Dad Takes Epic Photos Of Son To Foster His Sense Of Adventure

Adorable and totally awesome!

Ohio photographer Aaron Sheldon has always enjoyed documenting everyday life with his 4-year-old son Harrison. For his latest father-son project, Sheldon added a fun fantasy element.

“Small Steps Are Giant Leaps” is a series of photos of Harrison dressed as an astronaut in ordinary situations in order to illustrate the sense of wonder kids feel as real life explorers discovering everyday adventures.

Sheldon told The Huffington Post he first got the idea for the project while riding the bus with Harrison through downtown Columbus.

"Small Steps Are Giant Leaps" shows how full of adventure the world can seem to small children.
"Small Steps Are Giant Leaps" shows how full of adventure the world can seem to small children.

“What was a normal, everyday event to me had him completely transfixed,” he said. “Seeing that look of amazement on his face at something so commonplace really struck me. I realized that my son is an explorer, and the world I take for granted, to him, is an amazing place filled with new sights and experiences.”

Sheldon wanted to figure out a way to document his son’s exploration of the world. He later that same week when Harrison went to the doctor’s office with an ear infection.

“Unlike most 3-year-olds, my son loves the doctor’s office ― every part that is, except for the exam table,” the dad explained. “My son had two fears: hand dryers and exam tables, and I was continually trying to find ways to help him face and overcome those two fears.”

As they waited for the doctor, Sheldon asked Harrison to sit on the exam table, and the little boy unsurprisingly said no. The dad then asked his son what sorts of people he thought were brave enough to sit on an exam table. After listing the usual cast of characters traditionally associated with bravery, like firefighters, Harrison had another idea.

A trip to the doctor's office helped Sheldon form his idea for the photo series.
A trip to the doctor's office helped Sheldon form his idea for the photo series.

“He said ‘What about astronauts, Dad. Are they brave enough?’” Sheldon recalled. “I said ‘Sure they are. After all, they sit on top of rockets and get blasted into space and, before they do that, they have to go to the doctor’s office A LOT!’”

Together, they pretended that Harrison was an astronaut, which helped him face his fears that day. When the exam was over, Sheldon told his son that he was proud of him for being so brave. “He then said to me ‘Next time I get sick, I can wear my astronaut helmet here and you can take a picture of me, right dad?’” the photographer recalled.

That’s when Sheldon’s vision for “Small Steps Are Giant Leaps” fully formed.

Initially the project consisted of the photographer and his son going to local stores, restaurants, libraries and other similar locations. Sheldon would snap a couple of photos of Harrison wearing an astronaut suit, and they’d carry on with their days. As the project progressed, they did some slightly longer photo shoots at exciting locations like the Capitol Building, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Kennedy Space Center.

Harrison's astronaut adventures have taken him to many exciting places. 
Harrison's astronaut adventures have taken him to many exciting places. 

When Harrison’s mom isn’t working, she likes to join the duo and help her son get suited up, adjust his helmet and provide Pez candy as fuel in between shots.

For Sheldon, the message behind the project is simple. “’Small Steps Are Giant Leaps’ is about reminding parents that everywhere you go, there is a new and exciting world just waiting to be explored,” he told HuffPost. “Our job as parents is to help our children as they explore and make discoveries.”

“I hope that our project will help be a reminder to busy parents to take a moment and help their little explorer make a new discovery or explore a little bit more of their world every single day,” he added.

The dad hopes to turn “Small Steps Are Giant Leaps” into a children’s book. He is currently seeking out publishers and also launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds. Sheldon hopes to parlay the project into an opportunity to promote science education in central Ohio as well.

Sheldon is working to turn his project into a book.
Sheldon is working to turn his project into a book.

As for Harrison the little astronaut, Sheldon said he loves the photos.

“Anytime I’m sitting at my laptop he’ll climb onto my lap and ask to look at our astronaut pictures,” he said. “When we started getting feedback from other parents after we launched our Kickstarter, I shared that with him too so that he knew the impact that he and I were having on other people.”

“Right now he is very excited without we are putting the book together, and he is helping me select which of the images will be going into it,” he added.

Keep scrolling to see Sheldon’s amazing photos of Harrison, the adventurous astronaut.

Resupply Run
Do Astronauts Get Haircuts In Space
Teamwork
High G Training Commence In 3 2 1
Do Astronauts Go To The Movies In Space
Making Friends In New And Exciting Places
Barbershop
Cocoa Beach
Cupola
BalletMet Columbus
Dance Class
Dont Try This At Home
Exploring Distant Worlds
Forever Remembered
Gangway
His Next Ride
Even Astronauts Do Laundry
Hanging Out In The ISS
Hitting The Books
Homesick
How Do Astronauts Eat Spaghetti
In The Stacks
Liftoff
One Heck Of A View
One Small Step, One Giant Splash
Preparing For Landing
Reach For The Stars
Ready For Liftoff
Researching Rocket Fuel
Splashdown
Study Hall
The Right Stuff To Fuel Dreams
Trip To Congress To Get More Funding
Visit With Other Heroes
Bus Ride
Pre-flight Checkup
Stars And Bars
Comics That Sum Up Being A Dad