I love looking back over my photos. So many are special to me for the story they hold, not necessarily the quality of the photo. 2010 was a year of Ian. He changed so much this year, holding conversations, asking questions about the world, exploring. Tantrums seem to be slowly disappearing from his repertoire, replaced with more "I love you momma's" each day. It is no surprise that many of my favorite photos are of Ian.
There is something about the last week of the year and bringing together snippets of 365 days of life. When there was a television in our house I loved watching the highlights of the year, the quick flashing photos of who died, who was born, who did something monumental, which movies were big.
Here are my favorite posts from the year. I loved sorting through all of my posts, reliving moments, thinking about highs and lows to find these.
Have you joined the new flickr group? Just for those of you I've had the privilege to help in your photography journey! Fun conversation, prompts and more to come! Share your photos there if you try out this technique!
We have a lot of water in our Northern California rivers with more rain expected. Seeing the park flooded has occupied a certain 5 year old's brain, so I included it in our December book. We were able to take some time while it was not raining to go see the park, show him all of the water, and see the fabulous clouds with blue sky peeking through!
Everyday life goes on in December, so I thought it was important to add it in. I struggled a bit with the title of the page. The template said, Merry and Bright, which just didn't seem appropriate. A quick erase and a little addition and I think I've summed it up better. Do you struggle with including the everyday in your December Daily book?
The talent in Capture Your Holidays was stunning! I've asked several class participants to share their photos so you can see what wonderful images created in the last two weeks. TerryD photographed Santa with bokeh in such a beautiful way! I just love this image.
So how did she do it?
The key to great bokeh is:
a wide aperture
distance between your subject and the lights
a longer focal length.
Here you are, step by step. This photo can be taken in the daylight so you get enough light on Santa.
In Manual Mode (M), select your widest aperture (the smallest f/number).
Looking through your viewfinder, adjust your shutter speed until it indicates a correct exposure (the middle line on your light meter). Adjust your ISO and shutter speed, leaving your aperture at its widest number.
Christmas time surrounds us with photo opportunities. I love the lights and decorations and the holiday spirit. Throughout this week I'm going to share some of my favorite photos from my own December collection as well as those from people in my Capture Your Holidays class at Debbie Hodge's GetItScrapped. I may even throw in a how to or two!
My ornament shots were taken in natural light (front lit for the top, side lit for the bottom) using card stock paper as a backdrop. I absolutely have a weakness for the classic, solid color, glass ornament.
Few of them are on my tree, most reside in dishes or platters around my house.
Yes, years ago I said I wouldn't be a photographer who took a long time setting up a shot. Thinking about it. Planning it. Waiting for the perfect light. Modifying the light. Manipulating objects just because.
Yep, I really said that.
Well, I spoke too soon.
Back in those old days, I had no idea how much fun it would be to play with light or maneuver my focal point or photograph things that will never go on my wall. Photos just for photos sake.
Call me a hypocrite if you'd like. In fact, just last month I posted about My Photography. Yes, that is still the type of photography I love, but I would be remiss to not mention the hour I took to photograph a cupcake recently.
Yes. An hour. I didn't even eat the cupcake. No one did. I paid $2.75 for something I never intended to ingest. In my defense, I did shoot it on a piece of card stock, using a card stock reflector in my laundry room!
Call it what you want.
How did it happen? I have one guess. Somewhere in the passion for photography, numbers really started to make sense. Once I had a more intimate understanding of what I could do with my camera, the fun began.
It makes me wonder. What does 2011 have in store for me?
I discovered this one today from just about a week ago. I'm not sure how I missed it the first time. Love the expression(click on it to see it larger). I think it's bad case of red eye made me skip over it for my December Daily book. I'm rethinking that now. I may just go back and tuck it in there somewhere!
Am I the only one who skips photos, only to go back later and find ones you love?
It happens. Things get busy and I'm not able to make a page. I'll even admit that over the weekend, I grabbed time to do nothing. NOTHING. It was bliss.
So, yes, that put me behind doing my December Daily pages.
My strategies when I anticipate falling behind:
Take a few more photos to trigger my memory (even if they are with my phone)
Blog small details if I can or make notes on my phone.
Go with one photo pages.
Keep it simple
Don't stress, there are no December Daily police.
