What a few weeks it has been. Since Thanksgiving, the time has flown by me at a speed much faster than my personal speedometer typically travels. My photography has been competed against by my almost equal love for cooking, by trying to somehow get motivated to do the Christmas shopping that needs to be done, and by working at cooking classes.
When I get overly busy, I become focused, pressing to get everything done, closing out everything around me except for that which must be dealt with. I hate to admit it but I must be honest: my family is often squeezed out by the things that I feel have to be taken care of. I’m sorry, guys, but I think I’m back in the “mom” and “wife” saddle again. Thanks for putting up with me and for helping me!
Several weeks ago, I received a phone call from a friend describing an upcoming event, a Dessert Theater evening, and was asked if I would consider overseeing the dessert portion of the evening. I contemplated it and agreed to take it on. Thankfully I have some excellent friends around me who were willing to step in and help. I could not have done it without them.
The event was planned to serve a little over 200 guests. I chose to serve 4 different dessert choices so that there would be something for everyone. A friend of mine offered to make one of the desserts and I began baking the other 3 a few weeks before the event. 3 different desserts with 240 servings each equaled a very full freezer! I think it was torture for my family to have all the great smells and sights of Cream Puffs, White Chocolate Raspberry Torte, and Mini-Brownies, yet not be allowed to touch any of it. They barely survived the torture.
The evening included not only dessert, but the local high school choir came to sing Christmas songs and there was also a drama presentation by a very talented performer, Rich Crouch, of Show and Tell Family Projects. He did a fantastic monologue telling the story of Jesus’ birth.
In the midst of all this, I was asked if I had time to do a quick family portrait session. It involved a new baby and 3 siblings. I decided that I wanted to make time for it so squeezed in a morning session. The baby is 3 weeks old and just sweet and cuddly. Having never photographed babies before, aside from my own back in the “old” days of film photography, it was yet another new photographic adventure. I snapped a few shots that were on par with what I prefer to see in my photography work, but overall I was not that thrilled with the outcome from the session. I made a few crucial errors in judgment, such as thinking how fun it would be to use the red cuddly blanket for Christmas time, forgetting completely how the color red would look reflected off the baby’s skin. As seems to be my personal mantra, live and learn. Ha ha. I seem to learn best by experience, both good and bad, and as long as I learn from it and remember it for the future, then I guess it’s okay.
Today brought the past couple of weeks to completion with the annual Solis family Christmas picture-taking event. It was quick and relatively painless but brought back memories of year’s that were not so seamless in their process to capture the perfect Christmas picture. I recall one year, in particular, when our oldest son, Austin, was about 3, and our middle son, Nathan, was just a few months old. We had this fantastic idea of placing them in a red sled, and placing that in front of the nice cozy roaring fireplace. It was a picture perfect scene and the outcome looked fantastic on our Christmas cards; it’s still one of my favorite all time pictures of them. The work of getting that picture, however, was anything but easy. We would just get the fire stoked and blazing, get the kids settled in the sled and me ready with the camera only to have Nathan suddenly slide out of his brothers lap on the slippery plastic sled. Then, as we were getting Nathan re-situated, Austin would jump up and run off, leaving us to go play. We’d coax him back, get them re-settled, only to have the fire die down enough that we had to start the whole process over. It took 2 hours to get the one Christmas card picture and both Ric and I were perspiring profusely by the time we were finally done. They look so sweet and innocent in the picture and one would never know the work it took to get those cards out that year.
We’ve come a long way from that place and now it’s only the dog that we can’t seem to control enough to get the pictures taken. I had my family ready and done in a couple of minutes but it took us several more minutes to get the dog to be even close to how we thought she should be. In the end, we ended up going for a more fun picture that is anything but “picture perfect”, yet for our family who loves to have things be just a little out of the “perfect” range, it’s exactly what we’d like! Here’s a few out-takes from today:
That is the encapsulated version of my past few weeks. Not a lot of photographic perfection, lots of commitments that feel as if they have made me work harder to find my vision when I do have my camera in hand, and many opportunities to be challenged, grow, and hopefully learn from the good and not so good pictures that have come from my camera.
Now, on to try and get that Christmas shopping done……………………………………..
I think I’m becoming stuck lately. You know, the kind of stuck where you feel yourself slowly sinking, seeing your feet disappear into the murky water below and you begin to slog your way through each step. Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration. But, I notice that I’m tilting just a little these days. Am I walking around with my head tilted so that everything in the world around me seems askew?
Maybe it’s just my camera. I think it’s taken control of my sense of balance, making my hands tilt the camera body as I fight to regain a balanced vision.
Maybe everything around me is tilted and I’m still upright, walking perfectly balanced.
Whatever it is that is happening, one thing I know for sure. I strongly dislike being stuck in a rut. It’s time to get my equilibrium back, to take control of my camera, to say “NO” to the urge to view the world at a tilt. In the ongoing effort to find a creative perspective, the tilt has taken control. I must resist and strive to find a different, more unique way to see my world and to fan the creative fires. Or, at the very least, I need to tilt my camera a different direction so that there is at least something to break the stagnant feel of my latest photo’s.
Thanks to the latest FREE e-book from Craft and Vision , I think I may have some new inspirations to try. I’m thinking maybe a personal challenge is in order. Maybe each week I’ll take on one of the 11 ways to improve my photography and see what happens. It will be just in the nick of time, too, and will save me from mundane things like using camera tilt to make something look more interesting than it really is. 🙂