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Early May of this year my wife and I went with Pat Cook's group, Beyond the Photo with HDR, to Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT. It was a great event with so many photo opportunities. Since the seaport is considered a living museum there were plenty of things to do and places to visit.

Along the waterfront there are a variety of shops visitors can explore. Many of them with a knowledgeable tradesman who will give you a little history lesson or demonstration of the crafts and trades from the late 1800's. I was so enthralled by many of these demonstrations that I spent more time listening to these folks rather than take pictures.

In particular there was the cooper's barn. A cooper is a tradesman who builds and maintains wooden barrels and casks. On this particular day there was a gentleman by the name of Sam giving a demonstration to a group of eager kids. It was fun watching eight and ten year old kids banging away at the metal bandings of a barrel under Sam's supervision.

As I was watching I had set up my camera on a tripod off to one side of the workshop hoping to get some nice shots of all the barrels and tools on display. Did I mention that the seaport is very accommodating to photographers? So long as you do not sell them commercially, that is. Strict rules on that, but that's a different story.

As I was waiting for the crowd to diminish I noticed how the light coming into the workshop fell on Sam leaving the background about a stop darker. I couldn't ask for a better situation. I turned my camera on Sam, composed the scene, set my values and waited. Once the room was relatively free of visitors I asked Sam if I could please take a photo of him holding his tools in front of the barrels. He politely complied. I took one exposure, seen here on the left.

I then asked him for his email address promising him a copy of the image. He apologized he didn't have an email but gave me his home address. A week later an 8x10 print was in the mail.

The card you see above is a warmly written thank you card from Sam and his wife thanking me for the "beautiful photo of my husband Sam." She goes on to say that, "our children and I love it and will treasure it. How nice of you to send it."

I took two shots of him that day, one to get my lighting and exposure and one of him posing. In all I spent less that ten minutes on this portrait (30 minutes if you count post work and printing.) However, the warm feeling it has given me knowing that something I spent so little time means so much to others is much more rewarding.

A photo is not worth anything if all it does is sit on your hard drive. When your share your images you share the love. Go out there and spread a little love.


  1. What a pleasant and and nice "reminder" article.
    We often forget in many of the complicated hours of our
    lives that the simplest acts can last a lifetime.

  2. What you wrote here made me smile. You are so right, sharing our photographs should be part of the whole exercise, otherwise they just lay dormant forever.

    What a nice gesture you did for that man!


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