Thanksgiving sunrise at vasquez rocks

I’d be hard pressed to imagine a Thanksgiving Day that delivered a greater contrast in reasons to be thankful than yesterday. One moment I was celebrating the kindness of friends as I watched the sunrise at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area, the next I was listening to the panicked, tear-filled voice of my 15-year-old as he told me my wife had been hit by a car while they were taking a walk together. It was quite a day. 

Thanksgiving Sunrise at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area

The day started as planned. I drove the 15 or so minutes from my house to Vasquez Rocks, arriving well before sunrise to make my way into the park. Early into the photo session, I noticed Joel Cooke in the distance. He is the man who was the focus “a simple act of kindness” last month. It was that chance meeting that day which allowed me to have, for the first time, a RAW file from the Sony a7r II. It solidified for me that this was indeed, “my dream camera.”

It was the camera I was carrying with me yesterday, the camera that a group of friends came together to buy me for my birthday. For that reason, I could not have been more delighted to see Joel and his sons hiking.

sunrise at Vasquez Rocks natural area

When I got home, the first thing I did was process my thank you video. After I had finished and showed it to the family, my wife and my 15-year-old son, who we call “Funny Man,” left the house for to go on a walk together.  I went into my office to begin the process of editing the photos you see above.

About 15 minutes into the process, my phone rang. It was Funny Man. He was hysterical on the other end of the phone. “Dad! Dad! Oh my god, Dad! Mom has been hit by a car and it’s really bad. I really need you here right now.”

As it turned out, he had already called 911 and an ambulance was on its way, but I didn’t know it in the moment. I kept pressing him for details, but he was in shock. “Is she conscious? Is she breathing?” Your brain can’t help but go to the worst possible scenario. It took me until I was in the truck and on the way for him to finally say, “Yes, she is awake, but she is really hurt!” It was at that moment I could hear the sirens and my wife’s voice in the background. I’ve never been more thankful.

Thankful

As we now know, we had much more to be thankful for as the day unfolded. Much more than a camera. In the moment above, strangers were there to help my wife and keep her calm. They all were spectacularly kind. I’m so thankful they were there with her and my son.

And as the news broke around Santa Clarita, our community of friends rallied together in support. I’m thankful for each of them. I’m particularly thankful for the Grantz family, who just happened to not go to Northern California for Thanksgiving. The kids walked across the street to their house and spent Thanksgiving Day with them as everyone waited for the prognosis on her injuries.

It could have been so much worse. In the end, she has two fractures of the right tibia. One is an open fracture that will require surgery this morning at 11 am. She has a big puncture in her right leg just below her knee. It looks like someone took a square cookie cutter and just removed a part of her leg. I could stick my thumb in it. Most of the ligaments in her right knee are completely severed and there is the potential her peroneal nerve is damaged as well. And finally, she has a non-displaced fracture of the right acetabulum. That is a break in the socket portion of the “ball-and-socket” hip joint. And, thankfully, all of that should heal.

We have so much to be thankful for. So many people to be thankful for. And there is a long, long road waiting ahead. Yes, it was quite a day.


If there are multiple photos in this post, EXIF data is for the featured photo only:

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: ILCE-7RM2
  • Taken: 24 November, 2016
  • Exposure bias: -1EV
  • Flash fired: no
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/50s

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