The Magical Age

I have been so busy lately I’ve not done any photo taking of the kids. Not while they’re eating lunch, and not on specific Trying To Get Fun Photos type of outings. Nothing. This makes me feel a little crazy, so I made a point this weekend to set aside time for a Photo Outing.

Nikki dressed herself (of course) with me just telling her to wear a hat because I was trying to do some different photos than I usually do. I put Wes in something decent (with a hat) and we headed downtown early Sunday morning. Now, these type of outings are fun with Nikki because she’s old enough to play along. But Wes? Not so much. I usually spend the entire time going, Smile! SMILE! Look at me! Now Smile! Say Cheese! Say Poopie Pants! LOOK AT ME! Wes! WES!

Imagine my surprise when I scored this one first try:


I was like Oh, yeah. We’ve finally made it. ALL KIDS ARE OLD ENOUGH TO COOPERATE. I didn’t have E with me but I was going to take full advantage of this new development and take as made frame-worthy pictures as possible with the two kids.


Are you KIDDING ME? This picture is PERFECT. I didn’t even tell him to lean on Nikki’s leg. Not only is he cooperating but he’s improvising. This must be the magic age: 3 and 2 months. The magic age when kids actually understand the point of having their pictures made. I didn’t mark the age with Nikki because it wasn’t significant with her little brother still trailing behind. But now? NOW? All of my kids are picture-friendly!


We still had a bunch of problem with Wes smiling too hard, or with him just getting bored after the first 15 minutes, but overall? He was entirely perfect.


Now, if only I could get his sister to quit growing up and everything would be fine. Who is this girl and what did she do with my Kindergartner?


Now I can’t WAIT to get all three of them out and about with my camera. I’ve only had a few good pictures of the three of them EVER and I take a lot of pictures. Making the Christmas Card is usually easy because there aren’t many photos to choose from. But now? It’s going to take a little longer since I’ll have so many more options. But one thing is for sure: This year’s Christmas Card collage is going to KICK SOME PHOTO ASS.

You heard it here.

Best Laid Plans…

I drew giant butterfly wings on our sidewalk for some cool photos with the kids. Nikki saw the wings and immediately complained that there were no antennae. I grumbled something under my breath and then just said, “Don’t worry about it, just let me take your picture.” She sighed with EXTREME frustration and said, “I guess I’ll just use my arms.”


Wes, on the other hand, didn’t quite understand the concept. He rolled around in the chalk for a bit first, of course. And then settled on a pose that didn’t seem to care about antennae at all. I tried to get him to roll over and he was all, “I want my picture like this!”


These grand ideas never EVER seem to turn out how I envision them.

Sometimes, they turn out BETTER.

First: A Strange Rant. Second: Why I Love Photoshop.

I saw this clip on ABC New (I believe that’s who it was) the other day when I was getting my car serviced. (Otherwise, I wouldn’t be watching the news. It irritates me most days.) They were doing a segment about how film is on it’s way out in terms of photography. They decided the best people to discuss this with, was a bunch of hipsters from Parsons School of Design. Now, I like Hipsters. They’re way cooler than I am. But like any segment of the population, there are the extreme versions that are just caricatures of real people trapped in an image. These kids? Those extremes. And they were ALL using film and basically denouncing all things digital.

While these guys kinda made me giggle a bit, they didn’t bother me. I respect their idealism and their cool black frame glasses.

HOWEVER, they also interviewed some lady who has been working in the Photography department at TIME magazine for 40+ years. She was discussing why film is better and she made this one point: She knows photographers who go back through their negatives years later and suddenly discover a frame they didn’t notice before and it’s AMAZING and if that had been digital? Those photos would have just been deleted.

Um. WHAT? That doesn’t make any sense. Yes. I delete them off the CAMERA, but I (and most people I know who obsess with photos) keep every picture I take that has even the most REMOTE essence of quality. If everything is blurred? No. But if one person or object is kinda is clear? It gets stored on my computer and one of two external hard drives. FOREVER. And you know what else is great about having those digital pictures to go back through? You can change your mind. AND you can go through them without a light table. I think she is just an example of someone who likes things a certain way and picks the best reason she can think of to justify it. THIS IS FINE. But she needs to pick a better reason. Do what most people I know do and just say you LIKE IT BETTER. That’s fine! I know people who are hardcore about listening to music on vinyl. I’m kinda snobby about using my hand-mixer when I cook. We all do things a certain way because we LIKE them. But she justified it with the craziest idea ever.

Unless I’m the only person in the world who saves her photos. Which I’m 99% certain I’m not.

My point of this was actually just to show you why I love Photoshop. Somehow my brain drifted back to that lady and suddenly this became a rebuttal to some lady interviewed on ABC News. I APOLOGIZE, LADY!

NOW…on to the REAL entry about WHY I LOVE PHOTOSHOP.

I took this photo last weekend:


AH! Both kids looking at the camera! It’s a miracle! Too bad I snapped it as I was falling over. Or maybe there was an earthquake? I don’t know. It’s crooked! Enter…PHOTOSHOP.


Straightened it out. Cropped it in closer and sharped it a bit. Now? TOTALLY FRAMEWORTHY. Then, a couple days later I thought it might be good in a Black and White frame I’m working on. I never take pictures in Black and White, it’s always a post-processing Photoshop thing.

Black and White

PERFECT. That one photo I can now do about a million things with. Which is good since it’s one of the ONLY photos where both kids are looking AT the camera and NOT making a “silly” face. Now, imagine if they were SMILING. I’d blow that thing up and turn it into a bedspread at Wal-Mart. Which you can do. Although I think it would funnier to use THIS edited photo to turn into a bedspread. Who wouldn’t want that Homicidal Glare keeping them warm every night.

Before After


Feeling a little under the weather today…so instead of an entry with real words…I’m showing you two pictures I made this weekend after a photo walk with the kids. And then I’m going to go back to whining and moaning until I feel better. That works, right?

My Inspiration
My Inspiration

Capturing Moments

I took Nikki to the Botanical Gardens this week so we could take pictures of the flowers in bloom. The have made some of the Treehouses from last year’s exhibit permanent fixtures in the park, and they’ve decorated them and painted them and they look GREAT. One is a “beachhouse” with sand on the outside and the best part: A HAMMOCK.

Have you ever tried to get in a hammock? I mean, I know that’s the total sitcom joke: Getting In Hammocks Is Funny! With the rolling and the spinning and the falling…but did you know it’s TRUE? It’s completely impossible to get into a hammock for the first time – successfully. And did you know that a 5-year old trying to do it is at least 100 million times more hysterical than a grown-up? Because it is. To the 5-year old AND to the adult watching.

It turns out that me getting in first to stabilize the hammock, was the key. Then Nikki had the freedom to move about without flipping the thing over and ending up on the ground. And then we were able to take the picture below. Which I took with my purse camera and my arm stretched out. Nothing posed. Nothing calculated. Just two people cracking up in a hammock and taking a picture.

Photo Walk at the Botanical Gardens

Sometimes, my favorite thing about being a recreational photographer is not the fancy camera or nice lenses, is my habit of always having a camera on me. So that these moments get caught on camera, even if it’s not the nice one with the good lens. And even if one millisecond later we were both on the ground covered in sand.