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"One of the Last Moments of My Father Caught on Film"

Whenever snow is in the forecast, there is something exciting that happens to my family's demeanor. Dad especially loved the snow. Even though it meant slippery conditions or getting to work late, he still found a way to see the snow as something beautiful, something child-like, and quite exciting.

Last December 2002 we were blessed to have a white Christmas. I was home on break and, as usual, dad was the first to be outside shoveling the driveway. Once I heard the scraping sound of a shovel against the pavement, I knew exactly where my father was. He was in the driveway, clearing his way through the snow.

For some reason I decided to bring my camera outside and take a few photos of my father with Kole (our family dog). As dad would shovel, Kole would encircle him as he would remove the heavy, white snow, one row at a time. As I took several images, I had a strange feeling within me, something I will never forget. I remember asking myself, "Would this be the last time I would ever take another photo of my father?" Ironically, the image you see above is one of last photos I took of him.

I love taking photos because it gives me the opportunity to capture a moment in time. It allows others to see what I see or look through my eyes and see what stirs my heart.

It's not easy taking photos these days. My heart seems more saddened than ever and, trying to find the beauty in my surroundings is more of a struggle.

There is, however, so much to be appreciated in life and, I believe, even in my pain, I can still find glimpses of hope and joy both in my circumstances and in my surroundings. I will say that this is not an easy thing. My "lens" is very blurry these days but, in time, I know my vision will be restored with greater clarity, and my heart will be stirred as was my father's for the simple things in life - even things such as snow.

This photo above means so much to me because I his smile captures his zeal for life. I want to smile like this again. In time, may my smile bring the same joy my father brought to us.

- Justin