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April 27, 2012

The Artistry of DIY Family Portraiture

The poetic among us would find rich metaphoric comparisons between the taking of our yearly family portrait and my annual health checkup. I kinda froze here: one is a figurative pain in my tuchus; the other is literally.

:: snap :: ... and exhaaaaale -- good.

Though a notoriously mediocre point-n-shooter, I undertook the job of family photographer this year because I now own a decent camera and we were going on a scenic week-long trip out West. The breathtaking, soul-enriching beauty of the Grand Canyon and such should surely override my technical ineptitude and my motley crew's many flaws, right?

Yeah. Right. 


Take 1: My daughter's eyes are closed. My son, obviously, needs some Ex-Lax.


Take 2: Mother Fletching snakes on a plane! You think one of them would have said something about this hat head of mine before I let that nice Korean couple who took this for us get back on their tour bus?

You'd also think with digital cameras having built-in monitors that you'd notice these basic flaws before you, say, hopped in a rental car and drove 5 hours to your next location. Well, you can. If you know how to use the zoom feature for those tiny 2.5-inch playback screens.

(Slaps head) Idiot!

With the biggest hole in the continental United States well behind us [Ed. Note: Insert your own Kim Kardashian joke here], it was on to Utah's Rainbow Bridge National Monument, the tallest natural stone arch in the world.

WIFE: Wow! That would be great for the family photo. Too bad it's off-season and we're the only people in this desolate valley for miles and miles.

HUSBAND: You coming on to me?

WIFE: Uh ... the kids?

HUSBAND: Who? Oh, yeah. It's OK. My camera has a self-timer. I do know how to use that.

WIFE: Really? And how ...


Based on our canyon photos, I first took a test shot.

Of my hair.


Hat on! Hat on!


WIFE: We're so tiny. No one's going to know that's us.

HUSBAND: You say that like it's a bad thing.


HUSBAND: That's a big hole.

WIFE: Will you get your mind off Kim Kardashian?

HUSBAND: We could stand closer to the camera, but I'm pretty certain we'll end up with a picture of cankles and knobby knees.

WIFE: Speak for your own cankles.


SON: (mouth full of brown goo): I need to poop.

HUSBAND: AHHH! That's not chocolate!

Our last hope, unless we wanted to pose with showgirls and Elvis imitators in Las Vegas, was Zion National Park. I purposely didn't wear my hat the morning of our hike. Or let the boy eat anything.

WIFE: That's a nice one.

HUSBAND: Yeah, but the sun washed out the background. I don't know the settings to correct that.

WIFE: Fix it in Photoshop.

HUSBAND: In Photoshop, I know how to eliminate red eyes, remove crow's feet and zits, and turn the word 'books' into 'boobs' but that's about it.

WIFE: But you know how to work the self-timer?



HUSBAND: Stupid steep rock! Let me run back and adjust the timer.


WIFE: Our daughter's hat is swallowing her head.

HUSBAND: Forget that. Check out the huge space penis shadow on the right.

Desperate, my wife suggested my photographic fallback: putting the camera on the ground and shooting straight up. 


HUSBAND: That sucks. ... Unless I can figure out how to force flash.

WIFE: Enough with the dirty talk.

HUSBAND: No. That's setting the flash to always get off -- go off. KIIIIIIDS!


HUSBAND: Polygamy Porter! I did it! Everyone gather 'round the camera!


WIFE: Crop out my thigh!

HUSBAND: Chill. Our son's eyes are closed again. ... Boy, you're not -- uh, warming up the big guns down below are you?

SON: Heh, heh. Heheheheheheh.

HUSBAND: Hurry, everyone. One more time!

DAUGHTER: This is BORRRR-rrrring. All we do is look at rocks and trees. I miss the Internet.

HUSBAND: Almost done. C'mon, everybody. It's vacation! Pretend we're having fun.

DAUGHTER: I can't have fun without my iPhone.

HUSBAND: Timer's going. Everyone do SOMETHING!


SON: Heh, heh. Heheheheheheh. That's. My. Butt. Heh, heh. Heheheheheheh.


DAUGHTER (crying): I miss ... I miss 3G service!

HUSBAND: I'm done. Next photo goes on the Christmas card this year no matter how bad. Now @#$%ing smile, lunatics.

Maybe next year I'll hire a professional.

A professional painter. 



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