Abby holding my Nikon D750 on our photowalk in front of a wall of bougainvillea.

Leaving a Legacy – Like Parenting, Photography Is an Intentional Journey

Parenting Is Intentional

This past Sunday marked two years since I suddenly lost my father. While I know that I will see him again in Heaven, I miss him, especially when I do things that we both loved doing together. When I was a child, Pop taught me how to run a soundboard at church. He also spent a lot of time with me in the workshop building all manner of projects. I had so much fun learning and building, but, more importantly, I enjoyed spending time with my Pop, learning about life through his lens. 

Now, as a father myself, I am challenged to approach parenting with Pop’s intentionality. Where do we, as parents, begin? How do we invest in our children and develop a relationship that stands the test of teenage years and adulthood? Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start. Through Pop’s example, I learned that we start with intentionally setting aside time to share in our children’s interests and to also invite them to explore our own passions. And this is where photography comes in. 

Abby's Nature Walk

Two days ago, after I had finished work, my seven-year-old daughter, Abby, asked me to go for a nature walk and to teach her how to photograph flowers with a “real camera.” I was pretty tired after a full day of work, but decided to make time for Abby. She had a hard, tear-filled, day at school (nothing like math to make Abby feel discouraged) and needed some time outside exploring and soaking in the joy of creation (see my wife’s last blog post for more on this). So, we packed up a backpack with some snacks and cameras for an early evening nature photo walk. 

You might be wondering what Abby meant by a “real camera.” You see, before the pandemic, we used to have father/daughter waffle breakfast dates at Morning Brew Kakaako followed up by a search for beautiful flowers at Paiko, a local flower shop known for its stunning floral arrangements. To document our adventures, I would bring my Nikon D750, and Abby would bring her little, pink toy camera:

Abby and Daddy with our cameras

This time, Abby wanted to learn how to take photographs just like I do; and, it turns out that photography was the perfect confidence booster after a difficult school day.  We had a quick lesson on how to use my D750 (I now use a Nikon Z7II), and then off we went to explore our neighborhood for flowers. 

The Intentionality of Photography

I was surprised at her patience and willingness to learn about the art of photography. As we were walking and I started explaining to my daughter the basics of photography – composition, lighting, perspective and framing – I thought about how intentional photography really is. You need to dedicate time, resources, flexibility and creativity to capture that perfect moment. And that is just like parenting; you need to be intentional about carving out time to spend with your children, the resources to equip you to teach them, and the creativity and flexibility to use life’s moments to their fullest. 

We spent some time taking photos of the flowers we saw – Abby with her camera and me with mine. I pointed out the different colors and textures of the flowers and explained to her how to take close-up shots of them. As we walked, I could clearly see Abby’s confidence returning. The bounce in her step returned, and you could see and hear the joy welling up in her soul. When we returned home and reviewed our photos together, Abby was so excited and proud to share her work with mom and brothers. (see Abby's pictures below)

Continuing the Legacy

I am so thankful for my Pop, for photography and for their intentionality. Pop made me a priority and taught me so many things that have made me the man, father, husband, and friend that I am today. Now it is my turn to leave a strong legacy for my children – using the intentionality of photography to teach them as my father taught me…side by side, working on a project, learning new things, and appreciating all that the Creator has given to us. 


Here are some of Abby's photos from our walk (with only minor color and cropping edits)

So thankful for a kind neighbor who noticed Abby enjoying his garden and cut some beautiful lavender for us to bring home.

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