Family Time

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I am far from a professional portrait photographer. I’m far from a professional anything photographer. So when my sister-in-law asked me to take some family photos for her towards the end of last year, my natural reaction was to panic. Had the request come from anyone else, my answer probably would have been a flat out no! But, because it came from family I felt a little give. I discussed my worries with my husband (I don’t know how to pose people; My photos are nothing compared to the array of professionals around town; I’ve never attempted to capture a large group before) and eventually decided that I would give it a go.

It took a bit of organising to decide on a time for a session that would suit everyone, we had to work around children in school, preschoolers, a recently born baby, and the roster of a Police Officer in training; all up there are eight people in the family, with the children ranging in age from newborn (creeping up on six months old now) all the way up to nine years old. We set a date and I set about researching ideas for capturing the family in the best way possible.

Part of my research was practising on anyone who would let me point the camera in their direction, and trying to find a way to run through some group poses to give me an idea of settings; I wanted to make sure everyone was in focus and able to be seen. So I called upon a friend and his family, tacked them onto ours, and voila! the perfect practice family. Unfortunately, most of those photos were horrendous and ended up finding their way to the cutting room floor. No fault of the models, all down to my lack of experience and skill in that area.

When the day rolled around I was still extremely nervous about it all, and I think I let them get the better of me. I didn’t come away with very many useable images, and I felt that I had wasted everyones time in even attempting the session. I wallowed for a little while in my own disappointment, and eventually told my sister-in-law what was going on. I wanted to try again, but didn’t want her to have to go through the hassle of organising all the children again when I didn’t even know that I would get any good images the second time around; but she agreed to another session and we headed up for another wander around the park. This time we went a little earlier in the day and I mostly just followed the children around, trying to capture them as naturally as possible. There were one or two times where we asked them to sit or stand in a certain spot, and those images worked reasonably well too.

I haven’t finished working my way through them just yet, my computer is ancient and temperamental at the best of times, which makes processing photos a slow and frustrating task; but I am mostly happy with what I have worked through so far, and what I have given the family.

Would I do it again? Maybe… It really depends on who was asking and what they were after as an end result, and they’d need to be well aware of my NOT PROFESSIONAL status. And… I might need to put a new computer on the wishlist before any of that was to happen; but let’s not get started on wishlists, we could be here until next week.

 

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Rocky Hill

Although the name provokes images of movie montages and fist pumps, the hill itself is actually quite beautiful. Not too steep, which makes it a pretty good walk for the kids, and there’s plenty to look at while you’re walking along. The kids spent a fair bit of time surveying the landscape below, mostly trying to find our house and their Dads work. It’s pretty cool being able to spot certain landmarks from on high, I like the sense of perspective and scale that you get; kind of puts you in your place.

Madalyn 2013-07-02-Rocky Hill-Toadstool-002_small 2013-07-02-Rocky Hill-Toadstool-003_small 2013-07-02-Rocky Hill-Wattle-001_small Not only did we spot those familiar landmarks, but we also spotted some native fauna; a family of kangaroos. One even had a joey in its pouch. They startled very easily, not surprising when you’re exploring with noisy children, and so I didn’t get any good photos of them; but we did see them. Pinky swear.

One of the sights I usually love seeing as we drive past Rocky Hill, is all the spring blossoms colouring the hillside. I wasn’t expecting to see any of those blossoms making an appearance while we were there, considering it was (is) the middle of winter, but there were quite a few starting to flower; and in the last few days I’ve seen more tinges of purple as we drive past.

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I’m still learning and experimenting with processing, trying to find a style that I like; and although I tried to keep all of these in the same style, they still came out looking different. I usually just try and stick to basic processing, but I branched out a bit with these. Still not really sure about the final products.

Enough of my prattling on, I have to go charge the battery up for a drive to the alpine region tomorrow. It was actually cold enough to snow last weekend, and I’m holding out hope that one of my favourite places will have a bit of cover this weekend. Fingers crossed.

Story Time Update

I haven’t posted about story time for a little while. There has been a few little changes around here. Well, maybe not so little. Phillip has started preschool one day a week (is it wrong to get a little bit excited about having one less child for the day?). He started about three weeks ago. At first Oliver wasn’t too happy about leaving Phillip there, but he’s getting used to it. It helps that they have both enjoyed having that time away from each other.

