"Capturing Life"

Archive for March, 2012

Teach and Learn

For the past couple of months, a friend and I have been co-teaching a photography class for teens at our homeschool co-op.  Both my friend and I are passionate about photography so it’s fun to be able to share our enthusiasm with a  new generation of future photographic artists.

The first class we taught, last fall, had around 10 student in the the class.  We covered the basic elements of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, composition, and how to weave the many aspects of camera and vision together.  This second class we just completed had only 6 students in it and that allowed us to do more creative things.  We played with light, practiced macro photography, went on a field trip to one of our beaches nearby to work on landscape photography, and tried to give them challenges in order to grow their budding skills.  They definitely rose to the challenge.

(the above image was taken by one of our students who was waiting for his turn to use the trigger for the speedlight.  He happened to click the shutter button at just the right moment, capturing the speedlight as it was being triggered by another camera, to illuminate this photo)

Whether it was the weeks we worked on portraits and lighting with speedlights, umbrellas, reflectors, and direct flash, or the weeks we spent playing with macro and landscape photography, they embraced each new topic with creativity that was fresh and fun.  (this photo was taken by a student using a point and shoot camera on it’s macro setting.  She worked at it until she had the exact focus and composition she was after and the result is a captivating macro photo)

Watching them, I began to realize that, while I was there to teach them, they were actually teaching me many things.  Their creativity knew no bounds as they moved around their subject by lying on the floor, getting nose to nose with it, shooting up at a subject above them, looking down on their subject, jumping in and out of each others pictures, moving lightstands all over just to see what happened with the light, and having a “can-do” attitude about everything they tried.

(this photo was one where they had been moving the lightstands around, trying to see how quickly light would fall off their subject.  They created a very mysterious and striking image)

The results of their “play” taught me to remember the fun that should accompany anything you love to do.  It also taught me to let loose of my worries about pictures not turning out, about not worrying that I do it all correctly but to try to just get in there, get dirty, and have fun.

(this photo has a great story that goes along with it.  12 year old Nathaniel used his point and shoot camera on Manual, set this flower outside on his deck, used a small flashlight to light it with but when he realized the flashlight just wasn’t giving off enough light, he went and found a more powerful one.  The results are a very well exposed image with the added bonus of having captured the moon in the background (the blue “spot” above the flower”) and the bokeh from the streetlights near his house)

I’m excited to see where these kids will take their new found craft, what they will choose to do with it in their lives, and how it will help them write the story of their life as they age.  I’m also excited to see just how much more I can learn by watching them for they, in truth, became the teacher and I became their student.

*Note: All 4 of these photos were taken by the kids in our class. Click on each photo for an enlarged view of it.


Olivia’s 2nd Birthday

Yesterday was Olivia’s 2nd birthday party.  It was so fun to be part of her special day, to join her family whom we love so much, to the milestone that launches her into “the terrible two’s!”  She won’t be a “terrible two”, I can assure you of that!

From the moment Olivia entered her family’s lives, we’ve been allowed to be part of their special moments.  From first receiving her to her eventual adoption, I have had the joy of photographing their family along the way, helping to give them memories from these special events so that they were free to just enjoy the moments themselves without having to worry about capturing pictures of the events.

The day was fun, the food fantastic, and, if you know Olivia’s mom, then you can imagine how over the top cute the decorations were!   I can’t think of anyone who is more creative and able to pull off a cuteness factor more than my friend, Traci.  I marvel at her abilities and try to soak it all in when I’m at her home.  She has 4 girls and one boy, I have 3 boys.  I don’t get to have pink in  my house so I enjoy every moment of it at hers.

Thanks, Olivia and family, for sharing your special day with us.  We love you and look forward to many more years of memories together.

Weekend Away

Last weekend, Ric and I celebrated 22  years together with a weekend getaway to Orcas Island, in the San Juan Islands.  Orcas Island is a very quaint place but if you’re looking for lots of activities, it’s not the place for you.  If, on the other hand, you crave quiet, slow pace, no internet, limited cell phone service, and friendly artists, it’s the perfect place to visit.

We boarded the ferry in Anacortes and made the 1 hour trip to Orcas Island.   The drive to The Resort At Deer Harbor, the place we stayed, took only a few minutes from the ferry landing.  The resort sits on the hill above the harbor where there is a marina housing a plethora of boats.  They allowed us an early check in so we headed to our cottage.  With it’s view of the water, the hot tub on the deck (each cottage has it’s own hot tub), the king sized bed, the jacuzzi tub, the gas fireplace, and the rainy weather, it was perfect for our weekend getaway.

There is this FANTASTIC taco place in Eastsound, the major commercial area on Orcas Island, called “Tee-Jay’s”.  We had read about it on Tripadvisor and it was rated #2 for all the restaurants on Orcas Island.  We plugged the address in to our GPS and it took us to a true “hole in the wall” location.   It was such a dramatic “hole in the wall” that we almost didn’t get out to check it out.  Located in the basement of the Odd Fellows Hall, there were no windows, no signs (other than the “Taco’s” sign in the back of a pickup truck pointing the way at the corner) and the door wasn’t the most inviting site either.  We opened the door and walked in to find a long hallway lit only by strings of clear Christmas lights along the ceiling.  We could hear voices in the distance so we followed the sounds to find a room complete with 8 or so tables, a kitchen that consisted of a stove, working counter, and prep sinks, and the aroma of refried beans, frying tortilla’s and fresh pico di gallo.  The food was divine, it only cost us $16 for lunch and we agreed it was the best find on the Island!  Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures there…..hmmmm,  what sort of photographer misses opportunities like that? Probably one more consumed by hunger than the need for more pictures.

Saturday we spent the day driving around the island, checking out all the nooks and crannies for found treasures.  There are a lot of pottery places, art galleries filled with work by local artisans, several resorts, many farms, and a lot of forested space.  The Rosario Resort is one of the more well known places on Orcas Island so we spent an hour or so doing a self-guided tour of the building.










We ended up missing out on our free “Latin Dance” lesson, that came with the lodging, Saturday evening because someone spent too much time taking pictures of the Harbor at sunset.  Instead we took advantage of the hot tub on our deck and enjoyed listening to it rain on the roof over us while we stayed warm in the water.

It’s always difficult to return back to the real world after a quiet weekend away.  I absolutely love my 3 sons but every once in awhile it’s nice to step away, take some time with my husband without distractions, and become connected again.  Ric, I can’t wait until next year!