Archive: ‘Baseball’



Baseball Stories

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

I have a few more baby tips to post this month but I just had to get these fall baseball photos up! These are all shots from the past few weeks, they are generally not edited meaning they are straight out of my camera because I don’t have time to edit much. I use my Canon 70-200 2.8 lens for all sports…it is an ‘investment’ lens, but…I can’t think of anything I would rather invest in! I keep the ISO at 100 for day games, F-Stop 2.8 then I adjust the shutter speed keeping it really high for the action…1/500-1/1,200 if possible.

I think that the plays in baseball are so fun to capture… but the photo stories are what I love! Here are some reasons why I love baseball:

1. You don’t have to be really big to play this game.

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2. It is good to get dirty. (check out the ball in mid air, the fast shutter keeps that ball clear.

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3. What other sport can you get a shot like this! Note frozen action again with fast shutter.

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4.  I like getting the real story on the ‘out/safe’ call…see what I mean? Still waiting for the  ump  to ask for my ‘photo’ help on these close calls.. he hasn’t asked for my opinion yet!

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5. I like how little 8 year old boys make up a team.

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…and have such a good time.

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…and you can be on the same team with your brother…

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6. I love that Evan can’t play without ‘eye-black’…

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…even at night!

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(I also love that baseball fields have really good lights at night so I can still get good shots!)

7. I love the baseball stuff… it’s just cool…the old leather, the balls the earthy colors….

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8. I love that ‘Super Heroes show up at every game!

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(you have to admit that he looks like a cousin of spider man  – – I am creating a new super hero character: Baseball Boy!)

9. I love that Andrew caught that foul tip on the third swing and got the batter out…(check his glove closely for the ball)…and I got the picture to go with his very exciting story  that he shared at the end of the game! …. (did I mention how excited he was?!)

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10. Finally,I love the little moments that I get to be a part of….. from a distance.

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These shots are all posted with little or no editing, just a little contrast adjustment on a few of them. It is important  to get comfortable with your camera so you can spend time getting the shots and not spend all your time post editing.

Mom tip for the day: look for the stories and click away. The plays are great and you don’t want to miss them but don’t forget to watch the boys through your lens off field to get the rest of the story.  Shooting sports is exciting because it is so unpredictable  – – but it can also be hard because it is so unpredictable. Practice as much as you can.  It will pay off!

Baseball Favorites

Monday, November 21st, 2011

I have been out shooting a lot of ‘life’ these past weeks and missed a week on the site, Oh No!

The boys finished up their Fall Ball season- – here are some favorites from the last few games:

Always look for the details wherever you go and lower your f-stop to get the blur.

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The bat colors are fun to photograph every season.

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Sometime you get lucky and the sun works for you.

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And sometime you remember to watch the game through your lens and actually get the ‘play’.

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I love his red socks and he loves the red dirt!

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I like the shadows of the fence with the ball, don’t forget to shoot the ball whatever sport you are shooting if there is a ball.

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How can this not be one of my favorites! The tip here is to watch the game through your camera lens; if you don’t you will miss it! He was a bit excited to get to first base! I love the look of the little boy on the left!

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Was he really standing on his hands??? YES!

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The end of the game is the best…especially when you win!

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But the most fun is the hope that you will be the one to get the game ball..complete with an orange Gatorade smile!

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Stay tuned for one more post on the final game of the season!

Camera Mom Tip:

My tip for today is to remind you to back up your photos in a few places before the busy Holidays hit! Do it today!

Playing Catch

Monday, November 7th, 2011

When I picked up my camera to capture this fun story of the boys trying to catch pop ups in the front yard, I knew I didn’t want the same‘ol shots. So I tried something different and got out of my ‘traditional box’ and got down on their level…grass and all. I literally got on my elbows for these and I don’t  know who had more fun in the front yard that day – – me or them! We were all playing catch: they were trying so hard to catch the ball and I was trying so hard to catch the moment!

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I love the ‘face’ that Evan is making – – – he is trying so hard!

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Can you just hear him laugh??!!

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Evidently Andrew has his own ‘face’ when playing.

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I like the angle here and the perspective.

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Andrew is happy that his brother caught one!

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the f-stop made these shots pop. If the trees were as in focus as the kids they would not have been as interesting. The f-stop was 2.8, the ss was 1/650 (because they were moving fast).

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I got lucky and got him looking at me…

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Again, the angle here makes this shot way more interesting.

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This shot below could have been better if I was able to get their faces but at least I did get the ball!

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This shot is just fun!

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But if I had to pick my favorite I think this is it; the sun on his face and the grass all around makes me smile.

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I am so happy that I decided to play ‘catch’ with my boys! These shots are priceless to me!

Camera Mom Tip

Get down on their level and shoot the everyday stuff!

and…

don’t forget to back up your photos!!!!! How many copies do you have?

Fall Ball

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Some people have told me that sports can be hard to shoot. After all…you get the team shot and the kid up at bat or maybe under the basket or running downfield. Exciting..yes but exactly how many shots can you have of the same things? 

I agree that it can be a bit of a challenge. I have even talked to professionals who say that it is hard to get anything ‘new’ game after game.  My camera mom feeling about that is that you have to look for the story and once you start looking you will find something very worthwhile about your sports photography! Here are a few shots from our last game. Soon I will post a whole section on my favorite ‘storytelling’ baseball and gymnastics shots so stay tuned!

I never get tired of these type of shots; this shot says so much about the game of baseball: the friendships, the boy-ish-ness, and yea…the all important snack after the game!

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Does it get any better then this? The victory at home plate! This shot is different every time for every kid so be sure to have your camera ready and remember: don’t wait for ‘the shot’ just  keep shooting…

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The run from first. I love getting the in-mid-air shots.

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The stuff hanging around the park.

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The granddad keeping score.

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the little sister..playing.

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The untied shoes.

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The run home.

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The successful (?) play…

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The big ball in those little hands…

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The secrets shared that we will never know..

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There are so many stories to tell with my camera on the baseball field;  stories that only you the camera mom can ‘see’. I can’t wait for the game this weekend to see what else I can capture in this ‘baseball story’ this season!

Happy photo storytelling!

Look What we Found at the End of the Rainbow This Rainy Weekend!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

We were out for lunch this rainy Friday, walked out to the parking lot and saw this ‘baby’ under a car… wet, friendly, sweet and very lost.  She is about 5-6 weeks old and apparently got separated from her mama somehow.  So, my oldest son decided that he had a new pet and the rest is history!

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You have to admit that there are not too many things cuter than a kitten!

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(most of these shots are straight out of the camera but this one was edited in Memory Manger to darken the contract)

She has stolen all the hearts in this house,

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including our dog who has taken on a new job as nanny!

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…she has proven to Chris that she loves watching Sunday afternoon football (as much as I do!) so he says she can stay!

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It rained all weekend…and even though our baseball games were all rained out that didn’t stop Evan from playing ‘baseball’ in the  driveway. I love rain photos – – just be careful not to get your camera wet!

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Most of these baseball photos were taken with a high ISO 1000 because it was dark and rainy,  f stop 2.8 and ss 1/500 to capture the action.

The kitty photos were taken indoors with the ISO set to 2500, f stop 2.8 and a very slow ss 1/32, because it there was not much light coming in the window with such an overcast day. I generally don’t shoot lower than 1/200 with my kids but sometime you have to sacrifice clarity for exposure!

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We had a happy relaxing weekend! Hope you did too!

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A few Camera Mom Tips for photographing pets:

  1. Turn the flash off! This will avoid the green eye problem.
  2. Be patient and wait for your shot.
  3. Get animals interacting together when you can.
  4. It helps to have someone stand behind you to get the pets attention because you can’t tell them to look at the camera…or you can tell them but they won’t know what the heck you are talking about!
  5. Keep treats in your pocket (instead of candy!) to keep them interested.
  6. Get on their level.
  7. Pay attention to your background and move around to avoid complicated backgrounds.
  8. Get their face in the shot.
  9. Pets like natural light as much as people.
  10. Grab the shot when you can; unlike your kids you can’t redo your pet shots very well, once they run out of the room or under the chair they are gone!

10 Tips: Birthdays and Baseballs!

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

My camera was working overtime this weekend with 2 birthday parties, 2 baseball games and evenings with friends over! Here are a few photo highlights and some camera mom tips to go with them!

Big News: Evan (finally) got the game ball! Evan has been ‘praying’ for the game ball for quite some time so you can imagine how excited he was to finally have it in his dirty little hands! (He is sleeping with it!)

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Tip: These types of shots look best when they are off center. If you can’t position the shot off center while you are taking it, you can do it in an easy post edit crop. Note that the blurred background (low f-stop number) makes the subject stand out.

Coach Chris was showered with birthday hugs from the team..

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Tip: Zoom in and get the action close up. It is fun to watch from the side, but it is more fun to look at photos after! Be the mom that gets the shot…or be friends with a mom that does!

This camera mom was glad to get the shot of the hit…with the ball.  I call  this my ‘going fishing’ shot because you have to try a lot and learn to wait patiently.

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Tip: Set your camera to high speed continuous shooting so you can get lots of frames per second and increase your chances of getting the bat and the ball in the same shot.

We went to a friend’s birthday party and I had a great time shooting the wonderful crafty creations of the mom who is very talented … ‘making’  this the most creative Lego birthday ever!

The centerpiece was a work of Lego art.

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Tip: When at an event, look for the decorations that define the theme and shoot them before too much activity starts. Once the party starts you are distracted.

The cake was a wonderful big Lego block!

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Tip: get close-ups of the cake details. This is really fun to do with a low f-stop number on your camera setting to blur the background.

Request natural light for the cake shot if possible. This porch allowed  wonderful filtered light which made the picture taking a bit easier. Remember that you want a high shutter speed if possible which means that you need nice light on board.

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Tip:  ‘Stage’ this all important candid shot if needed; we put the centerpiece near the cake for this shot and I checked the background before we started singing.

The finishing touches were everywhere! From handmade party streamers…

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…to the decorated paper plates!

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Finally the piñata…which was a Lego art project! I now know who to call when ‘my’ next middle school science project is due!

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Tip: Ask a friend to come help you take photos of your birthday parties. No need to hire anyone, just offer to swap with another camera mom (or dad). It is not fun to throw the party AND shoot it at the same time! Jot down a list of what you want them to get ahead of time and take plenty of pre-party shots yourself. 

We also got a group shot and a shot of each child.

Moving on to our second game of the weekend! I practiced getting a few more fun shots of the ‘hits’.

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And I met my camera mom goal this game to get some shots of the actual ‘plays’.  These shots are difficult because you have to anticipate them and not actually see them first.

So what do you think? Was he safe??

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or out?

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Tip: Know the game. Since you have to anticipate the play, you will have to know where it is going to potentially ‘happen’. Aim and shoot and look at what you got later later. Again the high speed continuous shooting mode (look in your manual to see if you have it) is your best friend with these shots. My camera does 6 shots a second but 3 or 4 a second is perfectly fine.

The ‘game ball’ ceremony at the end of the game…(note the little guy on the bottom right: is he trying to bribe the coach??!!)

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But perhaps the most priceless are the shots you get on the sidelines at these games. These are the little slices of life that I LOVE the most…..

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Tip: Keep your eyes open for what is going on around you and not just what is happening on the field.

How fun to get this ‘proud mama’ shot series of The Coming Across Home Plate Hug in full swing!

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ISO 200, shutter speed 1/780, F stop 2.8

Tip: Be on the lookout for the un-posed emotional moments that are easy to miss because they are so fun to watch… don’t think too hard, just keep shooting when they are happening…something will turn out!

I have more to share but this is enough for one post!  This time of year is so full of photo taking opportunities…with the end of school and graduations and weddings…get your camera out and keep it charged up and near your car keys! Don’t miss a shot!

‘Peace’? or 2 Outs?!

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

 

This shot tells a story.

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Are you really telling the story with your photography? A picture should be ‘worth a thousand words’ …. or….. one great story!

When you are out shooing your ‘life’ events….get past the temptation to just shoot the facts and ‘document’ the day… go for the fun story instead. The story ‘happens’ right in front of you but  you might just miss it if you don’t know what to look for. Your ‘photo story’ should include the unusual things that don’t typically get captured.

Stories demand an emotional response from the reader, a great story is like a great journey that shows you things you have  never seen before and will never forget. Stories paint wonderful descriptive pictures in your mind. I believe that just like a story paints a picture, you pictures should paint a story.

It is no surprise that the same things that make a good story make a good photo:

A conflict.

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Interesting (handsome!) characters.

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Interaction.

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A resolution.

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Action.

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A sense of values.

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Success.

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Playing in the dirt (OK that is just in baseball photos!)

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Joy.

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Sheer Joy.

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Yawning (OK that is just in baseball too, wait a minute, is there yawning in baseball?)

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Getting a shot of the ball in mid air.  (another baseball moment!)

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Anticipation.

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Accomplishment.

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A happy ending.

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When you are shooting an event, remember that you are telling a story with your camera.  Get the details that say what is going on. When you begin to ‘feel’ an emotion (happy, sad, frustration) start shooting.

Every time I go to one of our games I think that surely I have taken all the baseball pictures that there are to take and every time I am surprised at the different shots that appear.  They are like little gifts for me to open with my camera. You can’t plan for them, you can’t create them, they look different every time and they are full of surprise. They are little slices of life that come and go and will be forgotten if you don’t get them safe and secure on your memory card. So the next time you go to a game, charge your camera battery, leave the book you are reading at home and turn off your cell phone and  and see what great story you can capture with your photos!

Camera Mom Tip: I finally learned that the things that are happening when I am tempted to lower my camera and watch (sometime with mouth hanging open!) are the things that I should be shooting. Good photographers are shooting while everyone else is laughing, clapping  and pointing.

The Gift of Magic Light!

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Every photographer knows that there is a very short window of time in the evening right before sunset where the most wonderful light appears. It makes your photos naturally beautiful. Remember that good photography is all about light: having the right kind and enough of it.   This light is a gift. But it is only available for a few minutes right before sunset…so don’t turn your back or take your kid to the bathroom…you will miss it if you do!

I ‘found’ it on the ball field this week during one of our evening games. It seems easier to find when you are at the beach, an open ball field, or any other open space like a soccer field (with the beautiful green grass) or a lake (water) setting. This same light may not be in your backyard because of the way that the houses will cast a shadow and block the sun by that time of day. I am not a pro, but I know enough to know that this light is powerful; it is magic. I also know that if I blink I will miss it and if it is overcast it won’t be there at all,  so I try to capture this light as often as I can.

This is the sun just minutes before the light turns golden… it is bright and harsh and washes out your subject which is why we generally don’t care for photos taken in the full sun at high noon, or in this case, bright late afternoon sun.

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But then a few minutes later, the sun starts to drop a little more and turns a little softer and a little more golden…if you notice, the air temperature usually drops a bit too.

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Do you see the long shadows below? This is the indication that you are hitting the sweet magic spot with the sunlight. When your shadows are short, the sun is more overhead and harsh.  When they are long, the light tends to be softer and a little more golden.

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This shot below was taken at the peak of the great light. You can see how the light gets  softer and has a beautiful warm ‘color’ to it. Notice the soft outline of light around his hat and back? If it were high noon this shot would look totally different. This is also a good example of a low f stop (blurry background) and low ISO (because it was still bright outside). That combination makes for great shots when the light is good.

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Here is the soft outline again on the coach’s hat and face and  down around Evan’s left side. This photo is ‘back-lit’.  Even though Evan’s face is not as bright as I generally like, this still works for me. If the sun was much brighter his face would be darker and it would not be a good exposure.

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Here it is again; you can see that soft backlight on his helmet and hair,

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and here you can see the long shadow as he runs for home … the ‘clock is ticking’ on the play…and the good light.

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(ISO 160, f stop 2.8, ss 1/1250)

Finally the sun goes down completely (below) and while it is still light outside,  it is very  different. See how gray this photo below looks compared to the photo above? It was taken 6 minutes later and the sun had already dropped.  Wow! What a difference. The sun had set and it was not directly on the field any longer. The shadows virtually  go away, there is still light but it is not golden.  Close up shots can still be had (have them look toward where the sun was and look for the catch-lights in their eyes to be sure you have enough light on their face) but you have to be quick. You will have to start increasing your ISO and eventually it will get too dark to shoot without field lights.