So story time has been just Oliver and I, it has been nice. Less hectic come craft time. I didn’t get many photos the first week. Oliver just wasn’t in the mood, he wouldn’t speak until after lunch; but the second week the theme was foxes, and they made a little fox mask. This week it was apparently National Simultaneous Storytime, the book that was chosen to be read was ‘The Wrong Book’ by Nick Bland. So at the end the craft was making a bobble head Nicholas Ickle, the little boy from the book.

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Storytime: Native Animals

Today the theme for storytime was native Australian animals. I left with a koala and a wombat in tow.2013-04-12-Storytime-Reading_small

It was a bit tough to get a photo of the wombat, he is very shy and decided to hide in his burrow when I asked for a photo. I had to crank my ISO up to get a fast enough shutter speed inside the library, and I don’t have many options outside of PSE10 to reduce the noise. Hopefully it isn’t too bad.

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Storytime only runs during the school term, so we will be having two weeks break now. *sad face*. Hopefully school holidays means more family adventure time during the week. Well, family minus dad. Unfortunately the bread doesn’t win itself.

A Girl and her Dog

This post contains a lot more writing than usual, and I know I posted last night – I was going to put these photos in that post – but felt the story deserved a post of its own.

For a long time Madalyn had been scared of dogs. It didn’t matter what size they were, where we saw them, or how well the owner told us they were trained – she turned into a shaking, crying mess whenever a dog was near. We tried for so long to figure out what had caused it, had she had a bad experience? The only thing we could think of was when she was little, a dog ran up and jumped up on her. Being only one or two years old at the time, the dog was by far taller than her and she would have found it a little intimidating; but basically what it came down to was that she just wasn’t exposed to them enough.

Towards the end of 2012 we took a trip to Melbourne and stayed with my Aunt who owns a Border Collie called Bonnie; she is the most gentle dog we had met in a while. Bonnie, being an intelligent breed, had been trained to the point that the only time she looked to jump on people was when she heard the word ‘cuddle’; and took food every so gently from between your fingers. Madalyn absolutely loved her.

We had been thinking of getting a dog for a while, I love having pets and we thought it would help with the irrational fear, but couldn’t decide what kind. After we returned home we did a bit of research on a few different breeds. We wanted a dog who was smart and would learn quickly; would be loyal but understand its place in the family; and we wanted a dog who wouldn’t just be a pet, but a member of the family.

We had our hearts set on a pure bred Border Collie pup, and were balking at the price that people charge for pure bred pups – even without all the necessary papers – when my brother suggested we adopt a puppy from a pet rescue organisation. Later that night, not long after I mentioned the rescue option to my husband, my brother sent through four links to puppies at a rescue. They were all Border Collie x Kelpie pups. All black with patches of white. The first link I clicked was Presley. He was the runt. He had wonky eyes. And I fell in love immediately. I still look back at that photo on the rescue site and fall in love with him all over again. The foster family had called him Presley, which struck a chord with me because Madalyn used to fall asleep to Elvis when she was younger – so we didn’t change it. We showed the kids his photo and arranged to go out and meet him. We probably went to see him more than is normal before we brought him home, but we had to let the kids get used to him. Mostly Madalyn, she sets the tone for the younger two in situations like that.

It has been two and a half months since we brought Presley home with us. Now you would not know that Madalyn used to fall into a bundle of tears whenever we came across a dog, she loves them all. Big, small, fat, thin, jumpy, quiet; it doesn’t matter, she is happy to see them. Presley has been a great addition to our family, we couldn’t imagine life without him.

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Family

I think I’m doing pretty well. I resolved to post at least once a month, with a minimum of one photo included, and so far I have posted three times. Four now. The whole reason I started taking photos was because of my children. My oldest, Madalyn who will turn eight in a month, was born right on the dawn of the compact digital era. The only cameras I had owned were some pretty cheap film ones (and played on my mums Pentax slr), so we ran out and put a mid-range Olympus camera on lay-buy. If I remember correctly it was something like 2.1 megapixels. So, after that ramble, I thought it only appropriate that I share some photos of the kids.

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Madalyn

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Phillip

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Oliver

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Presley

I think you’ve noticed that one of these kids is not like the other… yep, Presley. He’s adopted. Shh… don’t tell him.