As of this evening, there are 12,758 items catalogued in our iPhoto database. Yikes, that’s a hefty slideshow – and the kids aren’t even teenagers yet. After a short but well-intentioned foray into scrapbooking about 10 years ago I’ve happily resigned myself to being a photographer only and not a “scrapper”. Our generation’s version of our grandmothers’ quilting bees, it’s got a language and culture of its own, and while I did enjoy the girly togetherness, I cracked under the self-induced pressure to make make every moment a “page-worthy” one. It’s taken a while, but I’ve succumbed to the reality that sometimes you need to put away the digital SLR and the videocamera and just be fully present in the moment. All 5 senses on alert. Fist pumping the air and making eye contact instead of waving over the top of the videocamera as your 5-year old celebrates a soccer goal. The sad irony is that sometimes you miss the moment in the attempt to capture it. On November 29, 2010, I watched the sun rise over the unobscured horizon of the Persian Gulf. Every ocean sunrise that I’ve ever experienced has been either on the Canadian west coast, surrounded by mountains, or the west coast of Mexico. On this morning I was facing east. No mountains on the horizon. Just miles and miles of water. Heather and I had set our alarms for 5:45am, then pulled on long pants and hoodies and headed out to the beach. The stars were still visible, the air just barely chilly. We pulled our beach chairs into place as the sky began to lighten, almost imperceptibly. Within seconds, layers of purple, pink and orange formed on top of the now dusky gray remnant of night. As I turned my head toward Heather for just a moment, she exclaimed, “There it is!”. I couldn’t believe how quickly it moved – in seconds, it seemed, the orange sphere was whole. I imagined the dark Alberta prairie sky 11 hours away – it was as if we were playing an earth-sized game of volleyball with the sun, and now it had been lobbed over the international date-line, bringing with it a spectacular backdrop of colour, a blanket of warmth, and the glorious promise of a new day. Thinking of that moment reminds me of some of my favourite Sara Groves lyrics..”No time to grab the camera, no time to write it down, just time enough to breathe it in…and linger”. There was no camera out there that morning. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.