Monday, September 12, 2011

Homemaker Monday: Learning to Photograph Your Kids

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Photography has long been a passion of mine, but over the past 18 months or so, I have really tried to study photography techniques, styles, and equipment in order to develop my love for this art. Having my husband's Nikon D70 certainly helps, but poring over internet sites and forums for many hours as I've nursed Baby Hippo has greatly improved my skills as an amateur photographer.

Although food is one of my all-time favorite things to photograph, my SUPER-most favorite subjects are my kids. Most of my photo shoots happen around the house or during our travels, but since the 15-year-old now plays varsity football, my photography sphere now encompasses one of my former least favorite activies...... until now.

When the now 19-year-old boy played on the team, I either had little baby twins or a little tiny newborn, and going to the games meant never seeing my son make a play because I was totally focused on making sure little bodies didn't fall through the bleachers (an effort at which I didn't always succeed) or run onto the field.

Now that the kids are older, however, things are much simpler, for me, anyways, because I get to stand on the sidelines and actually watch the game through my zoom lens. Things may not be simpler for John, however, because he graciously stays on the bleachers with the 4 five and under. He's such a good sport about it, and so willing, that I'm not sure how to repay him, but I hope to think of something soon.

The previous year my good friend Shauna Nielsen, of Shauna Nielsen Photography, shot the games while watching her son play through her zoom lens. As I watched her, I always imagined myself doing it and wondered if I would enjoy it, or be any good at it. Now that her son has graduated and is serving a mission in Argentina, the job seems to have fallen to me. Somehow I had thought I would be skinnier as I stood on the field in front of all the players, coaches, parents and really the whole town, but I guess not. Oh well.

It's hard work, standing in the sun for two and half hours, then going through an average of 500 photos and editing about 150, then posting them to facebook, but the anticipation of the kids as they post messages to my wall asking when I'll have the pictures ready, and the gratitude sent my way from the parents, makes it all worth it. Thanks so much for your support, tiny Mexican farm town! I'll keep trying my hardest to document the kids doing what they've worked so hard all week to do!

Below are some of my favorite images from the last three games. Which ones do you love? Thanks for looking!

First, let me introduce you to the coach. He happens to be my cousin. Photographing him is exciting because he's quite photogenic...

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....but more importantly, he's emotional and animated....

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He does smile sometimes, though...

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Let's go to the cheerleaders next. Below is one of my favorite girls. She's a smart, spunky, health-conscious beauty that often appears at my house at lunch time, which I love. Here she is being shy for the camera. She's used to being behind the lens, and is the photographer who look the 16-year-old girl's picture in THIS post. She's amazing....

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I love the next shot because it exudes so much emotion as this cheerleader is leading the crowd...

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In this picture, you can see that it was raining, causing pretty awesome static in the cheerleader's hair. I took this shot from the bleachers under an umbrella John was holding over me....

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I love this shot, because it looks like she's pleading for them to succeed.... what cheerleading is all about!

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Now let's meet some of the players. I try to be a very unobtrusive photographer, never wanting to interrupt the player's concentration or view of the plays, thus most of my shots are candid zoom-ins. However, now that the boys know that their pics might make it to facebook, they've started to ask me to take their posed pictures....

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...which I'm happy to do. Here are some of the injured boys who couldn't play in the last game....

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Sad that they couldn't play, but they're still really cute!

Here is my favorite player, the 15-year-old boy...

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...and here, laying someone out...

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Here's a few more photos of players after some great plays. They try not to show emotion...

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But sometimes, they just can't help it, like when my friend's son scored a touchdown...

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Here are some of my favorite action shots...

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This play just scares me. You can see how much bigger number 80 (my nephew) is than his opponent...

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The other player was laid out for a while...

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...as the players, including the 15-year-old, boy took a knee...

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....but he got up after a few minutes and walked off the field on his own...

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Later in the game, that same nephew was injured himself, and had to be ambulanced to the local hospital. The following pictures bring back sad memories as I think back of me yelling at the water boys to get ice, and holding the bag to his hand as I rubbed his back, while he rocked back and forth, moaning and grimacing and letting out sounds through his nose that sounded like "nnnnnNyahhh!".

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It was so good to see him walk out of the hospital with a smile on his face as he waved with a casted arm and thanked me. He was on some good pain meds.

Next we have some of my favorite game-time subjects to shoot.... the audience!

I love this photo because of all the bright umbrellas shading the faithful fans...

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Here's the 16-year-old girl with the mascot...

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And here, the cutest baby in the world, walkiing with his dad...

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...then resting in the umbrella's shade with his dad...

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I absolutely adore the following photo. Can you imagine these little boys looking back on this photo as adults, critiquing the players, refs, and coaches?...

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I love this shot because of the confident stance of these young boys. They're the future footbal team! The cute one in yellow on the left is the 11-year-old boy...

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***The writing of this post was interrupted and will continue throughout the day. Thanks for your patience!***

OURS: Okay, it's your turn! Can't wait to see what homemaking tips, recipes and how-tos you have to share with us today. If this is your first time, feel free to dig through your archives and link anything homemaking! Thanks and have a great day!



7 comments:

Jenis blog said...

Love the pictures, esoecially the ones showing the coach's emotions!!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Thanks, Jeni! There are more of the audience coming soon!

The Farmer's Wife said...

Great pictures Jen!! The pictures of Brandon are super!! Thanks for the tribute to PreSh...she sure loves her Aunt Jen...and is constantly tell me to check your blog for more healthy food ideas;)
Thanks for taking her in;)
Hugs!

Amy said...

Nice pictures! I love the way you captured their expressions and moods. :)

Brian + Cheryl B. said...

Hi Jen ;-)

You commented about not being sure how to repay John for watching the kids during games so that you can shoot pictures. Actually friend, he is probably doing it as thank-you to you for being a 'single mom' during the week while he is elsewhere working to support all of you.

Years ago when we use to go camping for weekends with our boys, during the time that Brian was able to join us, he would take the boys down to the lake and spend literally hours playing with them, in the water, in the sand, however he could keep them happy and entertained. He always felt so bad missing so much due to having to work two jobs to support us, and he LOVED playing with his sons. While they were doing that, I would sit next to the fire slow cooking meals that he loved, while reading a new book he had allowed me to buy. We both won!!! ;-)

You always ask "what's your favorite". As you've witnessed, I am not good at only picking one. But this time I am doing as instructed and picking 'one'.

My 'fav.' then, is the one of the three mini coaches/ So much intenseness and emotion on those adorable young faces.

Patty said...

Beautiful photos! I hope I can take them that great someday :) Thanks for hosting the link party! I added the Enchilada Casserole.

abish michelle said...

I love all the pictures, I always enjoy watching every picture you take. You should teach me how to be as good as you. (: