Avery is blessed with some fantastic friends. Ben is one of them.
I took this photo while we were at camp yesterday.
When I wrote about starting this project last week, I mentioned the story of the Children of Israel gathering manna. (You can read the story here.) In the story the Children of Israel gather manna six days a week. They have a day of rest (the sabbath) when they eat manna they gathered the day before.
I am going to do the same with my project this year. I'm taking a day off every week and sharing a photo from the day before.
His mom told me he was camera shy. He was. I had some fun with him and it wasn't long before I got this for his mom:
With memories of his fifth birthday fresh in his mind, Atticus wanted to make sure my birthday was a real birthday .
"What kind of present would you like? A broom?"
"We need some decorations for your birthday."
Avery quietly went to her room and got out colored paper. Before long, she had this paper chain for me.
The kids helped with my cake this morning too.
In January of 2010, I got a call from my brother, Joe. (Take a few minutes and check out his website. You will love watching his work.) He was starting a "365." He was going to post a photo every day on Flickr all year long. I talked to him about how great projects are. "It's not about the photos it's about the process of creation," I said. "That is something I'd love to do someday."
I got off the phone and folded some laundry. I called him back and said, "I am going to start a 365 too. I'll get a photo up soon." Joe said, "I'll look for your photo later today."
I set up a Flickr account and posted my first photo that day.
Did I know what I was getting into? Not at all.
For my first 365, I started at the beginning of the new year in cold, dark January.
This time I'm starting on my birthday. The beginning of a new year that starts in the warm, bright summer.
There are many reasons not to do a year long project. Many reasons. You know them. You have them too. They are reasonable. (We don't have time. Our lives are already full, full, full.)
Here is why I decided to do another 365.
About halfway my first 365 Project, I began to have confidence that if I showed up (got my camera off the shelf and looked around me) I would get a photo for the day. Every day, there would be something.
It reminded me of the story in Exodus of God giving the Children of Israel their daily bread: manna. Every morning they would gather the manna and there would always be enough. They couldn't save extra for another day. They had to trust that the next day they would be provided for.
I'm starting a new 365 because I have realized that this kind of project feeds me.
What kind of project would feed you? What is keeping you from starting a creative project?
I'd love to have you join me. Comment below or send an email to email@example.com so I can look for your photos.
Do you have a macro lens? I love mine. I don't use it nearly as much as my 50mm. I have a 100mm macro. It is just the thing for noticing the beautiful detail in small things.
On days when too many things are out of place inside, I go outside with my macro lens and take a close look at something. When I get up close to something like these flowers, I see something new and beautiful.
This week - Try It: Move in Close to see something in a way you didn't before.
He was running around outside avoiding the inevitable: bedtime. I caught him, took a photo or two, and carried him upstairs for jammies.
The first photo reminded me of this one taken almost three years ago to the day.
It's a question I ask all day. It's tough to keep track of her.
This time she was doing one of her favorite things.
My seven year old had a very loose front tooth.
She was wiggling it for days.
I would think, "I need to get a picture of that before it's too late." Then I would think, "Did I get the chicken out of the freezer for dinner?"
Fortunately for me, Avery keeps her loose teeth around as long as possible. Even though I waited, I didn't miss my chance.
(Avery didn't want to take the time for these photos. I sweetened the deal for her with a cookie or two.)
This week, anticipate a change that is about to take place. Try It: Take a picture before and after.
As always, I love to see what you come up with. Send your photos to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
This week's Try It is an answer to a question from Marcin:
How exactly do you manage to have a 1kg huge DSLR with you while out and about with the kids? I find it impractical with my little one, not to mention 2 of them at the same time Do you use some smart strap/bag or just don't care if you bang it by accident? Any advice on that would be welcome by other parents too.
I wasn't always in the habit of carrying my camera. It used to be a big deal to carry my camera out and about with my kids.
When my son was a baby, I had a small point and shoot that I carried instead of my DSLR. It was easy to carry but I couldn't get the same kind of quality in the photos that I got with my "big camera."
My camera carrying habits changed when I decided to join my brother in a 365 Project on Flickr. (Posting a photo from every day of a year.) It didn't take long to realize that in order to keep daily photographs interesting, I was going to have to take my camera out of the house!
