We all have our days when the dog gets tangled in our feet
When the doorknobs catch us as we stumble by, dodging little messes left by little messes
When the air is just a little harder to breathe
When it's everything I can muster just to make sure her pants aren't on backwards, her hair has met a comb and something passing for lunch is tossed in a tiny heap
Yet, the moment the garagedoor closes and I'm left alone with the remnants
The messes become evidence that my life is complete
Oh Momtographers - I've missed you. Heck, I've missed me. I've been sequestered in my own head for the last few weeks - I wish I could tell you it's all been good, but it's been, well, interesting. Sometimes insanely busy checking things off the list before baby, sometimes tending to work, sometimes tending to my health (I earned myself a weekend in the hospital), a whole lot of napping, a few crises thrown in, and of course, through it all tending to my wonderfully-sweet-inquisitive-charming-mind-numbingly-active-3-year-old. I gotta tell you, the juggling act of being me in this season is not one you want tickets to unless you just want to laugh at me. And if that's the case, I'll pop you some pop-corn as long as you promise to save me some... 'cause I'm hungry.
About two weeks ago, I laid awake in bed, wrestling with whether or not to take Syd to the beach. We live just an hours drive from the white beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, so as you can imagine, the beach has been a huge part of our family life. I was a week shy of being 8 months pregnant, one week off of a hospital stay and tethered with a pile of things to do here at the house. We were smack in the middle my husband's busy season at work so I'd already decided not to go. It was a move that would save me from packing up the house by myself and being the sole entertainer of Sydney in a tiny beach condo for 5 days. But with the oil spill looming off in the waters, we truly didn't (and still don't) know what to expect going forward. I don't mean to be all doom and gloom (did I mention I'm 8-months pregnant? Yeah, that means my drama-filter is completely broken) but I knew our days there, at least for the short term, would likely be numbered. It's kind of like watching a disaster unfold in super slow motion. It may be a while before the crude washes up, but we're already getting tar balls, not to mention the who-knows-what they're spraying in the water.
Congratulations to BRIANNE - the winner of April's Photo Challenge - ANTICIPATION!
You won a $30 gift certificate from Amazon.com and you will be the featured mom on LittleLunalu.com!
Here are the runners up!
Stay tuned for May's challenge - you're gonna LOVE it!
To see previous winners and finalists, go here!
We've followed Photographer David Bean for some time - both on twitter and on his Pro Corner group on Flikr for Semi-Professional and Professional Photographers. We're big fans of not only his stunning images of celebrities and his commercial work, but his truly approachable and open desire to help other photographers along the way. A few months ago, I was talking to a fashion-world friend of mine about stand out photographers who would offer something valuable to our moms - and David's name made the short list. We leaped at the opportunity to connect -and a phone interview (with SIX DISCONNECTS!) he was every bit the wealth of experience and graciousness we thought he'd be!
MT: David - I'd like to start with something I saw on the bio of your webpage. It says "Art is not my life… Life is my art." That's something that resonates so strongly with us and with our moms because of what the nature of a Momtographer is. How did you get there?
Basically, I'm not an artsy-fartsy person at all - I don't like artsy fartsy people… someone who takes themselves way too seriously, like what they do is so important that without them the world would be this tragic place. I really appreciate arts and I appreciate the craft of photography, but it's not saving the world - I don't have any grand illusions that I'm saving anyone's life!
I've always wished I lived in the kind of house where there would be a perfect door frame on which to etch the growth of my family from month to month, year to year. The kind of door you'd find in a family farmhouse that's been around for generations - one that practically cue's Amy Grant's "If These Walls Could Speak". But alas, I'm one of the modern families of nomads who commit to address nor decorating long enough to make generational graffiti on my walls.
This past spring break, as my daughter was running down the boardwalk to the ocean ahead, I had a flashback to the year before and the year before that one. As it turns out, I have roughly the same image of her, year upon year. I have my own photo milestones...
Here she is at one - waiting for Daddy to come and take her hand and help her pull her wagon.
Again at two - skipping merrily towards the sand.
Twice this busy week I had moments of photo wow - roughly at the same time of day, but with two different sets of circumstances. Both involved backlighting. For those of you not familiar with the term, it's when the majority of the light on a subject comes from behind. There's also an article explanation HERE. In natural light photography, you see a lot of this early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is low in the sky, available as a backdrop. (Hey thanks Mr. Sun!).
