A Family Affair
Apparently walking around in public with a big digital SLR slung around my shoulder makes me look like some kind of professional photographer. Ok, so maybe taking hundreds of shots as I walk has something to do with it. And maybe the tripod and wireless remote add to the image. But I didn't have those with me on Thursday as we were walking up onto the boardwalk from a photo session on the beach and a family accosted me. They were taking some family photos and the mom asked me to take a few for them. She said I looked like I knew what I was doing. Not having to ask how to zoom or turn off the auto-flash probably confirmed that. I roll my eyes every time I ask someone to take a picture with my camera (my point and shoot) and they ask where the shutter release is. Except they don't call it that.
When someone hands me a camera, I can no longer take just one shot. It's a compulsion. I framed the family, said cheese and shot. They started to move and I stopped them. I said "just a couple more!" I reframed and shot, and shot and shot. They just laughed. I couldn't help it, they looked so cute!
The next evening I waited till the sun was low in the sky and set up a few yoga self-portraits for my yoga journal on the lake beach behind the house. I used the tripod and tried not to think about the few neighbors that might notice and wonder what the heck I was doing. Most of the condos around were empty and the lake was very quiet that night. After my photos I dropped my tripod back on the deck and walked Nathan over to the playground for a bit. Of course I shot lots more pictures of him playing, but the sun was too low and behind the trees so most didn't turn out.
Just then a minivan pulled up and out came a family of six all dressed in white shirts and khaki pants, headed toward the beach. I knew immediately what they were there for. I didn't see a tripod or a non-uniformed photographer, so I wondered how they were going to accomplish this family portrait. I watched from about 25 feet away as the mom fiddled with the menus on her tiny point and shoot and then attempted to set it on a park bench while the rest of the family lined up. My first thought was "you people are about thirty minutes too late for the right light." My second thought was "oh man, I gotta do this." So I walked over and laughed and said "just let me take your pictures!" They seemed so relieved as they noticed Norton the Nikon over my shoulder. I lined them up and took shot after shot, turning off the flash and worrying about camera shake as the light was getting pretty dim. The dad said "you look like you do this for a living." to which I replied "I do, I just don't get paid for it." I didn't want to seem too intrusive, so I handed back the camera and walked Nathan home. They asked which house I was in and I pointed. As I walked away I kept thinking to myself "I should've moved them back towards the water, turned them toward the West, and reposed them. I should've taken the pictures with MY camera and offered to email them. Now THAT would have impressed them!" But it was Nathan's bedtime and I was suddenly feeling shy as I watched from my window as they took pics of just the kids or just the grandparents. I REALLY wish I could've seen the results of my work.