Did you see that? What I did? Canon in D is one of my favorite pieces of classical music of all time – I was hypnotized when I first heard it at 14. I taught myself to play it on the piano when I was a kid. And the Canon 60D is my new camera. I’m feeling quite pleased with myself right now, as if this were just the most clever thing in the entire world. Well the fact that I came up with this title while Scarlet was screeching in my ear means that it is the most clever thing in the entire world.
There’s a YouTube video at the end of this blog post. If you start it now, maybe it will make my words and photos much more impactful than they really are! I wish I could walk around the streets blasting Canon in D on a boombox, looking so deep..
Toddler photography is somewhat ridiculous. Every point of life has its challenges, in my experience. Newborns? They sleep too much, and that’s if you’re lucky. (As a parent, not a photographer) Mid-level babies and one-year-olds? Somewhat more smooth sailing until they learn to walk. Then, help us all. All bets are off. And yet, it’s this glorious time of life in which children (mostly) are wild, free and uninhibited. Scarlet is aware of what photography is, but I think it’s probably her norm to have me aiming a camera at her face. It’s the only life she knows. She’s not at the point yet where she looks a bit insecure with the camera pointed at her. She’s not at the point yet where she plants a fake, cheesy grin on her face and juts out one hip provocatively. I hope she’s never at that point but it might be inevitable with a little girl. During some phase or other.
Let me tell you a bit about my creative process. Received new camera. I read the manual twice and will read “Canon 60D For Dummies” next. It’s only been four days with the new camera. Miracles don’t happen overnight! I figure out the sweet spot on the lens. I shoot manually, usually with a vague idea of the sweet spot of the lens and then trial and error. I get the ISO as low as possible. If I can see the light in Scarlet’s (or whoever’s) eyes, that usually means the light is ok. That’s my inexpensive metering system right there. Light in eyes = good lighting. Then I follow my heart and shoot without thinking.
The not thinking during photography is the only part that’s easy. I live my life looking at the world through my camera’s eyes and most of my thoughts are filtered and examined through writing. All that stuff people say about only being a Writer or Photographer if you’re paid for it, and otherwise it’s just an expensive (or annoying) hobby? Kinda crap. I have been and will be paid for both, thank you. And I do it for charity as well. However, I am a Writer because I pull over to the side of the road to get down the words that are racing through my head. Because I sometimes wake up at 3:00 am with excellent blog ideas and I race downstairs to get them started. I am a Photographer because I lie in the dirt aiming my camera up at my daughter and her friend who are against the most exquisite and natural green light background. Because I stand above her and call out ridiculous things so that she’ll finally look up at me, through leaves, with light in her eyes. Beautiful, natural light.
Don’t ever let someone tell you that you aren’t something because you aren’t (yet or ever) being paid for it. You are what you are because it runs through your veins and you can’t imagine life without that special something.
But I do think that lying in the worm-infested dirt or shouting insane things that your whole neighborhood can hear just so your daughter will look up at you…is hardcore. And helps drive the point home that you’re a crazy (wonderful) artist.
And toddlers are really hard to get in focus, steady hands and tripods aside. They like to move and they love to move away from you. Embrace your inner blurriness because eventually they’ll grow up and stand still and you’ll miss your little blurs.
To get these next shots, I threw small tomatoes into the garden so that the girls would follow them and stand tall in the garden, and against the blurry, sun-lit trees background. Then I lay down in the dirt, aimed the camera up at them and called out to them to look at me. It rarely, if ever, worked.
“I have the power!”
To get these next shots, I snorted loudly, waited for Charlotte to laugh and then quickly tried to take a picture without hand shake. She tried to snort back too. It rarely, if ever, worked.
Maybe the toddlers are thinking, “I can’t not make this hard for her” just the way I am thinking, “I can’t not take their pictures!” And that’s ok. They might not give up. And I won’t give up.
Just like the way I look at my old blog posts, one day I might look back on this blog post and think, “Wow I had no idea what I was talking about.” However, this will only mean I’ve learned that much more about stuff…and that’s not a bad thing.