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(ISO 160, F 2.8, ss 1/800 lower because it was getting darker)

Here is another  shot on the beach of the long shadows. This was taken during the ‘magic’ few minutes just before the sun set with my point and shoot camera last year! You can see how the sand had a ‘gold’ cast to it. That gold cast looks good on people too!

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I’m sure I will have more on this subject this summer, but for now, tuck this tip away in the back our your ‘camera mom brain’ and start looking for this great light. Try to see if you can recognize it and  remember to have your camera ready when the magic light appears….it only lasts a few minutes….that’s why I call it magic!!

most shots above taken on ISO 160, F 2.8 SS 1/1250

Camera Mom Tip: When you see the shadows getting longer grab your camera and shoot away…take advantage of the magic light moments!

Movie or Real Life?

Monday, April 4th, 2011

We finally had our first game! After days of spring showers last week,  we got to play ball.

Evan, ‘the actor’,  was so excited to play that he put his uniform on four hours before the game started and told us that he had to put it on early because he ‘needed to be repaired’ for the game! (prepared).  He could hardly wait to get to the ball field. He was a six year old on a mission….that he didn’t tell us about….a mission to act out a scene from a movie: The Sandlot.

He walked up to the plate in front of the crowd and pointed to the sky (where he was going to hit the ball, the scene from the movie).

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The crowd cheered as he hit the ball.

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He made it to first base.

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He gave his dad ‘ten’ and gave me that toothless grin!

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He ended his  performance with a final salute….and a successful trip to home plate.

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Evan was living in his pretend world…something he does quite often; we have just never seen it on the baseball field quite like this! I don’t want to forget his world. I know that one day we will wake up and he will be in the ‘real’ world and this sweet one will  be hard to remember.

My camera helps me look for and capture the unique fun things about my kids and my family and celebrate them. What can you photograph about  your child today? What is it about your child that is unique and special and maybe a bit ‘out of the box’? Go get it and tell a story about it  – -  trust me, a few years from now you will be so glad you did!

Camera Mom Sports Photo Tip: Be baseball ready! I mean camera ready! Watch them play through the lens when shooting sports. Be ready to get the spontaneous shot because you can’t ask for the replay. I had no idea that Evan was going to put on this act at the plate but I was watching him through my lens and was ready to click something, I wasn’t sure what it was going to be but I was ready for anything. If I had not been watching through my lens I would have missed the split second shot….and  I have missed plenty of great shots in the past because I wasn’t camera ready!

Little things that Make a Great Weekend Great

Monday, March 28th, 2011

We had a very full weekend; in fact, it just doesn’t get much better!  The perfect combination of sports, fun, family and ‘car candy’!

The challenge as a photo mom is to figure out a way to capture it well and enjoy it at the same time. The idea is to be confident enough with your camera that you aren’t stressing over the all important photos that will, by Monday morning along with the dirty laundry, be the only proof that the weekend happened. Your every day life is so important to celebrate and your photos will help you do just that!

We started with a fun ‘bonus’ visit from Aunt Donna! She only comes a few times a year but decided to squeeze in an extra visit to get to experience a triple header: the boys Opening Day/Game for baseball,  Melissa’s State Gymnastics meet and a college visit with Adam (which was near the meet).

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The opening day was so fun! Even though we got rained out for the actual afternoon game, the morning festivities marked the official beginning of spring  ball…and we had our new uniforms!

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(candid group shots with teams can be hard, try different things: sitting them all on the top bleacher helped keep them ‘still’ for the shot!)

The excitement was plenty ….

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as were the hats…

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but eventually so was the rain : (

So,  we gathered the crew a little ahead of schedule, packed up our very smallish-feeling van and headed 4 hours down the road to the meet.

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(sign photos are good to help mark the event just in case you forgot where you went!)

