10 signs you’re a parentographer

So you’re a mom or a dad and you take tons of photos of your kids. You’re a parent. You’re a photographer. Yes, you’re a parentographer. Here are 10 signs that will help you realize this is a job combo you’ve unknowingly been doing ever since your first child was born.

Parentographers occasionally capture images worth keeping

Parentographers occasionally capture images worth keeping

Let’s get to it, shall we?

  1. You carry a camera with you everywhere you go. And I’m not just talking about the one that comes with your phone. You actually haul an old-fashioned point-&-shoot or a badass dSLR every time you have to run errands with junior strapped to the car seat.
  2. Your Facebook friends (or the strangers from high school you thought were your friends 20 years ago) puke whenever you post yet another shot of your little ones at the pool, while potty training, on back-to-school day, etc.
  3. The only photo of your kids missing from your Instagram feed is the one of them covered in their own poop the day you completely forgot to change their diapers. Wait. Nope. It’s there too.

    You seriously think this has a place in Instagram?

    You seriously think this has a place in Instagram?

  4. Your kids flee whenever they hear you say “wait, this light’s perfect; let me get my camera”.
  5.  Everyone in the universe has access to all of your kids’ photos (because you’re that careless on the internet) except your parents who are still trying to figure out how to see the photos you sent as email attachments back in 2001.
  6. It’s always your spouse with the kids in all those photos, and never you; meaning no one else can be trusted with the sacred assignment of documenting your children’s goofy faces.
  7. You go as far as photographing your kids while they’re having stitches taken at the ER.
  8. You wonder what people that have no children take photos of.
  9. You wonder why people that don’t own a camera or a smartphone have children.
  10. And last but not least; you start a blog about your passion for photography, specially about your passion for photographing your kids. Yup. Guilty as charged.

There you have it folks; if you see any of these signs in your photo-taking habits it probably means you’re a parentographer. Welcome to the club. You’ve nothing to be ashamed of.

Why Dad’s Pixels? The story of my blog’s title

I love Dad’s Pixels. And by that I mean, the name I’ve chosen for this blog. For a year or so after I decided to test the waters in the exciting world of dad-blogging I had the hardest time choosing and then sticking with a name for my blog.

First there was Dad In The Cloud, which was supposed to be about my experience as a dad and my addiction to the internet. That didn’t last long. The name really never said much to me (or to anyone else, I guess) and thus I decided to switch it to Dad In Prayer, with a new focus on Catholicism and how it has influenced the way Wifey and I have raised our children. Looking back now I wonder why I never gave that title a fighting chance. Instead what I did was shut down the blog and call it quits. Which brings us to today and Dad’s Pixels.

So, why Dad’s Pixels?

dianaAfter weeks of heavy-duty meditating I realized that besides my wife and kids, there was another thing I was passionate about: Photography. So I thought I’d blog about my experience as a dad as seen through the lens of a camera, and the photo-sharing opportunities today’s internet has got to offer. Having a clear picture in my head about what this new blogging endeavor was going to be about, I set out to look for the perfect name and soon enough I  came across PetaPixel.com, the fine photography website loved, read and followed by so many in the industry. The word pixel and its relation to digital photography stuck in my head and before I knew it the name was there, sitting in front of me: Dad’s Pixels. My pixels. The millions and millions of pixels that put together reveal a lifetime of parenting and family life in all those photos I’ve taken ever since I bought my first digital camera. After learning that the Twitter handle was available I bought the domain and here we are; blogging about family, photography and the web; a tagline that was really easy to come up with after the whole concept of Dad’s Pixels had emerged.

So, no you guys over at Blogging 101; I’m not about to change the title or tagline of this blog. My writing may not be the finest there is and my photos may actually stink a little bit, but one thing I plan to keep with me for years to come is Dad’s Pixels and its orbiting social media accounts.

What am I doing here?

That’s a pretty good question and a difficult one to answer.

After things didn’t go exactly the way I had planned with a blogging experiment I tried to conduct over the last few months (in a nutshell, I tried moving this blog to Squarespace in the hopes of being able to monetize it) here I am again, kind of starting things all over again; thus my taking part in Blogging 101 to see if I can remedy whatever it is I’ve been doing wrong all along.

Who am I and what am I doing here?

In order not to get too philosophical here, allow me to just say that I’m a 46-year old catholic dad of four, passionately addicted to my family, photography and the internet. These are the things I write about here most often, with the occasional off-topic post about sports and what have you.

Now, why I’ve chosen to blog about these things is a whole other story. Originally my intention was to simply connect with other blogging dads (and moms, too) and take part in the online discussion regarding parenting, tech and photography. But then out of nowhere came this urge that I should be making some money from my blogging efforts with the not-so-encouraging results blogs with near-zero readers usually get. So here I am again. Like I said before, trying to start all over again, with the pure intention of writing about the things I’m passionate about, hoping to inspire and be inspired by the acquaintances I make along the way.

So there you have it, folks. For those of you that have followed this blog for some time, please know that for the next four weeks I’ll be taking part in WordPress.com’s Blogging 101 course, which will involve the occasional blog post about prompts and ideas suggested by the team in charge. The challenge started today and you might still have a chance in case you want to enroll.

