A few years ago Leif Barsness and I were fellow teachers and travelers in the halls of the mighty Apollo High School, roaming around looking for the hidden, illegal coffee makers that were rumored to be somewhere on campus.  I retired, leaving Leif to search on his own, while I lived in the comfort of knowing where the coffee was at all times.

A couple of years pass and I have the good fortune of running into Leif and his lovely wife, Anne, at a wedding that I was photographing.  Leif gets to see me in my full reincarnation of Tim the Photographer as I worked at Jason and Katie’s wedding.   That was the springboard for us getting together and doing the Barsness family session.

Of course the main goal of the family session is to capture that one great group shot that gets hung on the wall and put in the classroom.  With little kids that can be a bit tricky because as soon as the tableau is set, something will catch a little one’s eye and I take a great shot of three faces and the back of one head. But i know if I take enough shots I will get at least one image that will make for good wall art.

Personally I think the better images come from the candid shots and the shots of one parent and one child together.  Candid shots of any subject always capture the true emotionality of the moment.  The smiles are not the typical “say cheese” smiles.  The candid expressions are the true expressions, the expressions of the soul.  As for the one parent and child, I believe those great results come from the intimacy of the situation.  The comfort of the child knowing that they are with their mom or with their dad makes for a more natural, candid image.  These are the images I really enjoy taking at all my sessions.

I am happy to share today some of my favorite images from the Barsness session. During that time I got to catch up with Leif’s life at Apollo.  I believe he is now running an underground shadow government at Apollo and is controlling everything behind the scenes.  I also got to talk to Anne and get to know her much better.  Anne is one more example of how all of my friends have married someone above their pay grade.  She is a delightful young lady and mother.  Of course kids are kids and always fun to interact with.  Langston and Avery were great.

The hardest part about this shoot is this blog post.  Leif is an English teacher.  I sincerely hope there aren’t too many red check marks on this post.

Some of my favorites from the Barsness session.


Of course I must start a family session with the family portrait.  Love that Avery is looking at Langston.


Getting ready.

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We did have someone try to “goose” their way into out session.  Fun times at the park!

Thanks to Leif and Anne for allowing me share an hour with their  family, capture these images, and share some fun times with Langston and Avery.



One of Bill Cosby’s great comedy routines was about him and his college girlfriend.  She was a philosophy major, he was a physical education major.  She wandered around asking questions such as “Why is there air?”  To which Bill replied “Any phys ed major knows why there is air.  There’s air to blow up volleyballs, blow up basketballs!”

I wonder about things.  Little things.  Things that are not really significant to the whole scheme of life and goings on in this world, but things I nonetheless think about.  For example, who invented Throwback Thursday and why?  Don’t get me wrong, it is a great little theme to use for posting on Facebook and blogs.  I figure that if I just post one photograph for each year of my life, I have more than a year of Throwback Thursday blog posts.  But I am curious about its origins.

Today is November 1st.  It is the start of something known as “No Shave November”.  I prepared myself by shaving at 11:45 PM yesterday.  While shaving, the amateur philosopher in me asked this question, “Why is there such a thing as “No Shave November?  Who started it?  Why am I participating in it? Why am I shaving myself at midnight?”

As a young lad I could not wait to become old enough to shave.  My father advised me not to be in too big a hurry to shave because I would soon come to hate the morning ritual of shaving.  But eventually nature takes its course and I joined the ranks of every young man and began each morning with a clean, close shave.

The high school dress code made sure that shaving was part of the daily routing.  Prescott High School had a “no facial hair” rule.   To put this into context, I attended PHS from 1965-1969, which meant that if the administration didn’t want us to have facial hair, all of us guys desperately wanted to have mustaches and beards.

One glorious week out of each year, the school had Spring Spirit week which featured a beard growing contest.  No shaving for a week!  Most of my friends and I fell into what I would charitably call “the scragglies” and really didn’t expect to win.  That honor would always go to the one student who looked like he was straight out of Duck Dynasty after one week of not shaving.  I was just happy for the week off.

Based on what I have related so far, one might think that once I hit college, I went into to full ZZ Top mode, but that would be untrue.  It was not until my third year of college that I actually grew a full beard.  Since that time I have run the gamut from clean shaven to mustache to beard and back to clean shaven.  These days I spend the majority of my time clean shaven with a few days off from shaving here and there.  Once a month I indulge myself and get a professional face shave, something every man should try once.  It’s quite an experience.

Which brings me back to the main topic of No Shave November.  Although I willingly participate, No Shave November is not all fun and games for me.  No way.  First of all, it takes about two weeks before the itching and irritation stop.  Secondly, my beard is all white, so it ages my looks at least 20 years.  Plus, being a big man with a white beard means I need to be on my best behavior in public.  I have noticed  little children who start whispering to their moms when they see me, wondering if I am the big man from the North Pole making an early visit.  Strange as it may sound, I feel a bit of responsibility to make sure I am representing the Clause in a good way.  Finally, it was fairly cute when I first heard this, but like anything that gets overly used, it has lost a lot of charm for me.  “Hey, you look just like the dude from Jurassic Park!”

To all my fellow No Shave November participants…have a great month.  See you in December.

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Follow link here to listen to Bill Cosby’s “Why is There Air?”