Melissa has prepared hard all season for this State Meet. Gymnastics is a very complicated blend of skill, mental toughness, nerves and will.  For us moms, this has to be one of the hardest sports to watch as your kids are doing back flips on a 4 inch plank of wood way up in the air, catapulting off vaults, swinging off high bars and pretending that the ‘floor’ is a trampoline. Thank goodness baseball is played on the ground, that’s all I have to say about that! I am not sayin’ that it is the hardest sport out there but …well maybe I am.  Every meet that goes by seems to get harder on this mama!

So, what makes a good meet?

Is  it the  perfect coaching?

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or the perfect skills?

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or the perfect equipment?

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or the perfect handstand?

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Is it the perfect hair? Complete with bows and glitter?

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(I keep meaning to ask…do moms get points for rolling 30 little foam rollers the night before in the hotel room with 2 little boys jumping on the bed yelling?)

Is it a perfect beam or floor routine ?

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Is it a perfect score or  ‘place’ on the awards podium?

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We all know that there is nothing perfect about it….

…that is what makes it ‘perfect.’

So what really makes  a great meet great in the eyes of a 13 year old girl?

It is the warm teary celebration hug when your teammate just accomplished a skill for her first time! At State!!

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It is about knowing for real that your team ‘has your back’ (especially when you have an itch!)

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It is the feeling in your heart that you know you did your best… you ‘fed your good wolf’ and made your beam series and nailed your best bars….2 goals you set for yourself.

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And you had a blast doing it!

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Plus you get a few new medals for your bedroom wall and they gave  you a cool new purple leo for the girls who are representing your state at Regionals… with ‘diamonds’ on it!

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It feels good to ‘place’ at State there is no way around that,  but a great meet is also about loving relationships that get a chance to say ‘you are important to us’  and ‘we believe in you.’

It is about your little brothers supporting you for 6 hours and staying out of trouble.

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It is about your aunt flying down from Chicago and about the fun celebration afterwards….. (and your mom trying to take the dreaded awful restaurant table photo.)

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And being embarrassed when your mom makes you all stand together for another photo in the parking lot in front of someone else’s car while people are walking by watching…and it is cold….

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and then realizing that (once she does a little crop) we are glad that we have a happy  reminder of the weekend of us all together…and you might just want to put this one in the empty frame that is on your dresser.

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it is about standing next to your older brother who is in college and you miss  him but can’t really say…and smiling when your mom wants one more photo (even though the ‘gutter’  is growing out of your head! ….(oh well…. note to self…mom photo tip: always watch the backgrounds!!)

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It is about forgetting toothbrushes again (and getting new ones at the hotel) and packing pillows and blankets and getting ‘car candy’ with your allowance when we stop for gas…. 

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and making a fort with your blanket in the back  seat with your little brothers and loving their 6 year old silly faces and charm….

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and agreeing with their movie choices… because you are the big sister.

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At the end of the day, it is about the ‘life glitter’: the extra little fun stuff that fills in the gaps and makes everything sparkle. …   It is also about your girlfriends and coaches and family-fans; the people you love …. and the family trip – – that is what makes a great meet great when you are 13. 

We love to celebrate Melissa and her accomplishments and her placing in the top ten in the state. But of course, more than that, we are so thankful that she has the amazing opportunity at the age of 13 to learn so many things that this sport teaches her … and us…… about life: the discipline, the pay off, the goals, the humility, the love and the friendships…..we are so blessed.

I really don’t want to forget this meaningful stuff  that is sprinkled on the top of our daily life.  The simple things make it all worth it. That is why I pack my camera, because on Monday mornings I need to remember the richness of the blessings. I can’t afford for those memories to fade with my laundry.

These blessings in our life simply must be documented and remembered and enjoyed.  My photos help me do that.  Your photos will help you do that too.

Use your photos to love your family… just a little bit more.

photo mom tip: even though I know that you want to enjoy the special moments and events in your kids lives, remember to take the photos. You are the family photo journalist. You must get the photos as they are important for your stories; they fill in the emotional details of your life where words fall short.  You will be so glad you asked for the group shots by the cars : ) Learn to ‘tell the story’ with  your camera and don’t be shy.

 

most of the indoor gym shots were shot with a very high iso, a very low F-Stop and I tried to keep the shutter speed over 1/200…. unedited… because I have a car to unpack!

 

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