OMG! I’ve raised a bunch of entitled little brats!

Not really. The Fantastic Four are well-behaved, polite and mild-mannered, generally speaking but today I got home from work to some sort of Armageddon with Wifey on one side against the two boys on the other. The girls acted as simple spectators.

The kids want some of this. We can’t afford any of that.

It all came down to a now several-month-old craving for a PlayStation (3 or 4?) which due to our family’s finances has not been able to materialize yet. The yelling and finger-pointing escalated to the point where I had to intervene and make sure the boys understood, in no unclear terms, how things work in our family. Yes, I played the “We’re putting a roof over your heads, we’re clothing and feeding you; other kids out there aren’t that lucky” card but only because I knew darn well they were comparing themselves with their smartphone-toting, foreign-vacations-enjoying, semi-rich friends and I assumed it would be healthy for them to know there was another end of that spectrum; one where no one ever hopes to find themselves in; a spectrum we probably fit right smack in the middle of.

In any case, I guess the old saying “all’s well that ends well” applies here, since following our conversation tempers cooled off and we actually had a very pleasant dinner together, exchanging jokes and anecdotes from everyone’s day.

Have you ever felt you’ve done it all wrong and raised nothing but spoiled brats? How have you handled similar situations at home? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Something great just happened… You just weren’t paying attention

Inspired by Carter Gaddis and something he wrote on his blog DadScribe, about people needing to hear something good every once in a while, I thought I’d contribute with a minor occurrence that recently took place in my neighborhood that made me realize not all is lost and we can still have faith in mankind.

First of all, a little bit of background. Venezuela, in case you didn’t know, is a pretty lawless place. You’re expected to routinely run traffic lights. At parties people blast music as loud as their stereo systems will let them with complete disregard for how late at night it might be or how early their neighbors might have to get up the following morning. If you don’t cut in line while trying to buy milk (yes, that’s something we do in Venezuela. We stand in line for hours when we need to buy milk) you’re thought of as a dumb asshole instead of a law-abiding citizen. 

In any case, try to keep this in mind when you hear what I saw take place the other day from my bedroom window.  You’re not gonna believe this – at least not if you’re a Venezuelan or have lived in the country for a number of years: This dude was walking his 2 dogs and guess what he was holding in one hand?! That’s right: a dog poop bag. Unbelievable! To give you an idea or try to put things in perspective you should take a walk on a public sidewalk or park and go through the experience of stepping around a minefield of dog turd left behind by their irresponsible owners. That’s how bad things are down here and that’s what made this individual’s act stand out and shine like a beacon in a sea of… well, yes. In a sea of crap.   

Our dog-walking, poop-collecting hero

It just goes to show that if you look hard enough you’ll be able to come across daily acts of kindness and decency that will make you realize it’s not all about Iraq, Ferguson or Venezuela. There’s good stuff happening all around us. Sometimes we just don’t notice.   

As added bonus here’s this gorgeous feel-good short film that’ll help you put things in perspective and perhaps see that not everything surrounding your life is as terrible as you once thought it was. Be advised: You’ll want to watch it with plenty of tissues or a large handkerchief by your side. Tears-a-plenty guaranteed. 

Afterlight finally available on Google Play

Following the pattern of so many apps that first come out on Apple’s App Store and then make their way to Google Play, Afterlight, yet another mobile photo editing tool, is finally available for Android fans at your friendly neighborhood Google Play store. 

Simplicity is the name of the game here, although the app does come packed with an impressive amount of tools, filters, and textures. There are 15 tools to adjust your images and as far as filters go, Afterlight has 59 of them, with some borrowed from other platforms and of course, the possibility of adding more though in-app purchases. Also, there are 66 textures to keep things different. As usual, once you’ve edited an image, you’ll be able to share it with other apps – Instagram, for instance; which Afterlight’s been seemingly built around. The app is $0.99 and the amount of features really justifies its small price. You can grab it here and please make sure you come back and leave a comment letting me know what you think once you’ve played with it for a while. 

August, a photo sharing website where you probably don’t belong

Yesterday I stumbled upon this post at Petapixel.com where they discussed the arrival of yet another player in the ultra saturated game of online photo sharing.

But these guys are different. First of all they’ve named their app after a month. August. How  cool is that, huh? (Yeah, I know; not very). Then, you’ll  only have access to the app once you’ve demonstrated you’re the real deal when it comes to the quality of your portfolio. I guess they’re trying really hard to keep your crappy photos elsewhere (read Instagram, Flickr and the likes).

Right, like this is the type of photo I’d be posting to August on a regular basis

So say they don’t let you in as a photographer. Don’t fret. You might still be considered worthy enough to join their artists’ community as a consumer. It’s not quite clear to me what a consumer’s supposed to do in August other than curate and perhaps help expose great work you find there through your different social media channels.  I’ve submitted my email to get in as a consumer/curator and once they let me in (or not) I’ll make sure I let you know what it’s like.

So will you try to join this rather snobbish photo sharing site? Is your photography that great? If you’d like to give it a try, here‘s where you can apply and hope the powers that be at August deem you worth letting in their precious little community. For the rest of you, fine photographers, there’ll always be SmugMug. Oh and remember you can follow Dad’s Pixels and get semi-daily updates about family, photography and the web.