Paris and Beyond

Our Personal Tour de France & Other Exciting Adventures!

Through the Lens

It was my dad who first introduced me to photography. During WWII, he served in the Air Force on a B-17. After one fateful mission which involved a battle with a German airplane, he ended up as a POW in Sweden for nine months. Even though the Swedes were “neutral”, they treated the American servicemen rather well. So he was given a bike and allowed to ride all over the country. It was then that he purchased his first 35mm camera and became quite adept at using it. From there his love of photography grew and it became one of his few hobbies. I clearly remember the years when I was very young and he would convert the master bath into a dark room from time to time. I had to be reminded to stay out, but I remained close by and I was his most popular photographic subject. In 1965, my parents and I lived in Albany, Oregon about an hour from our current home. For my 10th birthday, my dad proudly gave me my first camera. It might have been a Brownie, but I’m not really sure. This was the first picture I took with that camera. We were at Trout Lake — Dad no doubt indulging in his other hobby, fishing, and Mom going along reluctantly for the ride. 

Over the years, I owned a huge variety of point and shoot film cameras and have the photo albums to prove it. I had grown up accustomed to every important moment being photographically chronicled and so I continued life as an adult in the same manner. For all this, I learned very little about photography itself. There was almost always a 35mm camera available, but someone else was in charge of using it. Somehow it wasn’t considered my (or perhaps a woman’s) territory. 

While participating in my school district’s 21st century technology grant in 1998, I acquired my first digital camera. Thus began a huge surge in the use of technology both at work and at home including some steep and swift learning curves. Around 2003, during Norman’s tenure as a professor in the Fine Arts Department at College of the Desert, he developed and taught the first digital photography class there. By this time, we had purchased one of the original digital SLR cameras and it was finally time for me to step up my photographic knowledge and skill set. So I enthusiastically participated as one of his students. Norman is a fantastic instructor and even quite patient with his wife for whom this topic does not come as easily to her as others. We became a bit of a team and eventually established a small business, Pérez Productions, wherein I built websites and Norman edited the photos we took for them. In those days, this was new territory so it was rather a big deal. We really enjoyed it but, in the end, realized the demands of the photography business were not for us. 

Some of our favorite subjects back then were in and around the Coachella Valley…

Palm Springs Indian Canyons
Castle Rock ~ Joshua Tree National Park
Cholla (aka Teddy Bear) Cactus ~ Joshua Tree

And the Getty Center Museum in Los Angeles…


In 2005, we moved to the heart of the Silicon Valley where we lived for the next 12 years. It was an ideal location for capturing all manner of interesting landscapes. We spent a lot of time pursuing photography together providing some of our fondest memories. Two of our favorite spots for repeat visits were Lake Tahoe…

And Yosemite which we managed to shoot in all four of its glorious seasons…

El Capitán
Upper Yosemite Falls

The digital photography world has changed and evolved immensely in the past 20 years. We have gone through various camera kits and a myriad of accessories. In the transition to this “completely retired” stage of our lives during the past five years, we have been busy with many things which have taken time away from photography. We have mainly depended on our phone cameras to record our adventures and these days they do such an amazing job that it makes you a lazy photographer. However, there’s nothing like using the proper equipment and being totally in control of the outcome. So, now that we’re slowly coming through the pandemic to a point where we’ve been vaccinated and can at least travel by car, we are planning some road trips with photography in mind. One thing that has changed over time as much as the camera is our eyesight… especially for me. Setting up a shot using the viewfinder is a challenge when wearing progressive lens eyeglasses even with a large, live view display on the camera. There are a few ways to accommodate for this, but we are most excited about the latest addition to our kit — a CamRanger2 attachment which creates a wifi connection between the camera and an iPad. Finally I can actually see what I getting by shooting and viewing images directly from my iPad screen. We’re looking forward to putting it into practice out in the field this coming week. 


Norman on a stormy Lake Tahoe
Cheryl at Joshua Tree
Norman in Yosemite
Cheryl in Yosemite

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4 thoughts on “Through the Lens

  1. Debbie Arias on said:

    Thank you for sharing Uncle Norman. I will be sharing with others. Hope all is fine. We’re doing well on this neck of the woods.

    Love you.

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  2. Robin Stanback on said:

    Beautiful photos and a grand story to go with them. Happy shooting!

  3. mtureen on said:

    Such an interesting post! Loved hearing about your father. Not surprised to hear that you have become such an avid and accomplished photographer as you have always had an artistic eye. What a wonderful pursuit to share with each other.

    • Cheryl & Norman on said:

      Thanks, Martha! I do often think about my dad when we are out shooting. Wish I had gotten into it earlier and been able to share more of it with him.

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