zoom – (souvenirs from nantucket 2012)


Life is so fluid that one can only hope to capture the living moment, to capture it alive and fresh .. without destroying that moment.

~ Anais Nin


I stand on the beach, far below my girls. My camera is trained on them as they make their way across the ridge overhead. Like a patient hunter, I stalk them, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

This is what I do. I document. I look through the lens and I choose what to remember – what to take with me when we leave.

I play with the zoom, my 55 x 200 lens making anything possible from where I stand.

Close … closer … now so close that I can see none of our surroundings, just my girls. Their bodies, their hands, their feet planted in the sand.


I hold the zoom now and move the camera.

Just their faces. One at a time.

Close … closer … closer still.

Their ever-changing expressions take turns filling the frame.

I zoom out completely.


I start again.

Farther … farther … so far now that they are almost afterthoughts – small specks in the glory of nature’s pageantry.

I take it all in from this angle – the gradations of the sand – the Pepper Black, the Cinnamon Brown, the Dirt-ish Grey, the Peanut Butter Beige. Katie’s named them all.

I edge in ever so slightly.

Now I see the landscape – the reeds swaying in the wind, the wildflowers urgently shouting their colors to the wind – Fuchsia! Magenta! – through the seagrass and the sand – all the colors of the sand – but so too I have caught the interplay between the girls.

That’s it.

I snap.

And snap.

And snap.

This is what I do. I play with the light, the angle, the scene within the frame. I choose what to focus on. What to hold. What to share. What to leave behind.

I capture a moment of our lives within each frame.

And when I do, what I leave out is no less important than what I don’t.

As I show you the following pictures from our trip to Nantucket, I need you to know.

I need you to know that our lives are joyful and sweet and triumphant. That they are tender moments and loving sisters and glorious joint attention and so-intense-it-almost-hurts engagement and that they are moments of freedom and flight.

They are.

But I need to say out loud that there is more. That there is always more. That there is also what’s left outside the scope of the lens. Beyond the constraints of the edit. There’s more.

Because our lives are not two-dimensional. They can’t really be captured. And because they are real. And real is full and complicated and never, ever two-dimensional. And real means that there’s stuff that you won’t see. That you can’t see. It means that there’s stuff that a mother’s heart would never let her capture on film. That there’s stuff that happens long after the camera is put away – or when it’s dropped like a hot potato in a moment of pain or urgent need.

So please just know, there’s more.

But the *more* doesn’t make the *this* any less real.

And *this* is what I chose to take with me from Nantucket.

29 thoughts on “zoom – (souvenirs from nantucket 2012)

  1. LOVE! And i especially love the pic of you and luau! beautiful! I hope many of those are getting printed and framed! Thank you again, for giving us a window into your world!

  2. There’s alot of love in those pictures. The kind love that helps to keep you strong and going when the *more* feels like too much. Thank you for sharing. Gorgeous family and gorgeous pictures ~ just gorgeous!!

  3. It’s important to realize that all of us have much more influence, than we usually think we do, over what we choose to remember. The memories we choose to keep with us have a huge impact on our own happiness & contentment, and on the quality of our relationships with others. I’d say these are excellent choices to take from Nantucket!

  4. Can I have a fav among favs? Katie kissing Brooke. There’s a whole world in that gesture, and in their expressions. Of course I cried, but I suspect I’ve got some company. : )


  5. Just beautiful! And this is why I love you…choosing these breathtaking moments as souvenirs. Each one makes the “more” fade into the distance for a moment. A few tears of joy and hope were shed here as well.

  6. So not only are you a talented writer and advocate, but you are also a talented photographer. The pictures are gorgeous, as is your family. On a side note, your girls are always dressed so cute, you can come to MN and style my daughter anytime.

  7. You are such a beautiful family. We spent a week on the Cape and although there were some tough moments, there were many joyeous, beautiful, fun, free moments that I captured in my heart. The tough moments do not take away from the special ones. As you said, life is not two dimensional.

  8. For almost 5 years now I have ‘followed’ your story, never leaving a comment … until now. Not because I didn’t want to. Oh, how I have wanted to. But something about this post, today, and where I am in my journey, compels me to finally say …

    It was through ‘A Diary of a Mom’ that I realized I was not alone. You have a phenomenal way with words. A way that connects. A way that comforts. You have a gentle strength that inspires. Quite simply. Thank you.

  9. The pictures are lovely. I know exactly what you mean in this post. I too choose what to capture, what to keep that can be pulled back with a click of the mouse, what to share, and when to drop the camera and be in the moment, when I am urgently needed, and when I am just needed. xo

    There’s a photo in there that makes me tear up every time I see it. You know the one.

  10. Oh Jess! Thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures with all of us. So many people have said something similar but through your blog I feel like I am not alone. It is so ~ what is the word I am looking for ~ encouraging – to know that others have walked and are walking a similar road. My son is turning 18 in just under 2 months and while the journey has been hard and there have been many obstacles – he has blessed my life in ways that are really difficult to express. I could never properly communicate how much I love him and how special he is to me. Anyway, thank you. I think you must be my long lost sister šŸ™‚

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