Last Saturday I got to play at the park with one of my favorite models of all time, my daughter Kayleigh. While we were there tossing leaves at each other, I managed to grab a few shots to add to my collection. Here is one of my favorites of the day.
The Treasure Hunt – How It Started
When our family gets together, there is one activity that has become somewhat of a tradition over the years, especially when they take place out near Twenty-nine Palms where my grandparents live. It all started because when I was just a lad, I had a propensity for digging holes in the yard. These holes were big enough for me to jump into them armed with my repeating rubber band gun where I would lie in wait for an unsuspecting victim…usually my dog. I took this strange habit with me to the desert, where I had a ‘designated digging spot.’
On one occasion, I was happily digging away, when I “found” a crudely drawn out map on a piece of paper. The edges of the map were burned, no doubt to make it look authentic…to my surprise, I recognized it to be a treasure map. I studied the map, quickly found the ‘x’ and realized I was already digging in the correct spot. Excited, I showed my dad what I found, and he calmly instructed that I should dig deeper. After what seemed like forever, I finally hit something hard. Clearing the sand away, I found a container the size of a shoebox wrapped in duct tape. With my dad’s help, we opened the box, I spilled the contents onto a table. There was about $20 in change before me, no small sum for a 7 or 8 year old.
Years later, we passed on the treasure hunt experience to my oldest daughters, then about 4 and 5 years old. We had more sophisticated maps and drawings, and treasure to match their particular tastes. They loved treasure hunting so much, we did several more throughout their younger years.
Fast Forward to Present Day
My niece, Jadyn is about 2 1/2 years old, and it was her turn last week-end to take center stage, with a map and shovel in hand. Of course, being such a young treasure hunter, she had ample help from her grandma, the ‘pirate’ that hide the treasure for this get together. She is beautiful, and too smart for her mom’s own good. This pictorial is of the latest chapter in this family tradition. It never fails to bring us together, and sharing the excitement, joy, and laughter with Jadyn was a treasure in and of itself.
People often ask me how I capture the touching images that I do. There really is no magic bullet, or secret that I have, other than being ready and having a camera. So I thought I would provide a few insights that I have, and hopefully, these tips will help you too.
First, a word about equipment, you don’t need a fancy DSLR, or even an expensive point and shoot. Most of the time, all you need is your cell phone. When you really think about it, most people like to share their images on social networking sites like facebook, twitter, flickr, etc, and a smartphone is the perfect device. Chances are, you’re already doing this.
Here is a list of things to think about to get you on your way to taking those images you will treasure for a lifetime.
10 Tips For Capturing Precious Moments
- Keep your eyes open – The more you look around, the more things you will notice around you, and the more opportunities you will see, and eventually shoot.
- Keep your camera with you – As I mentioned before, it doesn’t have to be fancy…to paraphrase someone much wiser than I, the best camera is the one you have with you.
- Take lots of pictures – They say practice makes perfect, and the more pictures you take, the more familiar you will get with how your camera performs, what it’s strengths and weaknesses are, and how to compensate for them.
- Get to know your camera’s special features – If you are using a point and shoot, or DSLR, get to know it’s feature set, at least to the point to where you can quickly make adjustments and take a shot. If you are using a smartphone, download an app or two and play with them, have fun with it…but remember, special effects should be used to enhance the ‘mood’ of a picture, and NOT be used just because.
- Sometimes, the quiet peaceful moments can be the most powerful.
- Anticipation is key – When you’re at a family gathering, you know there is going to be a lot of hugs and kisses, especially as people are coming and going. It is easy to spot, so if you can get a good vantage point, your camera is ready, and you see two people approaching each other with open arms, you stand a good chance of capturing a great shot.
- If you miss a shot, don’t get frustrated, digital is cheap, try, and try again.
- Don’t go for the perfect picture – Cameras can be temperamental, and rarely deliver exactly what you expect. Sometimes the image is blurry, too dark, too light, or any number of other things that may be faulty…the important thing is the mood. Does your image still tell a story, or make you feel something when you look at it? After all, you are capturing a mood, as well as preserving a point in time.
- Take a shot after the ‘shot’ – Very often when people are in front of a camera, they aren’t going to show you their real smile, or their eyes may be in the middle of blinking, try taking a picture just after you’ve taken your first or second take. You may capture a more relaxed smile, or better yet, someone being goofy because they think you’ve already gotten what you want.
- Above all else, have fun, if you’re having fun, so are your subjects, and they will be more relaxed in front of the camera.
Well, that’s it for today’s round of tips. Now get out there and preserve some precious memories of your own.
Last weekend, Kayleigh and I had a really quick photo shoot in my father’s front yard. The only direction I gave her was, “Stand here, and face this way.” I then took a step back, and was amazed as she went through a quick series of poses. This entire series took less than a couple minutes to shoot. Where in the world did she pick this stuff up? Who knows. One thing is certain, she’s a natural.
During the year, I got to shoot a wide variety of settings, and people, from weddings, engagement shoots, model shoots, and just being out and about. This first one is of Peter Christian. We arranged to shoot at Griffith Park Observatory, only problem, rain. We shot anyway, and got some dramatic shots, THANKS to the rain.
What can I say about Wendy Wilson, other than I am a bit smitten. We met at a wedding I was shooting, and it took almost a year to get together. But when we did…we were able to make beautiful images.
In May, I had the honor of working alongside Tina Chapman in Las Vegas. Jake and Melissa were an extremely fun couple, here they are playing it up.
Creative people are always fun to work with, the collaboration that takes place can create some very interesting results. Frduah Boateng is one such multi-talented creative individual. What’s more, he’s a good friend too.
Another model that took me a year to chase down was Devin Coffin. She is stunningly beautiful, and has a fiery personality to match. When we did get together, we shot at the Millenium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.
In downtown Monrovia, there is a vibrant artist community, that gathers regularly during the summer. Here is a musician on one of those events.
Wendy Wilson I back, this time with a guitar!
While walking to Mirror Lake in Yosemite, I was enthralled at how the light filtering through the trees fell upon my friends walking ahead of me.