I've got photos and my photos trigger my journaling. I'm planning on snagging some of my journaling from my blog as well.
This year's book is featuring more one photo pages. They are quick to put together, giving me time to focus on the journaling. I've learned from my 2009 and 2008 books that journaling makes my heart sing!
I've known him for twenty nine years. How is that possible?
We met in junior high, he was the new kid in town. (Go ahead, do the math, I'm okay with that!)
He was my "boyfriend" or whatever you call it when you are too young to drive or go anywhere unsupervised. Only for a few weeks. And then, I told him to go away.
We had similar friends, activities, and even classes throughout high school.
We both travelled to separate ends of the state after high school.
We are fairly certain we were at the same Depeche Mode concert at Dodger Stadium in 1990. We had many random life parallels like that.
Every time I'd have a bad relationship experience, I'd joke with my friends, should have stuck with Shea.
And then, fate would have it. We both moved "home." We both escaped to the gym and while I was on the tread mill (or maybe it was the Stairmaster) he approached me. Said hello. I wasn't sure who he was at first. And then I knew.
It bugged me for days that after all this time, we'd just said hello and left it at that.
I called him. He couldn't find a pen to write down my number.
We met at a little Mexican restaurant for dinner. We went to dinner again. We drove around in his Jeep with his dog Pete. The dog that shed everywhere and had the grossest, slobberiest drive by licks.
And then. He asked me a question. I said yes.
December 14th. 1996. We sealed the deal.
14 years ago today.
I can't imagine spending my life with anyone else.
After walking out of the gallery, I glanced back through the window. There she stood. Looking at my photo. She was studying it. She looked intent, thinking. I knew then I'd made the right choice. I snapped a quick photo through the window, the view obscured a bit by the bronze work in the window.
I've wanted to take this step for a long time. Living in a neighborhood filled with art galleries, I wanted my art to inhabit some space. Not for the potential sales. Not for the exposure of my name.
For nothing more than to declare to my town, I'm an artist.
I've created a million reasons to not take this step before. I've talked myself out of believing I have talent or art worth sharing. Yes, I share on the internet. But that is different somehow.
The idea of a contest, at a gallery I know, with an open call for art did it. I submitted my form. I nervously carried my canvases, five in total, into the gallery. I walked out and wondered. Will they hang on their walls? Will anyone look at them?
On Thursday night we walked into the Barton Gallery and found all five displayed. Each one tells a different story. Each one a piece of me.
My bag needed to be packed. His first school performance was just an hour away.
Which lens? Flash? No flash?
I wasn't even certain where he'd be performing. The auditorium? The gym? I had no idea what the light was like in either.
I've helped so many moms with these decisions before. It was always so easy.
Choose your fastest lens. Go with the 50mm if you have it.
Bump up your ISO.
Watch that your shutter speed is around 1/125th of a second so you stop motion.
Shoot in Aperture Priority mode if you need to.
Program is okay if you get flustered.
Get the moment. Don't worry about switching lenses.
Why so hard this time? Why so hard when it was MY KID?
I needed to text all of the moms who've sent me texts and ask, "can you tell me what I told you then? I seem to be losing my mind."
Dad was late home. That didn't help my nerves. One of those things. Try not to react. Tonight is about Ian.
Bag packed. One camera. One flash. My 50mm on the camera. Wide angle packed just in case. Battery charged. Memory card cleared.
I walk in the gym. Immediately thought I should have brought the long lens. How will I see his adorable face? Too many people. Can't get close enough. There isn't even anywhere to sit! WHAT am I going to do. This is about Ian. This is about Ian. Just enjoy him.
We take him to prepare with his class for the big moment. When we return to the gym to await his appearance, the gym is clearing out. Perfect. Floor position. Up close. Right in the middle. Ahhh, 50mm won't be wide enough for all of them. Quick swap to wide angle. Meter. Good light. More than I expected. All set.
They arrive. Too cute for words. Big smiles, waves. I take pictures. Stop. I just want to see he his face. Take it all in. But I want to have photos. Snap. Adjust. Why am I adjusting? Shutter speed, what is that? I want pictures. I want to see it all. Ahhhh.
They're done. 5 minutes from entrance to exit. 38 photos. He's all smiles. I put the camera away.
I now understand what it is like to be a mom behind a camera at a school event. Weddings are easier.
