9 Photos from 2015


I did the “my best 9” thing on the website that assembles a grid of any Instagrammer’s most liked photos, but the ones I picked on my own mean a little more to me than just the number of likes; sharing moments spent with family, clicking the shutter button at the right time, and meeting friends along the way.

Thanks to all of you who have connected with me over the years including 2015. I am looking forward to share more stories with you in 2016.

Storytellers Circle

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Yesterday, my photo was chosen as the story starter for Grryo’s Storytellers Circle on Instagram. So you see the pic and here was the caption, “Storytellers Circle Every picture tells a story. Instead of a description of this image, let your imagination run wild and free! We want to read a few lines in story form you might tell to accompany this incredible shot by @joe_montoya.”

Here are some of the responses by the Instagrammers who participated:

  • “After many years of being a slave to the masses, Santa packs it in and moves to SoCal. After many failed attempts at trying to make friends with the local surfers he decides to pack up his pet crab and head north.” @mrmenellis
  • “As often as possible, when the weather was just right, William would take Charlie, his pet hamster, for walks along the beach. After being pent up in the house all week, the touch of the sun and the scent of the fresh, salty sea breeze was a delicious treat for them both. Sometimes William would let Charlie out of his cage to get his paws wet scampering along the moist, hard-packed sand at the water’s edge…but only at low tide.” @scotchp
  • “Seeing him again on the beach, the decades came rushing in with the tide. With a sudden clarity she recalled that this man has always loved her fiercely and entirely.” @klimekphoto
  • “This photo is making me laugh…”have you seen my pet? His name is belly button!”” @cassandra_1971
  • “That moment that you dream about but are least prepared for, running into your first love at the beach.” @iamakittehcouch

I really enjoyed reading the responses to my picture and being part of Storytellers Circle this week. It encourages me to get out there and take more pics. I am sure that there will be more stories to tell. Special thanks to the folks at Grryo. You can find them on Instagram and grryo.com.

Suspended

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I participate in “Make Beautiful,” an assignment-based photography project organized and curated on Twitter and Instagram by HipstaChallenge. Samuel Gasc provides the daily themes for the whole month. Today’s theme is “Urban” and the interpretation is entirely up to the mobile photographer specifically shooting with the Hipstamatic app. I love the Hipstamatic app on the iPhone because I get to choose from a variety of old school lenses, films, and flashes from the analog days of photography. I typically do not do any post edits, so I challenge myself to get the shot right the first time. This image was shot with the Jane lens and DC film, with no flash nor additional lighting other than what existed in the store. Highlights from participating Hipstamatic shooters are found on Hipstamatic’s website, Instagram and Twitter.

Children On Social Media

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Social Media and kids

Would you let your child freely interact with strangers? That question is the basis for my thoughts and opinions on children using social media. It is hard to have a simplistic grasp of the explosion of social media. We can share our lives via photo, video, sentences, and a song in an instant. We are interacting in ways that we couldn’t imagine years ago. Even my 75-year old low-tech dad is FaceBooking now. Times have changed. Social media has opened avenues of communication that allows the participant to access dozens, hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people. Where do our children fit in the social media picture that is increasingly becoming an integral part of our daily lives.
That brings me back to the first question. Would you let your children freely interact with strangers? The answer for my children is no. In public situations, when strangers approach my children, I make sure I redirect the interaction between me and the stranger. When I’m shopping, I don’t let my children leave my side to interact with people I don’t know. Why would I allow my children to do that on the internet?
Things to think about…
    • Predators are rampant on the internet. They are all over the internet in every social media platform: FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
    • Personal profiles can be easily be created to misrepresent the user. A predator wouldn’t typically identify himself as one on his profile. People aren’t who they say they are. As I type, I’m looking at a spam account on my Instagram. It’s a stock photo of a model. Who knows who the real person is behind the account? I don’t. Neither does your child.
    • Peer pressure to post things for shock value. We are a “like” hungry society. The more likes and reposts on a post, then the better. People pay money to buy Twitter followers. “Likes,” “Favorites,” “Repins,” and “Reposts,” are the fuel that make social media go. That pressure is on our children to fit in their digital world as well as their physical world. One easy way to get attention to internet activity is to promote sex and vulgarity. The pressure is on our children to promote the same things.
So when can my kid join in?
I’m going back to my theme. The permissions I allow my children to be in the physical world is similar to the interaction I would allow my children to have on the internet. If I allow my son to work at the local movie theater, where the bulk of his interaction is with people he doesn’t know, then yes, I would allow that in his digital world as well. With boundaries? Oh yes, and I will set them. Freedom without responsibilities and accountability is not freedom. The process is all about trust, and trust is earned, not given.
What is your involvement?
Parenting is active. Anytime, you don’t interact with your children or you don’t actively supervise your children’s activities, it is very likely that your children will go beyond the boundaries. Street signs remind me about the rules while I drive to keep me and others around me safe. Those road signs aren’t consistent on the internet. The parent must be guiding their children, and that includes setting limits on time, content, and interaction. I can and will tell my child, who can and cannot be his internet friends.
Our children need boundaries the same way a river needs banks. When there are banks, the river is a source of life. When the banks are gone the river becomes a flood. I believe in saying no with purpose. I believe that setting boundaries for your children will help them create boundaries for their own lives.

Power Source

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One of my recent midnight edits. I took this photo on a mid-morning by lining up this power transformer with the sun as it emerged from the clouds to create the silhouette. The Hipstamatic app settings: John S lens + DC film. Swankolab app edit: Vinny’s BL94 + Vinny’s BL04 + Flamoz Fixer.

Hipstachallenge Feature

Thanks HipstaChallenge for the feature on my children’s book. The #makebeautiful project was the catalyst that tranformed me into a Hipstamatic shooter. http://instagram.com/p/Y2kmlwN0gr/

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About.me

I’m starting to get out of control and all over the map with accounts here and social media hooks there. Thank God I found About.me which is basically a personal home page and a social media platform that keeps all of the connections to me together in one place. Below is my About.me page