't think you could ever... know just how truly special you are. - erica jong

i have this thing. always have. i'm good at blocking things out. the bad things. the things that have been difficult in my life. i put them in a place, a place where i can't find them and they cannot escape. it's part of my personal survival mechanism in life. how i survived my past. i's not exactly a good thing but i've become very good at it.

well, i have this thing with leaving too. this coping mechanism. if i keep telling everyone that i'll see them again before i go (truly believing that i just might), then i might not have to say an official good-bye. well this all hit me today. as i arranged to meet one of my greatest friends here in san diego, for a last play date together, because she is going out of town tomorrow and if we don't see each other today, i won't see her before we leave.

damn. that screws up my ability to say, i'll see you again before i go. because i won't.

this play date arrangement all happened via email, while i was editing max's family's photos. and all of a sudden it hit me--the moving, the leaving. it hit me like a train and the tears began to uncontrollably flow. i couldn't keep them in that magic place, unable to escape...and i breathed and let them flow.

i have made some of the best friends i have ever had in my entire life, while here in san diego. and while i know for certain that i will see most of them again, it just doesn't matter...this leaving thing just sucks!


long overdue, i am working hard to finish max's family's photos, to get the photos to the them before i leave. in the beginning of the year, i had told andy and melis that i really hoped to do a family photo of them before i left, if and when they were ready. in april, they were ready. i knew they would include max's shark, bruce, in the photos (always), but i had an idea for them to release seven orange balloons--max is forever seven and his favorite color was orange. they agreed. we walked around and shot all over balboa park, one of max's special places. a couple hours later and almost to our cars, melis says, darn, we forgot about the balloons. no worries, just get them and we'll photograph them somewhere here [near the parking lot], i replied.

and we did. i photographed the family releasing seven orange balloons for max to catch and hold onto in Heaven.

while editing the photos this morning, i came across this one, which literally took my breath away. it was my test shot for lighting. i'm not even sure what i focused on in the was just a test shot. but it wasn't; it turned out to be much, much more than just the test shot. it's like the light is pulling the balloons, calling for them. how did the wind of the balloons and the light of the flare line up so perfectly?  i have to believe it's max's light shining down, letting them know that he's okay. and did andy see it? did he see or sense something that was beyond what he even knew at the time? all the other balloon shots i have...not a hint of wind.

the first shot, just testing the light


the moment the balloons were released, beginning to float away


watching them float to Heaven. to max.

will these people that have come into my life and changed my life forever... will they ever know how much they mean to me? how special they are? how they have become a part of my soul?

i hope so.

max, i miss you little buddy!