NYC

The 8 y.o. has dreamt of New York City for quite some time.

I'm not sure what it is... her mom and I talking about the concrete jungle with buildings that dwarf those in Philly, the only other big city she's ever seen? Pictures in a book? She wrote a story once about a queen who lived in NYC.

Anyway, the time had come. We laid plans, meaning we put a date on the calendar, determined that we'd take the Staten Island Ferry, and beyond that, would meander around Gotham wherever the wind took us. Just the two of us.

The boat was a big hit.

Hopped off the ferry at lunchtime. Where to eat? We were determined to avoid fast food or familiar eating establishments. She saw a menu outside an outdoor cafe, and our search was over. "I want to eat here. I want to eat these." She pointed to raw oysters on the half shell, which she'd never had. She's been trying to be more adventurous with food.

Not her favorite thing, but she got through two of them. The mussels, on the other hand, she tackled like a champ.

A few blocks away was the 9/11 memorial. I tried to explain what had happened here, the Day the Buildings Came Down. One day we'll look at pictures, watch the news footage together.

But by far, the biggest hit of the day was Central Park. Who knew? Climbing on the rocks? Yes, please.

Then off to Bethesda Fountain, one of my favorite spots. Great people watching and big bubbles.

We hoofed it back to Times Square, a place I'm happy to avoid but every kid should see it at least once, and grabbed a New York slice at Michael Scott's favorite pizza joint just because it was close.

Then, back underground to start the journey home. She took to the subway nicely.

My film was too slow to shoot the Brooklyn Bridge at 10pm (you'd think it would be better lit) but no worries. By that time we were beat. At least one of us got to sleep on the 2 hour drive home.

Nikon F100, Nikkor 35/1.4G, Kodak Tri-X 400.

Morris Arboretum Family Portraits

There is simply no way to look at a baby and be able to discern what she'll look like in a year, or two, or three. But I've often noticed (and you have, too, I'll wager) that when you look back at newborn photos several years later, you can see how a particular baby grew up into the child who now runs around with gusto, a sense of humor, a zest for life.

Maeve is one of those kids. I've been privileged to photograph her family several times over the past few years, starting with her parents' wedding, then as they were a family of three with her older brother Liam. Soon thereafter, their family grew again, and I captured Maeve's first year. You can see the resemblance now, as she's a few years old at this point and still has that same killer smile.

We shot these images a few weeks ago at Morris Arboretum, one of many jewels in the area around Philadelphia. Greenery, flowers, morning light. It was a good day.

Montco, PA Family Photos | The Groder Family

Some favorites from a recent family shoot at Green Lane Park in Perkiomenville a couple of months ago. This beautiful family's relaxed style worked perfectly with the surroundings as we meandered around chasing light, seeking shade. Their daughter was all smiles, which of course plays well for the camera. I usually shoot more b/w during family sessions, but for some reason this time most of my favorite images were in color, as evidenced below.

Media Newborn Photographer | Chelsea, Brandon & Baby "E"

When I photograph newborns, I typically do the shoots in my clients' homes. It adds a sense of place to the images, makes each shoot unique, and in a few decades when they look back on these pictures, the kids have a window into life in 2015.

Lately I've done a few newborn sessions in homes that were in the middle of being remodeled. Challenging? Sure. Impossible? No way. When Chelsea and Brandon brought their daughter home, their house may not have been complete but their family sure felt full.

Analog Vacation

When I was growing up, vacations typically meant loading all the kids (I really can't remember how many there were at the time — there were fewer than there are now, but it was still a lot) into our 1982 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon, kids all piled in what we called the "back back" (courting danger, scoffing at seat belts), tents and laundry and groceries jammed into the luggage carrier cinched onto the top with mismatching nylon straps. Sometimes we vacationed with another family, and if we were lucky, our parents would mount CB radios on the two station wagons (theirs almost a direct match to ours) so we'd be able to communicate when it was time to stop for a meal, or for a bathroom break, or to air out because the family dog threw up in the car.

I remember the gas cap being left on the roof of the car one time as we drove away. (Whoops.) I remember the amusement park we'd driven an hour or more to get to being closed upon arrival. Before you start cracking National Lampoon's Vacation jokes, you should know that the actual, real-life name of the theme park was, if memory serves, Wally Land. I remember the lake at the park we went to one year being closed, because it was the end of summer and all the lifeguards had gone back to college.

Come to think of it, I think everything I just mentioned happened in just a single trip.

These are some of my most priceless memories from childhood. Sure, I remember the perfect days too, but the imperfect moments have burned themselves on my brain in such a way they're the ones I value the most, the ones that always start with "Remember when..." and end in laughter.

We just returned from a week's vacation on a small lake in Northeastern PA. We have fun, you can see. Yes, that's a trebuchet. Yes, those are Storm Trooper costumes. Yes, Aunt Mindy oversaw kids' art project time. Hopefully these are the moments my kids will cherish in 30 years.

For those who care: Shot on film to imperfectly capture moments as they should be. Nikon F100, 35/1.4, Tri-X pushed to 1600 and Fuji Neopan Acros, processed in the dark recesses of my basement.

Left: Video games a morning ritual. Right: Removing a splinter.