Do you have difficulty getting cooperation for photos at Christmas? Want to know my trick?
Offer to adorn him in lights so he can be a Christmas tree.* It helps if he is five years old and determined to dress up in "every costume in the world." I'll need to add this to my list of methods to capture active kids.
The trick to low light photos? Spot meter and expose for his face.
This week is PACKED with activities in our house. I love this time of year, but it can get crazy and a bit hard to keep up with December Daily.
I've given myself permission to have some December Daily Do Over Days! I grab a page I've already completed, swap out photo and journaling. Change an element or two (or none). I am then able to breathe easier and carry on to the next day! I want to complete my album AND enjoy the holidays. I've got to strike that balance!
I only took a few photos yesterday, this was a favorite. Sums up this time of year so well.
How are you balancing December Daily and enjoying the holidays?
I do not dress my child up in costumes for photos, I really don't. I do, however, set up our cookie baking for the best results!
Making Gingerbread Vegans is a favorite tradition, both to make and eat. Once we prep all of the ingredients in the kitchen, I move the entire process to the dining room table. I position the rolling mat so Ian's side is to the window or so the window is directly in front of him. You can tell in these photos where I positioned him in relation to the light. Since I never ask him to move, I get more cooperation.
Once he gets cutting it's easy to wander around to get the best angle and light for a shot or two. The elf costume is just a bonus!
Click on the photos for product credits.
Do you have any favorite holiday photo taking tricks?
Class starts tomorrow. I always get a little nervous excitement brewing the night before class, hoping I've not missed anything, anticipating the chatter in class, and looking forward to seeing everyone's photos.
Preparing for class has me scrambling a bit to keep up with December Daily, but I'm determined. I've learned from past experience to keep taking photos and jot down what I can. I'm going to allow myself a skipped day here or there if I need to. For yesterday, I'm leaving it big and black and white. I loved it the moment I saw him on the tracks. Do you have those moments you just know you're going to love the photo?
This year's book is turning into documentation of everywhere Ian wears his elf costume. Since he's worn it EVERY DAY since he received it, expect to see a lot of it! I'm certain he'll appreciate this book on the coffee table when he's fifteen.
Are you seeing any themes develop in your December Daily Project?
I know this book will be printed 8x8 at Shutterfly. With my books from 2009 and 2008, I've found I like my photos a bit larger so I can really see them. I'll include pages with fewer photos, but those are typically non-people photos.
I loved the suggestions to include my mom and the cup. It becomes so easy to make every page an Ian page, he's filled with the magic of Christmas this year! I like that I'm left with a good overview of a special day.
I am still mulling the elf minibook idea! What ideas are you considering for your December Daily book?
Capture Your Holidays Through The Lens starts tomorrow! I'm so excited to help you capture special moments! The first lesson includes the technique for the light photo in the bottom corner above.
Thank you to everyone who has registered and spread the word. You are an amazing community of friends.
December Daily is filled with choices about paper, embellishments, journaling, AND photos. Today is a difficult photo day for me.
Not because the day was too busy to take any, but because it was too filled to narrow it down to a few. You know those days. Family visiting. Birthday party to attend. Santa to visit. Lights to see. All in one day. Exhausting holiday fun.
Everyone is sleeping all snug in their bed except for me. I'm sitting in front of Lightroom. Sorting. I could create a 20 page book with today's photos. And I would really like the book.
What makes it even more difficult? A costume. A stinkin' cute elf costume my mom made for Ian. He's been wearing it since she arrived yesterday. I'm not THAT mom that dresses up her kiddo for photos, but HE is THAT kid that dresses up and asks to be photographed.
Here is Page 1 for today. The story and the costume must be in this year's December Daily book. I've decided to include 6 more for the day on another page. The choice is made more difficult knowing each photo contains a story.
So here are a few of my choices. Which would you include?
I work to keep things in my life simple. I might even put too much energy into being simple. Is it possible, I need to simplify simple?
I've planned my December Daily pages in my mind for weeks. I knew I was going with a white background and a big, photo first style. Something like this page or this page from October's Layout A Day.
I sat at my computer, brought all the pieces together with my December 1st photo. Moved things. Changed things. Walked away. Lamented. Moved more. Slept on it. Picked different whites. Used no paper at all. Flipped the orientation. Considered going with a 6x8 size instead.