A Maundy Thursday Miracle

I have been to Heaven and it looks something like this:

This is my teenager’s cell phone. Please sit down before you read the next line, because if you have teenagers it might come as a bit of a shock.

His hands are not holding it.

They are not thumbing the buttons into submission.

They are not tapping that indecipherable tribal teen beat.

No, this phone sits silently on the table.

Not only that, but he isn’t. even. in. the. ROOM.

What’s even better than Bo relinquishing the phone?

The fact that I didn’t make him do it.

That’s right. It’s Spring Break. Children throughout the land have one week of freedom to text wantonly into the wee hours if that is how they see fit to spend their hard earned time off.

And if you check your cell phone bill, you’ll confirm it is.

But Bo isn’t.

And before you begin worrying about his well-being, no, he’s not sick and no, he hasn’t lost his thumbs in an unfortunate extreme bowling accident.

I would have told you about that.

Bo has another reason for leaving the phone behind:

Thank heaven for the teeniest tiniest of miracles.

P.S. And please God don’t let them be thinking about anything other than baking cookies or I swear I will go all Sister Maripat Donovan on them. I will.

New! & Improved!

Today I’m proving to myself that I am teachable. I’m posting pictures that I absolutely adore, but also happen to be terribly flawed.

You don’t get better without acknowledging that there’s room for improvement, right? I’m sure Tide would be out of business by now if it weren’t for their ever-evolving New! & Improved! formulas.

So here’s how I would make these pictures New! & Improved! if I had them to do all over again.

Family 1

I really do adore this shot. The colors are timeless, the composure is nice. You get the family dynamic without having to see their faces full on. The problem is in the camera. Once this image gets bigger, it gets grainy. There’s no sense in taking a great shot if when you go to make it bigger it becomes a pile of sand.

Family 2

The youngest girl was rather cold and clingy. The father was very aware of this and I tried to work fast, but the sun was dropping even faster, so I needed her to chipper up quick. As beautiful as the light is on their skin and as happy as I might be with the composure and exposure, I would be hard-pressed to say the youngest girl looks happy to be there. Not exactly an image I’d enlarge and hang over the fireplace.

Telling Secrets

This is probably my favorite image from the entire shoot. The girls are smiling, the sun is kissing their faces and they’re just glowing. I also like that it’s a little off-center which seems to balance out the sun on one side and the girls on the other. So, what’s wrong with it? Again, I feel like the grain is a huge distraction when it’s big. And I think this one deserves to be big.

Girl 1

Girl 2

Girl 4

These last three I’m generally ok with besides the grain. The middle one is out of focus, but there’s a soft quality to it that I’m good with (something I thought I’d never allow myself to say). The problem with these isn’t really a problem with the images as much as the problem with the person behind the camera. The thing you can’t see here is that I wasn’t able to shoot the younger girl on her own at all. The older girl was thrilled to do whatever I asked. The little sister never came around. This is a problem that no technical knowledge can solve. I can learn what every combination of aperture, shutter speed and ISO will offer me, but if I don’t think creatively on the fly, then I might as well go back to stuffing envelopes at United Way. Rather than letting the opportunity slip away like I did (can you hear me still kicking myself?), I should have photographed her clinging to her father’s leg. I should have brought a pretty scarf or toy to distract her from the cold. Bottom line, I should have been more prepared.

So, tomorrow, I will try to show a few things I’ve learned since this wonderful day on the beach in 2006. I hope it means I’m New! & Improved! or at least improving.