The Time Traveler

One of my all time favorite movies is Back to the Future. I’ve probably watched that trilogy 50 times. I’ve been fascinated with time travel most of my life, especially as I get older. I wish I could go back in time and have talks with my younger self, or maybe not..."the encounter could create a time paradox, the result of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe!" - Doc

Admittedly, I've probably driven my kids nuts because, for most of their lives, I’ve had some sort of video or still camera in my hand. Now, even as adults, when they see me, I usually have a camera, and I see the glazed looks materialize.

But I offer no apologies.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all forget things, and sadly will continue to do so. Even the big ones, like graduations and weddings tend to waver in the mind. My friend Regie Hamm pinned the lyrics, ‘we remember it better than it was, that’s what this time that's passing does, it’s like a magic wand'. And he's right, we tend to remember things in different ways. Sometimes to deal with bad experiences, or to embellish something that we wish we would have done better. But there's nothing like being able to look back and see many of those moments captured in time.

While we do have special memories, like the time your little boy was so excited to hunt Easter eggs that he ran in circles down a hill so fast that he spun out, fell down and every egg flew out of his basket. Or moments after your first son was born, crying, already upset at this cold world, and for the first time he hears you say his name, he instantly stops crying, does his best to open his tiny eyes, and sees you for the first time, and you feel an instant transformation that is probably the closest you’ll ever be to the Creator. Those memories are great, but to be able to capture them in real time, that was priceless.

That’s why I carry a camera.

Dementia runs in my family. Currently my grandfather's mind is slipping away, day by day. When you’ve known someone all your life, and they look at you and at times can’t remember your name, or they can’t tell their favorite stories or remember their last meal, sadness be damned. It’s scary as hell.

That’s why I carry a camera.

Over the years I’ve managed to capture thousands of images and untold hours of video. I’ve interviewed my grandparents, (three have already passed), I’ve done a documentary on my grandparents, and now that the little grands have joined the world, I’m lucky enough to capture their moments, and will continue to do so as long as I’m able.

That’s why I carry a camera.

You see, time never stops. It’s one of the laws of nature that cannot be broken. But there is a loophole of sorts. I can’t stop time, but I can capture it, one frame at a time. That’s my time machine. Granted, it’s a one way trip, and I try not to stay too long, just long enough to realize what a beautiful experience this life has been, and to draw strength and encouragement to live out every moment with gratitude moving forward.

That’s why I carry a camera.

You won’t see very many of my personal shots because I don’t plaster my family all over the internet. Some people do, and that’s OK. To each their own. Either way, I do encourage everyone to grab moments. Tuck them away. You, and those who come after you will be glad you did, even if it bugs them now.

Get creative! I have a good friend who saves every photo he takes, and at the end of the year makes a video that shows each frame for 1 second, and it’s incredible. I’ve made the cut before and it’s always fun to watch. There are also some great apps like 1 Second Everyday that do something similar. But you can also keep it simple. Cloud based storage is cheap. Or grab a Smugmug account, it will even upload your phone photos automatically. There are lots of ways to build your time machine.

Here are a few stops I take on my travels.

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