Last Summer, my family and I traveled (I mostly ate) through France and Germany for five weeks. My husband planned a fantastic castle themed trip to share his love of medieval history and lore with our two boys to learn about European history through the guise of looking at old armor, castles and weapons.
Our days were occupied with visiting and exploring more than 26 castles throughout Brittany and the Loire Valley in France then the Rhine Valley and the Mosel Valley in Germany. The kids loved exploring all the dungeons, ramparts, secret passages, towers and dried up moats while I photographed my two princes taking inventory of everything in their adopted kingdom which spanned from the Emerald Coast of Bretagna to the lush green mountains & valleys of Bavaria.
It was so much fun to watch them don their capes, swords, shields and quiver with bow and arrows each morning as we prepared for the day’s excursion. They told me that they needed all of their “gear” and I was more than happy to indulge their play. Who wouldn’t want to be a knight in a real castle? For my part, the boys dubbed me the “Queen” and often called me “Principessa” which I added to my long list of distinguished titles along with, “Bat Girl,” “Cat Woman,” “Poison Ivy,” and “Padme.” It was an honor to held in such high regard.
Throughout our campaign which began in Brittany we battled dragons and dark knights from castle to castle. We discovered long lost celtic ruins devoted to a mighty goddess, scaled steep mountains to reach our castle with the most amazing views of the ocean. We boarded boats to forge up many rivers to reach our most gilded fortresses in the heart of Bavaria, always on alert for a surprise attack as we looked for the sword in the stone. (Which we found!)
Each evening after my little Templar Knights were fed and bathed and all their gear was accounted for and safely stowed away, we would talk about their favorite part of the day. As I listened to them recount their battles, found objects (mostly rocks), favorite gastronomic discoveries and adventures all I could think of were the images that I captured of them living their dreams and couldn’t wait to see share them with the world.
Finally, last night I could not sleep because this image of Finnegan has been haunting me ever since I created it last June and it was time to give it life. This moment happened in the morning right after his bath when he was warm, full from breakfast and happy. The light from the window softly wrapped around his contented smile and his big eyes draw me into his heart. The instant he smiled at me I felt a huge wash of love flow through me and I knew that moment would be the best part of that day. I look forward with great anticipation when this portrait is on display in my home because each glance at it will be the best part of my day, everyday.
Nancy Treder, Seattle childrens photographer