December Photos of the Day

December 1

Frost comes to the Houston area. (Nikon D700; Nikon 105mm lens)

Baby, it was cold out this morning! The temperature dropped to a bone-chilling (for us) 31 degrees. The only good thing? Frost in the backyard ready to be photographed!

December 2

The brothers watch the Chanukah candles burn. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

My goal for the Chanukah season is to get a properly exposed, crisp photo of both boys together during our traditional menorah lighting. Which is very hard to do considering my older son is in San Antonio and is visiting with us via Skype on our very-bright iMac monitor. This was my first attempt . . . not very inspiring. Maybe by the final night I will have figured it all out. Sure hope so!

December 3

The candles are burning low. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

On this third night of Chanukah, I concentrated on snapping some pics of the candles as they were burning low (as in the song “Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah”).

December 4

A solo, waxy candle shot from below. (Nikon D700; Nikon 105mm lens)

Tonight I was shooting from below my younger son’s menorah and isolated on the one candle (and there always is one) that burns so much faster than all the others. Love that waxy buildup!

December 5

The candles shine on my #2 son’s smiling face. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

See the exposure problem? In order to properly illuminate my younger son’s face (via natural light), the Chanukah candles are pretty much blown out (overexposed). It didn’t help that he used all white candles in his menorah!

December 6

My #2 son’s mug shot (Nikon D700; Nikon 35-70mm lens)

My only request of my younger son was to allow me to snap just one photo of him with his cross-country certificate as we were leaving his fall sports banquet. Just one. Should I have asked him to smile, too?

December 7

Those mesmerizing eyes! (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

Here’s a photo of my older son (via Skype) and myself (see me in the little box next to him?). Think he got a little close to his MacBook Pro’s camera?

December 8

Sackboy! (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

When I saw a picture of Sackboy, who is a character in a video game called LittleBigPlanet, I knew I had to have him. He looks so cute! I not-so-subtly hinted to my sons that I wanted a Sackboy plushie for Chanukah, and my older son came through for me. Way to go, #1 son!

December 9

One lonely rose (Nikon D700; Nikon 105mm lens)

We’ve enjoyed lovely knockout roses in our front landscaping all year. But now that winter is upon us (even though it hasn’t been very cold yet), only one plucky flower remains to brighten the monotonous green. Hope it can hang in there!

December 10

My younger son takes a nap. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

Guess it’s time for the first photo this month of my #2 son napping on the couch after school. Looks like he’s really getting in a crop of facial hair and will have to start shaving soon!

December 11

A beautiful Texas sunrise (iPhone 4)

Why do some runners prefer the morning for exercising? So we can be accompanied by a gorgeous sunrise! This is what I watched during the early part of my seven-mile run.

December 12

The wind whips a palm tree next door. (Nikon D700; Nikon 105mm lens)

Brrrr! It was so cold and blustery today that I might have thought I was back in my hometown of Chicago . . . except for the palm trees next door. Ain’t no palm trees up north.

December 13

The front door’s leaded glass adds a unique touch. (Nikon D700; Nikon 85mm lens)

Was it laziness or the outside chill that caused me to shoot through our front door’s leaded glass at the Christmas lights on our block? Whatever the reason, it caused a cool effect!

December 14

My #1 son returns home from college. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

Our household is back up to four people once again! My older son finished his last final (honors history) this afternoon, and his roommate’s mom brought him home this evening. He couldn’t wait to eat at one of his favorite restaurants (Wings ’n Things), followed by ice cream from Maggie Moo’s. Right now I’m ecstatic to have him back home. We’ll see how I feel, though, after three and half weeks (he has to return to school on January 9)!

December 15

Staring at the trees beyond our backyard fence (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

I was too sad to take a meaningful photo today after watching the events unfold with our neighbors’ son’s suicide. Photography took a backseat.

December 16

A tree looks like it’s on fire! (iPhone 4)

This has been a brilliant fall in our neighborhood. I love all the red trees! When I saw this one while walking this morning, I had to go off the beaten (bike) path and snap a photo. The red is energizing!

December 17

My #1 son computes on his MacBook Pro. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

Since returning to our humble abode from college, my older son has taken up residence in the living room. He loves surfing the internet and listening to music on his MacBook Pro. And I love seeing him there!

I snapped this photo after I returned from Matthew’s memorial service. Today he was supposed to have his braces removed; instead his family and friends sat in a church and listened to the reverend try to make sense of why this 17-year-old boy would want to take his own life. So many question. So few answers.

I am heartbroken for my neighbors, whose lives are so much emptier. And I remind myself that I need to make sure that my sons’ emotional health (thanks, JJ, for that term) is as important as their physical well-being. I will remain ever vigilant.

