My Favorite Photos – Last Frame
It was actually a trip to Austin, Texas in the spring of 2005 to visit our son that I took this photo. At the time, our son was in graduate school at UT and our whole family went down. Afterwards, when I looked at this digital photo, it came to me that all three of our kids had grown up. Our two oldest had both graduated from college and were in graduate school. And our youngest son graduated from high school just two months after this trip. For me, it was one of those “aha” moments and so has been my favorite marking that milestone recognition for me.
One more of me. That same year, my sister took a road trip with me in my fun little red sports car. I had been wanting to drive the road called “Tail of the Dragon”, a stretch of US 129 on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. When my wife declined my invitation to take a driving road trip, my sister volunteered. We also drove part of the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) on that trip ending up in Asheville and throughout that trip, my sister acted as my personal paparazzi, taking over 300 photos. She even willingly got out in the rain to take photos of me in my car at certain memorable locations from our childhood growing up. But my favorite one is of me in the car having just finished a run on the Tail.
Three years later, I returned to that some locale with my two sons. The occasion was a father-son bonding trip to celebrate our youngest son turning 21. We took two of my sports cars there to drive the Tail of the Dragon once again and the BRP. Unlike the trip with my sister, rather than driving on into Asheville we stayed at the historic Tapoco Lodge overnight which gave us ample time for multiple runs on the Tail. The next morning before we headed out for more fun driving, I got a shot of my boys with my two cars. This one also captured a spot on that montage photo of my cars.
Of all of my photos, I have no idea how many are mainly of family members. So many of them are special in capturing our children at the age they were at the time, of my wife and me over our 40+ years of marriage, or of our now six grandchildren. But one that stands out for me is this one of my granddaughter taken on Christmas Eve morning. We had just finished our traditional breakfast out and upon leaving discovered that it had started to rain. My wife took this photo of us hiding under my umbrella which shows my love for this almost 2-year-old and the innocence of her beautiful little face.
So far, I have only focused on my favorite family photos. With all my travels over the years, I have taken numerous photos of the places we visited. Having traveled to Amsterdam over thirty times for teaching, I obviously have a multitude from there. But again, just a few stand out—two in particular.
On many of these trips when my teaching occurred in the spring (which we intentionally scheduled that way), we would visit Keukenhof, near Lisse, about 20 miles from Amsterdam. Keukenhof Park, which in Dutch literally means “kitchen garden”, was opened in 1950 on a 200-hectare plot. And today it boasts more than 7 million bulbs in bloom with over 32 hectares of beds during the short two months that it is open from mid-March to mid-May.
Since we had to schedule our course a year in advance, we never knew year-to-year if the tulips would be at their peak when we arrived. Some years we were too early and some years we were too late. But one year we hit it perfectly. This is my favorite from that trip.
Biking, tulips or flowers, canals and boats are iconic images many visualize when they think of The Netherlands. On one trip, I felt like I captured the quintessential photo that included all of these. I have never replicated it since.
San Francisco is another city I have travelled to for many reasons. It is one of the US cities we taught at every year, but it is also a city where two of our kids lived, one of which still does with his family. When someone thinks of San Francisco, an image of the Golden Gate Bridge often pops in their mind. I have photographed it from a number of different locations but this one is my favorite, offering a view of the bridge not from San Francisco, but with the city in background.
In 2012, my wife and I traveled to Vancouver, BC for a vacation. One of things she found that we could do was to take a scenic train ride from Vancouver to Whistler, the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics. The train was named the Rocky Mountaineer Whistler Sea to Sky Climb and we literally rode from sea level to a height of nearly 2200 feet. Whenever the train came to a particularly scenic view, it would slow down to allow passengers ample time for taking photos. This was enhanced by having an open car in the middle of the train that everyone could come to. This is the shot my wife took capturing the train, the mountains, and the rushing river below.
Another location I have traveled to my entire life is Montreat, NC, a favorite place for all my siblings that I have written about before. But having traveled here so many times, it isn’t so much a single photograph as it is a constant theme that all four of us capture whenever we go.
You cannot get there without entering through this gate. Originally, the Presbyterian Church (USA) conference grounds, you had to stop here to pay the entrance fee for whatever conference you would be attending. After the city was incorporated, free access to the community was granted.
Next up is Lake Susan, where growing up, my brother and I would fish. In the early days, we would also swim there if we were willing to brave the mighty cold mountain spring water that fed it. There are a number of different locations from which the lake can be photographed but my favorite is always this one looking back over the lake towards the Black Mountains that suround the city. The building in the background is the Assembly Inn, the historic hotel that was built in 1928.
The lake is formed by a dam and so this is also one of our favorite photographic spots.
My last favorite photo to share is from the tip my wife and I took to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary in 2019 (yes, right before the pandemic.). Our hotel was on Waikiki Beach, and we had a top floor view. I took this shot with Diamond Head in the background almost every day we were there at different times throughout the day but this one is my favorite and is the current desktop photo on my computer.
I hope you have enjoyed this trip down my photographic memory lane. I rely on many of these photos to remind me of the wonderful memories. Were it not for these photographic treasures, I am sure the memory or the details of the moment would be long lost. Hopefully you have some photographic treasures from your own lifetime.
So many great ones! What a beautiful life you’ve built. My favorite is the one of you and Lily under the umbrella. So precious!
Thanks it’s really a beautiful life your mom and I have built together. And now each of you three are doing the same.
David, you have so many wonderful memories. I enjoyed seeing all these pictures. Love the tulips and the bicycle on the bridge. I am glad I take photos, too – as you are right. Our photos remind us so much of wonderful times. Our kids grew up so fast. And now we know how fast those little ones – your grandchildren – will grow up,too. Here’s to many, many more happy times.
Thank you Betty! I love how our photos keep us from losing those memories. And yes they do grow up fast. I’ve got another post along those lines publishing in a few weeks. Here’s to happy times for you as well!