Wednesday was great. Perfect, actually.
Matthew had to spend a couple of days in Chattanooga for business. Ross, Rayna and I had planned to go with him. Just hours before we left, Hannah (my sister) said she’d watch Rayna where I could have some (over-due) time with Ross alone. (YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!)
I couldn’t have planned a more perfect day…
Matthew dropped us off at the hotel. Ross and I spent the next hour swimming and playing in the heated pool… Before returning to our room, we grabbed a couple of hot chocolate chip cookies from the lobby. I’m not sure what inspired him to strip down naked and get on our big bed to eat his cookie, but, I couldn’t resist taking a quick picture of him eating the crumbs that had fallen between his little legs.
We got dressed and took a long walk around downtown Chattanooga. Since Ross and I don’t have many pictures together, I asked a stranger to take one.
Why this picture of berries? Simply to remember this stage of Ross’ life. If he picked up one berry off the ground, he must have picked up one hundred! When I’m doing the clothes each week, I always find little objects in his pockets that he’s found outside or on the playground. I don’t get too many pictures of Ross because he’s not a big fan of my camera. I happened to get this one while he was telling me what he wanted for dinner that night. If I remember correctly, it was “Ice cream and goldfish.” He tries to get an exaggerated ‘EWWWWW!!!’ reaction out of me. At that moment, ‘ice cream and goldfish’ were the yuckiest thing he could come up with.This last shot probably won’t win any awards, but it’s still quite possibly one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken. It tells a story of a little boy… barely old enough to walk without holding his mama’s hand, but sweet enough to do it because he knows how happy it makes me.
On a sidenote, when I’m teaching photography classes for moms, I always mention a few general tips. I’ll share a few that proved true for me and my day with Ross:
1. Take your camera with you. Yes, it’s a pain. My camera is pretty bulky and can get very heavy after being on my neck for a short amount of time. Regardless, my favorite pictures (ever) are always the candid ones I don’t plan on taking.
2. Don’t be left out of the picture. Get your camera ready, find a nice spot and ask someone to take a quick picture with you in it.
3. Take several shots of the same thing. My situation was a little different for my last (hand-holding) picture. I was using a 50mm, f/1.4 lens. That can be VERY tricky when WALKING, HOLDING a CAMERA and SHOOTING DOWN at the same time. I happened to take two photos. The first one had focused on my jacket and our hands were slightly out of focus. The second shot was exactly what I wanted- just our hands being the focus point and everything else out of focus.
4. Get ‘detail’ shots to document stages of your child’s life.
5. Smiles are over-rated. I love natural smiles, but the C-word (‘cheese’) should be off-limits from now on. Engage with your child and capture the real expressions.