December 18

A rose prepares to open. (Nikon D700; Nikon 105mm lens)

Yes, it is winter. But it’s nice to see that we have one knockout rose in our front yard hardy enough to bloom. Hope it opens up soon, because a cold front is supposed to swoop in this weekend.

December 19

My sons watch the “Survivor” finale. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

Yet another season of “Survivor,” one of our favorite TV shows, ended tonight. My younger son bet me a dollar that Holly would win; he had to cough up the buck after she didn’t even make the final three. None of us had a favorite who we were rooting for, and none of us was sad that “Fabio” (Jud) took home the title of sole survivor. Now we have to wait about a month until the next edition starts. We can hardly wait!

December 20

Stuck in traffic (iPhone 4)

I made the mistake of getting out to run errands a little too late and found myself stuck in traffic close to our local mall.

December 21

The lunar eclipse (Nikon D300; Nikon 70-200mm lens; ISO 4000)

I felt fortunate to get this mediocre photo of the rare winter solstice lunar eclipse at about 2:30 a.m. We had a lot of cloud cover in the Houston area, and I had to be patient to wait for the brief moments of clear sky. I handheld my camera, which is why the photo isn’t crisp. If I only owned a telescope!

December 22

Ready for my colonoscopy, showing off my “free” $1,000 socks (iPhone 4)

Because I’ve had ulcerative colitis for 37 years (dating back to college), I undergo regular colonoscopies to make sure colon cancer isn’t looming. Today I was scoped by a new gastroenterologist at a new facility. Everything went fine except that the doctor was so late (I was scheduled for 12:30 p.m.; he finally showed up at 1:20 p.m.) that I was on my third nurse shift. Which normally would be okay except that I had spent a lot of time explaining to the first two nurses about how much anesthetic I wanted (e.g., enough to not feel any pain, but not so much that I was totally knocked out). By the third nurse, I just gave up.

So, of course, I got too much anesthetic, felt terrible when I finally came to, and spent too much time in recovery. Which the facility probably is going to charge me for. Bummer!

December 23

A pink rose opens to winter’s possibilities. (Nikon D700; Nikon 105mm lens)

More of our knockout roses are blooming! They make our front yard look a little more colorful amid the drab winter landscape.

December 24

I’m reflected in a large, silver ornament. (iPhone 4)

As I was walking around the neighborhood, I couldn’t resist snapping a few pix of myself in several large, reflective ornaments strung up at one of our subdivisions’ entrances. It was a beautiful morning—the temperature was 60 degrees, and all seemed merry and bright. A mere 12 hours later, a cold front blew through, dropping the temps into the low 40s with a wind chill. Brrrrr!

December 25

The Mister’s Christmas tree reflected in our front door (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

Merry Christmas!

December 26

Relaxation time for my #1 son (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

I’ve enjoyed watching my older son return to his old ways around our house during his winter break from college.

December 27

My #2 son throws a disc in our backyard. (Nikon D700; Nikon 105mm lens)

I must admit that when I snapped this photo, I wasn’t really looking at my younger son’s form as he practiced throwing discs in the backyard. Instead, I was thoroughly distracted by the Chicago White Sox cap on his head. Traitor!

December 28

My #2 son putts. (Nikon D700; Nikon 105mm lens)

My younger son put yesterday’s backyard practice to good use when he played a round of disc golf with his friends Chase (not my “third son”) and T.J. I much preferred his hat choice (his trademark Cookie Monster cap) today!

December 29

Chase, my #1 son, and Tanner share a laugh. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

My older son was busy today shooting a video he wrote with my “third son,” Chase, and their mutual friend Tanner. During a break in the action, they sampled the possible ringtones on my son’s iPhone 4 and found them to be very funny . . . for some reason.

December 30

My #1 son takes his turn. (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

After my younger son said we needed to play games as a family, I bought the Star Wars version of Trouble. Tonight was our first chance to give it a whirl, and my sons and I had a great time . . . until my older son beat us in both rounds. My #2 son and I have vowed to exact our Trouble revenge on him very soon!

December 31

The final photo! (Nikon D700; Nikon 50mm lens)

Holy cow! I made it through an entire year of taking and posting a photo every single day . . . except for on October 6 when I forgot and used the pic that my #1 son took and texted to me. I must admit that I wondered back in February if I would last a year; seemed like it would be an eternity. And now it’s the final day of 2010.

I snapped this family photo in the mirror of my master bathroom. I’m glad it included my beloved babies, my Nikon D700 and Nikon 50mm lens, which took the majority of the POTD pix.

I’m looking forward to waking up tomorrow and, for the first time in a year, not wondering what my photo of the day will be!

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