Waiting for a Break

Working at my family’s restaurant, I get to meet all kinds of people. It’s a pretty busy, successful place, so there are a lot of perks there for me – my income is not bad, which means I can afford new equipment and invest in my cameras, and I’m around people every day, which I love. This has given me many opportunities to expand my career and become more known, at least in my community, first.

The only downside to my job is that, the place is so busy and sometimes I come home very tired and not in the mood to do anything but rest. Hopping in the shower helps a lot after those long days, and, honestly, I feel reborn after a long hot shower. I’m aware that taking long showers is not very green of me, but I try to be as environmentally conscious as possible. A year and a half ago I had a tankless water heater installed, which saves a lot of energy and lowers the electricity bill, and I’ve also upgraded my shower head. Now I have hot water at any time of day or night, and my showers are a lot more enjoyable and less leaky.

But, back to the topic. People in my community know that I’m a photographer, and I’ve taken all kinds of gigs – from birthday parties and weddings, to different social events around Nashville. I love doing these, it’s not so much about the money, as it is about getting my work across and just practice. But, this can sometimes stifle my creativity, so I like to take full advantage of my days off to go out and photograph something else.

Sometimes I gather some friends and do portraits of them, sometimes we do more elaborate photoshoots, with props and stuff. My friend Byrdie (as we like to call her) is very much into costumes, she loves helping me. But, you know, even though my friends and I have fun doing these things, I’m actually taking them very seriously. It’s not just about fun.

My ultimate goal is for something to come out of these photoshoots. I wanna get a break and show my work. I have enough patience and even though I’m not ready to quit my job just yet and do photography full-time, I’ve thought about it.

I’ve been trying to take a lot more pictures of people and things around Nashville, you know, spontaneous photos, rather than just rely on models. We’ll see how that works out.

Wish me luck!

Birthday Party Shoot!

I love to photograph kids. They mug for the camera and if they are having fun, they provide for a lot of good action shots. Birthday parties are particularly engaging as there are all those bright, happy faces. I love the shenanigans, and there are almost many, but I also love all the ruses I see perpetuated by parents who are trying to hid the big birthday present from their child. It can be a puppy, a video game set, Star Wars kits, or a new bike for kids, like these from On Road and Mountain. Anything fun will get them excited. They want to bring it out at the last minute and see the shock on the kid’s face. You bet I am there for the big unveiling. I hide in nooks and crannies of the house and yard to capture candid shots.

A recent party involved a special surprise bike for my ten-year-old niece that was a gift from me, considered to be the cool aunt, who got one in amazing, bold neon colors. It had fancy stripes and streamers and was so eye-catching that I photographed it alone. I also, of course, took numerous shots of the birthday girl riding in incessant circles with little tyke guests trailing behind. As the aunt, I got into several photos and was colorfully dressed and certainly looked like part of the action. My sister’s family has been a subject of my photography for many years. Parties are best but I have documented the growth of my niece as a personal project.

The birthday party shoot was routine, but the kids’ antics made it more exciting. I laughed aloud when one little boy pushed my niece off her new bike and appropriated it for his own use. She didn’t cry as expected. She ran alongside the little rider shouting instructions to cease and desist. I practically expected her to bonk him on the head with a party balloon. Then it started to get chaotic. Other kids followed suit and wanted their turn on the bike. “No, no, I cried. “Let the birthday girl have it for herself.” Then the parents got into the fray trying to restrain the fighting kids. “It’s time for cake you little devils,” my sister said. You could see she was totally exasperated. She blamed me, the crazy aunt, but I had no part in the melee. When you get feisty kids together, things just happen. I have photographed enough birthday parties to know.

Soon enough, the kids settled down and after cake and punch they had games to play. That preoccupied them and turned attention away from the coveted bike. I got some calmer photos that were more representative of the celebration, which made my sister very happy. We didn’t want only those that showed angry faces.

