Birthday Dress Photography

The New Travel Normal

This was our first time to fly since before The Virus took over the world. And I realized something that day: flying in masks is the new normal.

“Can’t wait for things to get back to normal” is something we’ve all said more times than we can count, but I think most of us know by now that we’ll never fully return to the world we knew before quarantines and banned mass gatherings. As we sat on the plane in our masks, I thought about how there’s no reason in the world to think traveling with masks is going anywhere anytime soon. Or anytime ever.

Planes have always been little cesspools of sickness, and there’s no reason why they wouldn’t be—hundreds of humans sharing a small space that is used day after day. I can fondly recall many many long-haul flights I’ve shared with people who spent the whole night coughing. Oh and all those kids with snotty noses sneezing on me and my toddler. A study was done back in 2015 that showed the seat-back tray table is the filthiest place on the plane. Honestly I can’t think of any place requiring masks makes more sense.

What’s funny is that Katie and I have been wearing masks on plane rides for the last couple of years, but we were doing it to help with the dry air, not so much the germs1. But there was something different about our flight last week. Last week, we had to wear the masks. From the moment we walked into the first airport until the moment we walked out the second, we had those masks tied to our faces.

As we were on the bus headed out to board our plane, I looked down at Justus and thought, This is his new normal. Whether we stick to masks as we know them now or not, he’s the first generation that will be raised in a world that is hyper aware of the threat of a worldwide pandemic. He and his friends will learn about how we used to travel with hundreds of strangers from all over the world and not wear any protection at all and they will be dumbfounded: ”What did you think was going to happen?!” they’ll say in disbelief.

As I looked down at him while we waited in that bus, I was sad that it has to be like this. But I also realized that even if it doesn’t have to be like this, this way makes a whole lot of sense. The three of us have come down with a sickness more than once after one of our around-the-world jaunts. Pandemic virus or not, this is probably better for all of us. So I’m going to do my best not to complain about it.


  1. This relatively new obsession was originally inspired by this article, which sent me on a hunt of all things humidity-related. I eventually bought myself the Humidlflyer. Katie has stuck with a medical mask.

August 1, 2020

Birthday Dress 2020

Ten years ago, I suggested to Katie we go buy her a dress for her birthday and then take some pictures. We ended up enjoying it so much, we decided it should be a yearly tradition.

Here is Year 10 of Katie’s Birthday Dress. I love this woman so, so much.

This year’s pictures took a lot of effort. I had been very busy at work, and my wife was very taking care of our son and trying to get us ready for our little trip away. On the day we planned the photo shoot (and child care), we got rained out. I got out my speed light and modifier and took some photos in our home. There’s so much I don’t know about artificial light that I got maybe two I was happy with, but neither one really matched the tone of previous years.

We decided to try and shot what we could while we were on our little vacation, but that ended up being on a walk through a new city with a cranky three-year-old who didn’t want to obey. We were hot, sweaty, and frazzled, but we made it work.

It wasn’t quite the big ten-year blast I was anticipating, but it was special nonetheless.

All photos taken with a Fujifilm X-E3 and Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.

July 29, 2020 Photography Birthday Dress

Ten Years of Birthday Dresses

Each year around my wife’s birthday, we buy her a new dress and then go out and do a photo shoot. Tomorrow we celebrate ten years of this tradition. Here’s a look at the last nine.

My wife commented that it was interesting to see how my skills as a photographer have improved over the years as well. Not as much as I’d prefer, of course, but there’s something there. Some days I think I’m regressing in my skills because I look back at pictures I took a couple years back and think they are so much better than the one’s I’m taking now. But no matter how many years forward I move, the pictures from two years ago are always better. I suppose it’s the all-important ingredient of separation from the moment (and the technical disappointments that come with).

It’s fun to think that one day, Lord willing, we’ll have dozens and dozens of these annual portraits of my wife to look back on.

See this year’s dress here.

July 28, 2020 Photography Birthday Dress

Heating Up

The side of our apartment building getting a new layer of insulation.

Fujifilm X70

July 22, 2020

Haircut

This three-year-old is an expert at getting his haircut. He likes the lady that cuts his hair, and really looks forward to going, but you’d never know it while he’s sitting in that chair. He’s dead serious and won’t interact at all.

Fujifilm X-E3 with Fujinon 35mm f/2

July 18, 2020