Thursday, March 18, 2010

Over the Edge - Emotional & Long...

Now, if the title didn't let you know what you were in for, don't say you weren't warned (twice).
So much going on right now...I will forget to mention over a dozen things I'm in the middle of right now, or beginning soon, or the photograph ideas that are swimming around in my brain, the Special Olympics Basketball Tournament session this weekend for a very special family, the maternity shoot I'm planning the last weekend of March in Susanville...but I think today I have gone over the edge, emotionally. I had the extreme pleasure of going to a local teachers classroom & take photographs of the kids she's going to display during Open House. This is a 2nd grade teacher that my youngest son had previously as his own teacher & a wonderful woman to boot. To other amateur & probably most professional photographers, they might be thinking it's not a big deal at all, especially when they hear, I'm not getting paid for what I'm doing, but that is where the bonus comes in for me. It was supposed to be a few photos for a slideshow but I'M getting carried away. I'm taking this & running. The teacher let me take the pictures I wanted to today (outside in the warm sunshine) & this next week, I'm going to ask if we can open the blinds in the classroom. Doesn't sound big I know but they are always drawn, I think the reason is so the room stays cool & kids stay mellow but since I'm getting this chance to take these pictures...I want to do it to the best of my ability & that requires more natural light through windows while we're indoors. I hope she doesn't mind.
BUT TO ME....This opportunity Is HUGE. I was so excited over the idea of my photographs being displayed onto a Smart Board & getting noticed. I started coming up with poses I wanted to photograph the kids in such as on a swing, slide, smiling, making faces, giggling & really just being kids. The day was warm & sunny which makes me the happiest & I was haming it up with the kids, making funny faces, laughing with my head flaling backwards, showing pouting, mad, surprised & shocked expressions on my face to show them it's about being silly, not saying cheese. The first couple of trips to the class early in the year, the kids kept looking at the camera & would smile a fake smile and it was so not what I wanted to see them do. I wanted more natural, soft photos along with posed smiling shots but having a great time while doing it. I let them know I was taking photos of the classroom with them being good & listening to the teacher & got some awesome pictures. Some would look over & smile but only if I smiled first. (BTW, that works like a & they will smile, kids are so amazing & cool). Anyways, I couldn't keep it as just a few photos, ideas starting running through my head of a photo video...What pictures would I include, What songs would I include...I really need more photos, how much time do I need to make it. It's showing up on the Smart Board (huge big screen thing if you haven't seen one yet). Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh. The desire to make this for the classroom was big for me but I am getting a little nervous (And thank you to the people I e-mailed for their opinions on the rough video, I appreciate it in a huge way).
When the hyperventilation subsided, I realized I did have to good plan. The teacher asked to include some of her own pictures (and I will) but she just thinks I'm saving them onto a disc to display them & has no idea what I'm planning, no idea I'm planning this photo video (similar to previous posts), but with more songs & LOTS of pictures, displayed on a smart board for all the parents, kids, Administration, & more to see during OPEN HOUSE to be viewed, critiqued, & maybe skipped over without parents enjoying the moment (oh my), but most importantly... the people that may truly "feel" this video is what makes it special to make. This is the night when the kids get to show their experiences to the parents & some of those were positive one's from me. Everybody who see's this video are potential future clients & that's kind of overwhelming all in itself.
The kids were so excited today when I showed up right after their lunch with a camera. I was swarmed, drilled with questions..."are you taking pictures???" as I'm taking another picture. "Are the pictures for the yearbook???" No, I say, I'm just taking pictures for the school. Some kids that just heard the word "yearbook", started telling others I was taking pictures for the yearbook & was running off to share the info with other friends. (Remember as children, you would sit around in a circle and play the whisper game. Whisper in one's ear & go all the way around the circle til it gets back to you & wasn't at all what was said.) That's what this was like, minus the circle. So, I was asked again & again & again (you get the picture). Then I started hearing "Can you take a picture of me on the swing, Can you take a picture of me on the slide & etc, etc" and of course, at every other possible photo location on the playground, from one end to the other... :)
