I'm practicing letting go of my idea of the perfect photo, to avoid missing the moment by getting caught up in making a technically "perfect" image. What has come to light is with a 1 year old, the moments pass so quickly, from a smile to a scowl to a fit in 2 seconds flat sometimes. And now fast isn't just about his emotions but the mph his little legs can carry him. I can't always make the image technically perfect, but it can be imperfect in the most wonderful way. I am lucky I have a nice camera and know how to use it to make beautiful images, years of practice with that thing have gotten me here. But sometimes it's a hinderance. Physically and mentally. Not every moment is picture perfect, it's a struggle when I know there is a better spot for an photo or a better time of day. But the reality is, life isn't about the perfect light at the perfect time of day. There's a time and place for a really great photo session! But you can't put great moments on hold or ask them to repeat or happen later. But what I can do is let go of an ideal and embrace what's truly important. I don't want the moment to be about the photograph, I want the photograph to reflect the moment.
Instead of remembering how his sweet smile turned to annoyance as I moved him away from what was making him happy to find "better light", I'll remember how the sun was hot that day and I steered him into the shade when he wandered too long in the sun. I'll remember the dappled light and how it caught the blue of his eye now and again and that they glowed like fire before they turned to take in more of his new surroundings. I'll not forget how my inner professional shook her head and pushed to find better light, while the momma trumped photographer and said let the babe be, he's having fun exploring. Because it's those moments when the light is all wrong for a perfectly exposed photo, but it's perfect to entice the babe to play with the dancing shadows or explore a flicker of light behind an old chair. When the moving glitter of sun catches the spiders web as the wind blows and catches his eye, and then inevitably the same web sticks to his fingers, these are the things I want to remember. His joy, his exploration, his -and my own- fascination in seeing the world brand new through his eyes. These are the moments I'll stop, sit back and watch him, attempt to compose an image and snap it regardless of the light. Because I think it's important to leave a legacy of photos but I'm learning to let my idea of perfection go, life moves so fast and so do little boys.
So I put away my big camera for the everyday moments and downsized to a decent point and shoot. Something that won't bonk his sweet head as I lean down to pick him up or inhibit my interactions with him. Something I won't worry about stowed away in the diaper bag. Something that will help me be in the moment, capture a sliver of it and continue on. The momma in me is happy. And the photographer, excited. Excited for the challenge of simplicity, excited for the pressure from my inner perfectionist to be given a day pass. Excited to not have achy shoulders and neck after lugging my big camera around. So far it's been a blast. I've shot some of our An Extra*Ordinary Life series with the point and shoot. I have loved all the day to day I've been able to quickly photograph without interrupting the moment. Simplicity, paring down, going back to basics, these are things that I long for more than anything in my life right now. I guess this is a great place to start!
Photo of Dixon, Ca