At the start of my year of photos, I carried my camera when we were going somewhere I thought would be interesting like the museum or zoo. After a few months, I started carrying it on walks in the park more often. Halfway through the year, I began taking my camera with me to the library, grocery store, hair salon... wherever I went. (Yes. I did get teased by friends and neighbors about having a camera in hand at all times.)
I didn't get great photos every time I brought my camera. I did get practice taking photos in many different situations. I also got over self consciousness about taking pictures in places that people didn't expect a person to be taking pictures - like the grocery store.
Here is my answer to your question Marcin:
I do not have a smart strap or bag. (I'm open to suggestions!)
I do care if I bang my camera or lenses but not as much as I used to.
If it looks like rain, I make sure to have a waterproof bag with me.
I asked Savanna to take some photos of me with my camera this morning on our walk to school this morning.
In the above photo I am using my 100 mm lens with a big lens hood. The hood is good, cheap protection for the front of the lens.
I usually have my 50mm lens on my camera which is much smaller. This morning, my darling assistant wanted to use the 50. (I love that she has an opinion!)
As you can see, it can be awkward at times. Bending down and keeping the camera from falling down is tricky.
It is impractical to carry a big camera with you all the time.
And, it is the best thing I did to improve my photography.
Because I go to the trouble having my camera with me, I'm more likely to take photos.
Taking more photos = better photos. It's that simple.
Beautiful morning light. My boy doing what he loves in his favorite shirt. A reminder of an ordinary day's gifts.
This week Try It. Take your camera with you even though you don't imagine anything will be worth photographing. Carry it even though it's not convenient.
Show me what you get. Send your photos to jenny@ familiarlight.com
Today I'm sharing photos sent by - you - my readers - who are trying it!
First: Sneaking Around
This one is from Joy. She is almost halfway through a 365 project which you can see here.
I love the porch light, beautiful daughter and she's reading an honest to goodness letter.
Second: Getting Down in the Dirt
This one is from Marcin. You can find more of his work here.
Marcin writes: This was taken in full sunlight with a scrim, a light modifier diffusing the light. I put it on a chair to shield the little one from light and get nicer shadows.
You almost need an assistant, but it is worth it.
Crazy cute baby and perfect light.
This is from Zane, whose beautiful blog is Amabellen. She got down in the dirt to get this shot of her daughter's concentration.
The grass in front mirrors the branches behind. It also captures such a pure expression.
Thank you for sharing your images with me.
Enjoy the weekend!
Some days, it seems like most of our day was sunshine with a few clouds.
Some days, I climb the stairs at bedtime, exhausted, with unhappy voices echoing in my head. Are these kids ever happy?
Well, yes. They are. Every day for at least a few split seconds. (1/200 of a second for the above photo.)
Yesterday, we met cousins at a playground. We played and played. My kids were screaming as we got into the car (tired, hot and hungry). Atticus was clamoring for a milkshake. I am not one to say no to a milkshake.
We got one. They shared it.
This gets to the heart of why I take photos almost every day. Sometimes it is hard to remember that these sweet moments happen every day. But, I have proof.
This week - Try It: Notice the Sweet Stuff.
If you asked me, "Do Atticus and Augusta laugh together?" I would probably say, "I don't know. Atticus laughs after he knocks her down."
But look! They do laugh together. I hadn't noticed.
I'd love to see what you notice this week. Send your photo in an email to email@example.com
Coming on Friday: photos from readers who have been trying it. (Want in? It's not too late.)
Did you enjoy reading this post? Do you have a question? Grammatical error to report? Frustration with your camera setting? I'm all ears.
Leave a comment. Send me an email. I'd love to hear from you.
I am so happy to be part of a blog circle with some fantastic photographers. Once a month we create a post with the theme - for the love. Follow the link at the end of the post to the next blog in the circle. Keep following links, and you will find yourself right back where you started.
This month: birthday celebrations and how our family showered our birthday boy and girl with love on their birthdays.
This morning I counted 24 birthday celebrations I have orchestrated since taking on my role of mother.
We have come a long way. My first daughter had a big party on her first birthday. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends were invited to celebrate our baby girl. She was happy to be part of it but clearly, the party was for mom and dad.
We no longer celebrate with big parties. But we do celebrate.