Blind Date Disaster

I consider myself a lucky person but sometimes things just don’t go in your favor. I hope this won’t happen often, but it did once to my great regret. I tend to be rather busy at my various jobs, especially photography, so I don’t always have time to socialize. My sister says I don’t stop and smell the roses so to speak. I don’t appreciate the good life. She said she wanted to set me up on a blind date so I would get out of my shell and I let her with some trepidation. We put it off for a few weeks but then she broke me down and I acquiesced. I was to go on a date to the river and would rent a 2 person inflatable kayak. I like the inflatable models because they are easy to tote and store. They aren’t as heavy as the hard plastic ones or even the wood type. Fancy isn’t always better. The new inflatables are colorful and durable made of indestructible materials. You can inflate them quickly and deflate them after use just as fast.

So much for the kayak. What about the date? It got off to a pretty good start when we had lunch at the river’s edge. After an hour we decided to get into the kayak and float or row downstream. We talked idly in the noonday sun. But yikes, water started to get into it. The kayak had a hole and therefore a progressive leak. Something had punctured it. We rowed wildly to get back to shore where the car was parked. We barely made it. We had hardly gotten on the water when this happened. It put a real damper on the date which never got off the ground any more than the kayak. You could call it blind date disaster. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. The good inflatable kayaks are not supposed to leak. Did someone sabotage mine? I don’t have true enemies so why would this come to mind? Maybe it got damaged in transport. I’ll never know. Eventually I had it repaired and it was good as new but I was afraid to ask the date to come along in fear of another embarrassment.

My sister was aghast at the failure of her handiwork and she insisted I try again. She said she could find another person. I thought about the initial moments of the river date and they were pretty good. I didn’t really need to cast this woman aside. I certainly could try again but doing something different like dinner and a movie. Would she say no? Luck was in my favor as it often is and she said yes. This time the outcome was totally positive. We got along well and found we had a lot in common. Dinner was the time when we found this out. She said, “when are we going out on the kayak?” and I laughed.

Next on my List: Some Waterproof Equipment!

As a photographer, I look for freelance jobs of any type. It could be a wedding, a special event, a celebrity’s appearance, or documentation of some sort. I am not immune to the needs of my family and when they want photos, I am there without fail. For example, my brother recently put in an above ground pool and had an inaugural party. He wanted photos of the guest who came for backyard swimming fun.

People were in high spirits and I joined in as I took candid shots of everyone. It was a big deal for my brother to get a pool after all these years. He was going to get a portable one, but succumbed to the call of the real thing. It has a heater, side rails, jacuzzi jets, and attachable trays to stow drinks and food. It is a beauty. I took pictures of the pool and then with people in it to show how it attracts bystanders. Colorful towels were strewn about the adjacent lawns. A beautiful blue sky topped it all off. The water of the pool, limpid and clear, reflected the glorious heavens above. It made for great photos. I wanted a real-life experience as children gamboled about and dove in.

There was a bit of splashing going on and the kids were annoying the adults. This included me who was trying to avoid getting water on my equipment. Next time, I will have to take care of that. I never water-proofed my camera before as it wasn’t necessary. Little did I know! You can get a protective cover for most any size and make of camera. Only a bit of lens is exposed and they are already water proofed. I continued on, even as my pants were getting wet. I didn’t want to discourage the children as they made for really fun shots.

I also got the adults enjoying the barbecue. Food is always a big draw for people. The smoke from the grill was captured on camera. It has great resolution. I took pictures of my brother in his big chef’s hat and all the hungry souls gathering around. “I want well done” and “I want rare” populated the area. He matched their requests as I clicked away. Some people ignored me and some mugged for the camera. I had a good selection of photos and could later eliminate the bad ones where people made faces or odd gestures.

My brother put the photos on his Facebook page and got many posts in response. People who were his “friends” said they wanted to be invited over to enjoy the pool. “Pick a warm day, please” they all exclaimed. He was game to have another pool party in the near future. The last one had been such a success. After all, that’s why he put in the expensive above-ground pool in the first place. It wasn’t for him alone.