The Tremendous Value of Just a Little

Posted on Jun 7, 2016 in photography

The song in the video was recorded by David Yantis in 1978 with special guest singer 11 year old Mary McKenna.  She was one of 12 children at St Rose that was chosen because of her cherub-like voice and perhaps because of the recent dutch boy Dorothy Hamil Haircut my dad gave her before the audition.

I bought a small record player today and while browsing through a few records I had in my house I came upon this album that Mary had song on. It was called “All God’s Children”.

We played that Record 2000 Times Or More

We played that record over and over and over again memorizing each and every word of every song.  We must have played the record 2,000 times over the years wearing down the grooves and making it as scratchy as you hear it today.

As I played the record, something occurred to me.  What occurred to me was the tremendous value of “just a little”.  Having just a few things, makes those few things you do have special but more importantly can make you happier than having a lot.  The few records we had when we grew up are reminders of that.

Today, music is everywhere and it’s practically free.  Where we might have had 5 records total to listen to as a family, kids today have thousands of songs on their iphones that they carry around with them.  But something is missing.  Because they have so much, they can never have the connection or memories we created by listening to just a few songs.  Nothing is special.  Every song is temporarily important.  If the connection last more than a few days it is considered a hit.  The Beatles would have never survived in this day and age.

My First Album was the Only Album I had for a Year

One of my first purchases after I got my paper route was a record.  It was in the bargain bin at the Warehouse because I didn’t have much money.  The record was Kansas Masque.  I listened to that record over and over and over for a year.  I memorized every song.  That album became special to me and I remember becoming a teenager listening to the songs.  I never bought another Kansas album again but it was such a rarity for me to have my own album.  I felt grown up.    There is so much value to just a little.


We had a few Toys, We Shared

When we grew up we had a few bikes, and cars and toys in the backyard.  We all shared a swing set, we all shared the bikes.  I remember being so bored sometimes that I asked Mary to count dirt with me.  We started to count every piece of dirt in the backyard.

Sure there were some boring times and we had just a little.  But having just a little forced us to enjoy the most important thing we could ever have – each other.

Toys R Us, Amazon and other websites sell gobs of toys to kids today.  Kids have birthday parties and invite all of their friends and everyone brings toys.  Kids receive hundreds of toys a year.  They love those toys but sometimes they cannot appreciate them maybe the way that we did when we grew up.

A few toys make those toys that you do have very special.

Liz and Sarah didn’t have a pool, but they were still happy with what they had.


Photography has Taught Me The Value of Just a Little Too

For the first 3 years of learning photography, I was a gear hog.  I bought every camera. I bought every lens. I bought every accessory, bracket and light setup I could. I thought the equipment would make me better.  I thought that I could get fantastic photos if I could just get the  best lens and the best camera.

I had so many cameras and lenses I could not figure out what to use. I lugged a huge bag around with me when I went out shooting and changed my lens every few minutes to try to get the perfect shot.

It was exhausting.  And it didn’t work. I was spending so much time focusing on my equipment, I stopped focusing on what was most important – relaxing, having fun and looking for a good shot.

More cameras and lenses does not make you better


I got Rid of 75% of My Photography Gear and I was Happier

So 2 years ago, I started to get rid of cameras.  I gave some away.  I sold some.  Piece by piece I started focusing down to just a few lenses and 1 camera body.

I was so much happier.  When I went out I took 1 lens, or maybe 2 and I focused on just having a good time.  My  photography improved greatly and my shots started to look better.

The few lenses and the camera that I did have were very special to me and I was much happier.  Getting rid of the excess baggage was a huge relief for me.

I Bought A Record Player Today

I bought a record player today.  We’re having a baby boy and I wanted him to experience music like I did.  If that is even possible.  I wanted to get a few records for him, I’m trying to find them now.  I’d love to see if he wants to play those records over and over like we used to. Maybe a few thousand times.

Or maybe, as I suspect he may reach up one day, and pull the record player off the table and it comes crashing down.  In any case, I hope that he can experience the connection and appreciate the tremendous value of having “just a little”