Anyways, short story long, I made new friends. So many smiles, so much fun, they were great too. One girl kept saying she was too shy but continued to flash her pearly whites when she seen how much fun everyone else was having & soon started posing asking me to take her picture. I seen another a girl on a bench looking all sad & alone, I went over to sit next to her asking if I could take her picture, she brightened up so fast & I made sure she had so much fun that she would follow me around the rest of the lunch break. Another little girl was alone trying to hide around a piece of equipment I was walking around, spying at me on the same piece of equipment. I pretended not to notice her at first then I swung around with a big smile, asking if she thought she fooled me & I again asked if I could take her picture, she answered with a "yes" & even bigger smile. After lunch break , I was taking pictures of the last group in this certain teachers class, I told the kids not to brag about what they got to do for the pictures. They got to run around while I took panning shots, (the last picture of this post has 1 photo of those shots) & I didn't want the others to go in, announcing it & disrupting the classroom. One girl stated, "OK but I'm telling my mom & dad cause that was so much fun". Wow, the feeling is there but you swallow it so you remain "cool" with the kids & not shed that tear knowing you made a kid feel really good & they had fun with you just taking their picture. I know...back to the story...I went back to the classroom & told the teacher I was planning to come back next Thursday for even more photos cause I felt that you can never take too many pictures when you're planning a 20-30 minute Open House video. She was so excited & smiled. She had another group of kids in her class but some recognized me from the lunch break earlier & once again...lit up like diamonds. The little things other can say or express to you, just makes me feel so good, they are excited I'm coming back. Seriously brought tears to my eyes but I maintained my dignity until I got home. I was so tired & I can't wait to go back next week, this is totally making me smile huge thinking about it, those kids gave me this awesome feeling & I hope I returned it to even just a few. My son still goes to that school, it's his last year & he was super happy to see me there as well. He kept giving me hugs & I know the kids were wondering, "why are they hugging & can I hug her too". One little girl just stuck to me like glue, she gave up her basketball to follow me & kept smiling everytime I just looked at her, not even the camera ready to snap her picture. She just seemed happy I was there. Some of the kids thought I was a yard duty teacher & started telling me about how someone did something to them. I told them I wasn't a teacher & sent them to the appropriate lady but as soon as they seen the camera, they didn't go anywhere. They soon forgot about their little squabble & started drilling me with questions, Again.
Now I'm feeling nervous about the photo video, not sure if it's going to be good enough & stressing over the little things. Of course I won't be able to show it here cause they are children, not clients...yet! This little project went from thinking about my future as a photographer, & it should, to how I felt making a few kids smile & feel special. I wish a photographer went to my school, dedicated a few days taking everybodies picture & found those lone kids that probably thought they were invisible to everyone. I was one of those kids. But seriously, kids are the best models to continue my photographic knowledge, they are portrait, action sports, indoor & direct sunlight workshops all rolled into one location. And...the teacher said she might have me take pictures of her baby when she has it, Wow!!! What a day, did I already say that? I included a few pics that didn't show the kids head on, just for privacy sake but you get the idea of the fun that we were having.
I don't think this young lady could have smiled any bigger as she was running circles around me. Such a nice feeling that I can make kids smile so big, I'll be holding onto this feeling for a long time.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

TC & Shannon Slide show - Redding Wedding Photographer

Turn up the volume & leave me a comment. What else can I say about this family that this video doesn't cover? Since their wedding, I've been trying to finish TC & Shannons wedding video & FINALLY came up with something that made me cry. For sure I'm admitting it out loud, that I'm a softy but I'm okay with that. I don't think you have to know anything about this family to feel the love between TC & Shannon. I do & it's not because they're my family, it's because they "have it". I had so much fun taking all their pictures, I'm sure you're going to be seeing more of them in this blogs future. TC & Shannon, I hope you enjoy the video, couldn't have done it without you :). Thanks again for being such a fantastic couple. Congratulations & I wish you many, many years to come. "I run to you".

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