Sunday, March 13, 2016

Our Week in Photos: Racetracks, Trampolines and Yonanas

I bought me first digital SLR camrea almost 10 years ago. 
I loved the feel of the weight of the camera, the sound of the shutter and every once and a while the quality of an image I'd fluke. 

For the last decade, I've taken literally thousands of photos. But other than a few half-hearted attempts I've (and I'm ashamed to say it) I never REALLY learned how to use my camera. 

But I still loved taking pictures, composing and capturing daily life for me and my family became a definite passion. But I would get so frustrated not knowing how to get my camera to take the picture I saw in my head. For the last few years, I'd even stopped getting out my big camera and started using my iPhone for most of my picture taking.

But deep down I never felt like a "real photographer". Even when people hired me to take family pictures, or even weddings...I'd always try and talk them out of it, "Are you sure you want ME? You know I'm not a real photographer right?" But they'd say they'd seen pictures I'd taken and assured me they liked my style or whatnot. So I'd charge them next to nothing, and do my best. I'd be incredibly nervous before, but then always enjoyed the actual shoot-- interacting with fabulous people, joking with them, trying to vanquish over-posed smiles and coax genuine ones from them. I'd work waaaay too hard in after-shoot editing, trying to make the images I took look how I wanted them too. Things I knew my camera could do, if only I would learn! I sure hope no one regrets having me take their photos for them. 

Ben encouraged me to "just take a class". But  deep down I was always too afraid that I wouldn't get it. If you know me and numbers, you might doubt my capacity as well. 

And I'm sad to say, I let those fears stop me from doing something I really wanted to do, for a long time. 

But last fall my friend took a beginner photography class taught by Rhonda Steed. 

Rhonda for YEARS has been one of my photography heroes. Long before I knew her personally I followed her blog and all but drooled over her gorgeous images.
 She has an AMAZING ability to not just take beautiful photos, but to take meaningful, story telling photos, always with incredible light and details and all the things that make me love good photography. I adored her style and longed to do the same caliber of artistry. 

Funny enough, Rhonda and I became good friends when we lived for a time in the same Ward. She proved to be as amazing at friendship as she was at photography and she soon became one of my heroes not just for her photo skills, but for her genuine, and unbelievable generous spirit (not to mention the girl is just so much fun!)

So when I found out she was offering her course again this spring, I invited a sister in law who just bought a camera a Christmas time to come along with me as I tried to tackle this decade old desire. 

And I'm beyond ecstatic to say, I think it might be sticking this time. (fingers crossed) I've barely put down my camera in the last two weeks, and every time I expose properly, or know just what aperture I want, I honestly get a bit giddy. 

Taking pictures of my cute family interacting in my dumbly dark basement, and actually knowing how to make it so I could get their little grins (without a silly flash) made me so happy.

They're not perfect, but I'm learning. 

Rhonda mentioned how some aspiring photographers try and take a picture a day. 

So here's...

My Plan 
(which I'm blogging as a way to commit myself)

I'm going to post at least 7 pictures a week. 

They can't be edited. 
(which is going to be hard for me, because I've used editing to compensate my photos for so long)

They probably won't be that amazing or that artsy. And they'll probably be mostly my kids (because, well... I have 5 of them  (!!!!), so most of my time is spent being a mom, and also because remembering their little faces and expressions is one of the reasons I wanted a good camera in the first place. Plus, they're just my favorite subjects.

They just have to be pictures that make me happy and that hopefully make me feel that I'm improving and learning. 

We have 9 am church this year, so I'm dedicated a portion of my Sunday afternoons to sorting through photos and choosing the ones to post (this is also my plan to more frequently be uploading, filing and deleting the massive amounts of pictures I take...if I get really good, maybe I could do my photo book pages week by week too. We'll see.)
I'm thinking this can be somewhat of a visual journal of our family (hence me feeling good about tackling this endeavor on the Sabbath)

But it will also serve as a way to keep challenging myself to stay "committed to manual" and get to learn my camera better and better, so photography can be the creative outlet I've always wished it could be. 

So here's to my imperfect photos, and let ourselves be imperfect as we learn and grow.  And maybe this can even inspire someone else to take that thing they've always wanted to do or learn and push their fears out of the way and go for it!

My little posers... which I'm not in love with...they're cute, but it lacks interaction and story...other than the story that Levi couldn't handle me taking pictures of JUST Hadley, so he decided to jump in)

Hadley's trademark crooked grin 
My friend just had a new baby and was kind enough to let me practice (I'm pretty sure I could shoot newborns ALL day!)

Also realized how NOT newborn Enoch is getting! 
We also threw a baby shower, for Sweet Navy....and even though you can still tell they're inside with awful lighting, I was less frustrated than normal trying to take pictures of the decorations

This is me attempting back light..with Hadley with her pants on inside out.

Potty training can be pretty was a lot more fun playing with my camera  

Aaron was surprisingly kinda into me taking pictures one day and kept looking right at the camera

You still taking pictures mom?

I want to do this one again, but have his face in focus instead

Kids jumping on the trampoline might not be the easiest of subjects, but they're sure fun!

I love that I got the moment Levi landed his first flip!

My boys and Ben pretty much spent the whole weekend playing with their new race track. 

and the REAL Levi....

This photo, is a prefect example of a time that would have totally frustrated me before. Automatic would have insisted on a flash, cuz it was actually getting pretty dark out. I was nervous I wasn't gong to be able to get the setting right before my kids bounced away (it was a miracle they agreed to stop for a photo in the first place, they were having so much fun!)

Bedtime yonanna-ing.

(I love the concentration in Levi's face)

Messy face! The one on the left she's looking at her dad <3

Til next week!


Rhonda said...Best Blogger Tips

Oh you! You are far to kind. And these are So good! The thing you have going for you already is that you get composition. And that'll make your pictures go farther faster than before once you get the whole exposure thing down! Looking GREAT!

yoga mamma said...Best Blogger Tips

Such a great post! I love looking at your photos!! I used to use my grandfathers manual SLR and loved having control over the photos I took, I loved the simplicity of the basic settings. Then before I had kids I splurged on a digital SLR and was completely baffled with all the settings and buttons and I did the same thing- just used the automatic setting and took a million photos (since I was not using film any more it really did not matter right?!) I still do not know how to use it properly, so thank you for the reminder and the inspiration to learn!!