In this first photo, we were returning from a birthday party. I was tempted to share the photos where my child tried to blow out the birthday girl's candles, but I thought better of it :) Instead, I'd rather share this moment of wonder I caught as she was racing back up our driveway amped on 2 cupcakes (icing-only, of course).
ISO 320 f/5 SS 1/100 50mm lens
And the winner is....
Congrats to Andrea! The winner of a $30 Amazon gift card!
Thank you to all of our entries and our finalists! Stay tuned for April's challenge!
To see previous winners and finalists, go here!
Remember our article about Cloudy Days - how they're a Momtographer's best friend? Well, yesterday's school Easter Egg Hunt was a quick refresher in how sometimes you just can't escape circumstance.
I arrived at school at 12:20, to make sure that I would be there in time to catch the little bunnies hop out of their classroom towards the egg hunt. I even brought the Spydercube that I'm testing out to help calibrate my photos. But before I saw the first sign of my bunny - I knew the photos would be less than wonderful. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and the sun was shining directly overhead.
In case you haven't experienced this yet - or made the connection - bright overhead sunlight is THE MOST CHALLENGING kind of light in which to photograph your child. The brights are REALLY BRIGHT and the darks are REALLY DARK, creating contrast and shadows that are hard for your camera to properly interpret. Plus, there's the whole squinty eyes thing.
Pull out the live bunnies - or just the bunny ears - with these great tips on taking your own Easter portraits! We're showcasing two different professional Momtographer's approaches to getting great Easter-themed pics. Whether you've ironed the heirloom gowns, or opt for the more casual cottontail, these portraits are certain to inspire a spring fling of your own!
Have you ever wondered why professional photoraphers need assistants? It's not so that the photographer doesn't have to carry their own bags (though I'm sure there are some photogs who see it that way!). It's because the photographer needs to be able to focus on the moment that tells the story - even if the backdrop and lighting surrounding the story isn't the best shooting scenario. By taking care of small details that would otherwise make a scene unusable, an assistant frees up a photographer to work their creative and technical magic. Maybe it's holding a reflector to bounce more light into an area - or maybe it's using a diffuser to diffuse harsh lighting - there are so many things that an extra set of hands just out of the frame can do to help make magic within the frame!
Today I got in a little practice being the mommy of two - though I'm sure a real mom of two would tell me that I was cheating - I had two three-year-olds! We did all of the fun things that three girls could possibly do without a sleepover and nailpolish. We got smoothies ("Hey Sydney's mommy - are we going to the movies?"). We went to a jewelry store where they ran to the engagment rings like tiny moths to a flame... proof that diamonds are in our DNA! We even went to the toy store!
I had a return to make to the local 'R' Us, so I obliged them to a walk through the store, store-credit in hand. We ran through the bouncy balls and tinkered with the toy trains, but when we got to the end of the play kitchen aisle, both girls stopped in their tracks, mouths gapped in awe. There, behind a wall of cardboard and cellophane was a shiny red cash register - complete with a headset, walkie talkie, hamburgers, frieds, chicken mcnuggets, a happy meal box and CREDIT CARDS! I didn't even pretend we were going to fight it.
When we got home, I tried to direct the girls to set up shop in the open shade of the back porch. No.such.luck. "Old McDonalds" was destined to go into business in one of the least ideal places in the yard - under the playhouse. As the bright full sun was lowering in the sky, the girls weren't safe from it's glare - but they didn't care - they had a drive-thru window! Meanwhile, mommy was stuck with the worst contrast imagineable, peppered with the shadow of the monkey bars overhead.
So I pulled out my pop-up diffuser - a round, white disk that photographers use to soften harsh lighting situation. But professionals usually have someone or something holding it into place - I needed it just over their heads at a 45 degree angle. Clearly I wasn't going to be able to hold it and shoot. ASSISTANT!!!! (crickets.)
Enter the bed sheet. I grabbed an old sheet that we use to cover plants on the coldest of nights and tied it to the monkey bars. VOILA! It wasn't edge to edge coverage of the drive-thru, but it bought me some even open shade! Next time I'll actually take the time to march indoors and find a white sheet because the redish plaid did give off a color cast that I'll have to work on in my photo editing software, but hey - it did the job! And bed sheets can be tied almost anywhere - to tree limbs, fence posts - anywhere you need the harsh lighting of the sun diffused.
"Welcome to Old McDonalds, may I take your order please?"
"Okay, one french fry, one chicken nugget, one diet coke - would you like an ice cream?"
"Thank you - have a nice day ma'am."