Anyone who has lost a loved one knows how hard the first year after their death can be. The year is filled with "firsts". First birthday, first Christmas, first anniversary…the list goes on and on.
I was a bit worried going into Thanksgiving. The commercials for the Macy Day Parade made me cry. My father-in-law LOVED that parade. Especially the Rockettes.
My big, loving family….
If the commercials made me cry, I wasn't sure how I'd get through the day. But as it turned out, I watched the Rockettes in the hotel lobby where we had just finished breakfast. My eyes misted, but no torrent of tears!
Then, we headed over to Daddy's to be with my family. My siblings were there. And my nieces and nephews. The house was full of life. And noise!
Of course we missed Mom. She's left a big hole. But she would have wanted us to get together and have fun. Well, we did. The cousins played and played. The adults talked. Or tried to anyway over all the ruckus!
But you know what the cool thing is? God was good. I made it through. Yes, I cried one night. But I made it. It was hard. But God was faithful.
Now, Christmas is fast approaching. I know there will be tears. (Okay, I'm a cryer if you hadn't figured it out.) Like when I pulled out ornaments my mom had made for me. Yep. I cried.
Again, it's okay to cry. But I'm not stopping there. I get my grief out and keep going. Remembering the good times.
And I know if God could get me through Thanksgiving, He can do the same for Christmas. I'm holding on to that.
I'm praying that God will walk with you through whatever hilltop or valley you find yourself in. May you find Him faithful to walk with you. Guiding you in your life.
Today, I want to talk about how to take great family pictures at a special event or place. My family and I visited the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. You can't photograph inside, but you can on the outside. So these are from that visit. Let's get started. I want to show you what a typical shot that people take. This is a very average shot, taken by *cough cough* one of my kids, who shall remain nameless. What do you notice about it that makes it average? See how our faces are right in the middle of the photo? The lion had its head chopped off. While my husband's face and mine are right in the middle of the frame, there's a lot of clutter around us. It's hard to focus on one thing. So, it was my turn to get behind the camera and take a family picture. I made sure to get the entire statue in the shot and crop out most of the clutter around them. And, I turned the camera to the "portrait" position, unlike the one above. Even though the lighting was flat, I'm still happy with it. Why? Because I'd been to the Biltmore House once before, back in the 80's. My mom snapped a pictured of me and my siblings in front of that same lion….It means something to me. Not every shot has to be jaw dropping. Just the best it can be under the circumstances. When we first arrived, my youngest started sketching the house. So, I got behind him and caught both him and the mansion in my shot. It's a picture that will remind him in later years how much he liked to draw. Take some shots of "mundane" or "ordinary" life, but make them interesting. We tend to remember the big events of our life, but remembering the details or mundane is pretty cool, too.
Here's what I call a "mood" shot. I walked up behind my family and just wanted to capture the moment. My daughter was on her cell phone…or mine, actually, prepping to take a picture. My youngest had started sketching and my other son was looking below. He had probably dropped something and was watching gravity work! Again, I was just capturing the moment with my family.
Hubby and son having fun at Biltmore
This is a picture I love! My husband and son had started goofing around while I was taking their photo. I took multiple pictures and I love how you can see that they were having fun. Notice neither of them are looking at me. But you can see the fun in their smiles and laughter. Not every shot of a person has to be directly head on. Side shots or shots from behind can be special, too. But notice how little clutter there is in the picture. You can see the mountains in the background. I cropped out columns and railings to make the shot just about them. So when taking people pictures, focus in more on them. Like the pics of my family and husband and son together. But if you want to capture a mood shot, make sure to get enough information around them to make the picture make sense. Like getting my son's sketch pad in the photo with the Biltmore House in the background. Is there anything that stands out to you in the pictures? Or one that you like? As always, leave comments of anything you'd like to ask about and I may include that in a future post! Hope this tips helps! Keep on clicking! Mary
Welcome Back! Today's tip is about changing your perspective when taking pictures. I'm going to use one subject from different angles to show you how to change your thinking in taking pictures. So let's get started. We were able to visit Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina this summer. It was amazing! This statue is covered in gold. Yes, real gold. I included the first shot to show you the context of where Dionysus by Edward McCaartan is. Notice the high, round shrubs? They surround the statue, but at a distance. There are usually others at the gardens at the same time so you have people to deal with as well when trying to take pictures. I walked the entire way around Dionysus, looking for good shots. The second picture is from the side. Notice the pedestal he stands on. And the third picture is from the back.
Notice how the trees form a green background for the picture? It's nice, but still seemed a bit distracting to me.
So I moved around to try a different background and took the fourth picture with the sky.
I didn't like the shot as much as I thought I would.
Then, I took some closeups.
It's amazing how the sculpture is so life like. You almost expect to hear a growl.
And, by walking around the sculpture, you focus on a different aspect. The photos have a different feel to them.
In this shot, I placed Dionysus on the left side and made sure to get the Alligator Bender by Nathaniel Choate in the shot. And just to the right of that sculpture is one more, further in the distance.
So, which shots do you like the best and why? Please discuss what you like or what you would change. As always, feel free to leave comments and questions below. Hope this tip helps! Keep on clicking! Mary
Life does go on. I miss you being a part of it. So does Daddy.
But I know you'd be the first to tell me not to stop living. So I'm learning to focus on the blessings that are in my life.
You taught me that.
And as you suffered with spinal fractures and migraines, you grew more convinced God was in control. I saw you live that. The more you suffered, the more you turned to God. The more you cried out to Him.
Thank you for that example. I'm crying out to Him as well to get through this valley of losing you and Pap Pap.
You finished your race well.
I want to live well. To live strong. To love God as you did.
Thank you for leaving behind a wonderful legacy.
A lasting impact.
Many miss you Mom. You were an amazing, amazing woman.
Welcome back! Today is the second part in a series on how to take action shots. You can read Part 1 here. Today's shots are complements of another of my sons. This is my youngest. Let's get started learning what we can from these photos. First of all, these pictures happened in no more than 2.5 seconds. I didn't have time to "prepare" for them. I was taking pictures with my family at the Biltmore House. All of the sudden I heard my son's footsteps behind me. I turned, with camera in hand and started shooting. Action shots happen fast. Real fast. You'll notice the ISO is on 100. Last week, I showed you how changing the ISO to 800 or 1600 will result in clearer action shots. (Click here) So why was I shooting pictures of my son running at 100? Because that's what my camera was set on for the shots I was taking just prior to my son running downhill. If I had stopped to change the settings, the opportunity to get any shots would be gone. How did I compensate for such challenging circumstances? Well, I focused on my son, hit the button to take pictures as fast as my camera could (3fps) and I turned with him as he flew past me. First off, notice he stuck his tongue out at me in the first photo. :) Yep, that comes from my kids being on the other side of the camera for so long. Doesn't bother me at all. I think it just adds to the joy of the pictures! Then, notice how the background is blurred and he is fairly clear. At the ISO I was using, and my son's speed, I couldn't get him completely clear. But that's okay. You get a great sense of action. A sense of speed. Of motion. His feet aren't even touching the ground. I want you to understand that in photography, a creative eye and a different perspective mean a lot in taking a good shot. You don't have to get all the technical aspects "just right." But as you learn the technical aspects of your camera, you can then take challenging situations like this and still come out with some great shots. By turning and following my son with my camera, I got great action shots that would have just been totally blurry otherwise. Learn to follow your subject for action shots to create pictures that convey motion through appropriate blurriness. So which of these is your favorite? I love picture #5. And #4. As always, leave me questions or comments below. Or links to your shots! Thanks for dropping by I hope this tips helps. Keep on clicking!