That's the boy sipping ginger ale on the morning of his birthday. Yup. He had a tummy bug and wasn't feeling so great. His sisters were also sick and home from school.
The good news: there was no party to cancel.
His dad stayed home from work and took him to out to a construction site. (WAY better than a bunch of five year olds running around the house in Atty's eyes.)
He didn't eat much cake but loved blowing out his candles and opening gifts.
The best gift: an excavator! It was in pristine condition for five minutes.
The next morning we woke up to our baby's... gulp... little girl's birthday.
We went out to the park for a bubble blowing extravaganza!
Time with dad and mom.
Cake and candles.
I didn't know when I was celebrating my older girls' birthdays at this age that a very simple day can be satisfying and full to the brim with love and celebration.
Happy Birthdays to Atticus and Augusta! Love, love, love you.
And now on to the next blog! Follow the circle to Veronica Armstrong's post.
A year and a half ago, I bought materials to make dolls for all three of my girls. I planned to have them done by Christmas 2012. I started the dolls but never finished.
My reasons were simple - no time, no space.
I decided on a smaller goal. Just one doll for Augusta on Christmas. Again, I didn't finish.
I set my sights on her second birthday. While crafting her doll, I listened to my inner dialogue.
It sounded like this: "Are the eyes even? Is the mouth too small? Will this stitch hold? The stitches are so uneven. I don't really like the shape of the legs." It went on and on. What was left out of the chatter going on was, "I'm making a doll for my daughter who is... turning two."
I listened to my darling inner critic prattle on and sewed anyway. I finished it the night before her birthday and wrapped it up.
She opened it on her birthday and was held it for a minute or two. Then she put it down and played with something else. Her sister, Avery, picked it up, hugged it and took it to her room. (Where it remains.)
I didn't hit a home run for Augusta with this doll, but I learned that "no time!" and "no space!" are not the reasons my projects don't get done by Christmas.
I've started to call the inner dialogue while I work my inner third grader. She wants perfect, matching stitches so no one will look at her work and say, "It's not so great."
I listened to my inner third grader as I made a photo book for Augusta. "Are the photos straight? Who are you leaving out? Will Mom like the photo of herself?"
I said, "It's okay, honey. It's for a two year old who may or may not love the book. But she will not care if the pictures are straight as long as she can tear the wrapping paper."
Oh, finger paints. Another great birthday gift. Monday I will tell you about two less than perfect gifts.
What will you enjoy creating this weekend?
A loaf of homemade bread? A song about the spring flowers? A story made up at bedtime?
This week's Try It is so simple ~ you are going to love it.
But... it is bad news for your favorite pair of pants.
Do you know the difference between the photo above and this next photo?
Same adorable girl playing in the dirt. Same time of day. Same camera. Same lens. Same settings.
I only changed one thing: I stood up for the second photo.
This week I offer you a very simple task: get down on your knees and see how it changes your photographs.
Or getting down on my knees:
I love this photo (above) because of the girls' expressions and what is happening between them. If I had been standing at that moment instead of kneeling, it wouldn't have been the same photo. It would have been hard to see their faces and the background would have been the grass.
This week Try It: Get Down in the Dirt.
Send your favorite from the week to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I'd love to see what happens when you get down in the dirt.
One more thing... Getting a lower angle is just one of the the many choices you have when taking a photo. I'm encouraging you to make a choice - which angle looks the most interesting to you - instead of just standing there.
A special thanks to my lovely assistant, Savanna! (Who is rockin' the low angle!)
Happy Birthday to our five year old!
It is so tempting to get your child's attention for a photo. I know. We adore their lovely faces.
But this week, sneak up on them. Quietly. Don't get their attention. Stay outside the room if possible.
Maybe even catch them at some mischief.
I have an advantage here. I get my camera out every day. To my kids it is a non-event. The more often you can get your camera out without imposing on your child, the more they will ignore you.
You can gain this advantage too - but it will take some time and some discipline. (No: "Look over here honey!") They are used to giving you a smile and waiting until you go about your business.
When you are done capturing them quietly, go ahead and say, "Hey!"
This week TRY IT: Sneak Around and see what happens.
Send me anything you've tried, this week or any other week ~ email@example.com
Have a great week!