July 20, 2012

when i can teach....


i saw her sitting off in the distance, in the sand, completely content. 
after taking our own family photos and laughing at the little boy near her who was wickedly throwing a frisbee in the direction of unsuspecting beach walkers, i set off to find her parents.


i found her mother and complimented her on how sweet and still her daughter was. she said she's always like that. especially in the sand. she told me how she'll sit for hours, just sifting through the sand over and over again, completely unaware of how she's eating and breathing the granules. i asked her if  i could photograph her, and she said yes. she then said, i dressed her cute tonight in hopes of getting some nice photos myself, but the light's all wrong. i choked on my gum and then told her that actually the light at that moment was perfect. that's it's called the beginning of the golden hour and while you're in florida the golden hour is actually a few hours long. she asked if i was a photographer and because i still have difficulty calling myself that, i said, yep, that's what i do.


i then i showed her. i pointed out to her how the light was falling. where it was coming from. the best place to stand. how the light made her daughter's red hair shine. then she started taking photos herself and was giddy. she had a wonderful nikon camera and if i had had more time, i would have shown her more. i would have explained aperture and moved her settings off of auto, but i was with my family and we were ready to move on.


these are the things i love to teach. i am so far from ever knowing everything about photography and i continue to learn something new everyday, but the things i do know, i want you to know. i think that's human nature. that we want to teach and to share with others the things we know. 
especially when we love doing what we know.


i would have loved to have taught this mom about "catch light" but that would have been for another day. another time. instead, i let this sweet little pumpkin look right at us, as she finally raised her head and realized we were even there. it produced squinty {the sun is blinding me} eyes, but i didn't care. it let me capture the sand caked on her face and dancing in her scalp.


this is why i find strangers fascinating. just look at what i got to shoot, what i got to teach, the interaction i had, because i went up to a woman and asked, "is that your daughter?"
~
i hope this weekend you're surrounded by strangers,  in a good and maybe sandy way
*

37 comments:

  1. You are truly and inspiration to all us scaredy cats who find it difficult to shoot strangers, especially when it comes to children. I'm always afraid I'll be looked upon as some type of perverted stalker! The sand is like little diamonds glittering all over her!

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  2. Great, Beth! I love those moments in time you can't plan. Thanks for sharing and have a good weekend. xo Jenny

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  3. The little girl is precious, sand and all. And yes, that golden time in Florida is amazing. Some of my photos turn out a little too golden, though. Nearly orange. And this fall, catching action shots in gyms. That gets me every time.

    That was a lucky mom standing next to you. Can you imagine missing the golden time with a cute little daughter like that?

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  4. You can teach me!!! I learn much by following your example. I too have a beautiful spankin' new Nikon D800 that has replaced my trusty D300. I long to use feel comforable enough to use a mode other than P (auto). Sometimes I play with the shutter speed, other times I play in aperature mode. I'm still unsure what I'm doing. Shooting in P takes all the guess work away. I know it's a comfort thing. Please continue teaching me through your beautiful examples :)

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  5. What an awesome story and such a cutie pie! You may have given that Mama a special moment in her life as well!

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  6. You can teach me too, I certainly need instruction. Keep up the good work!
    These pics of the little girl are amazing, as is the light.

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  7. I'm not going to stop bugging you about your upcoming photography workshop. How can I help? What season are you thinking? I can't wait to learn even more from you about the techie side of my camera and I wish oh so wish it was from you soooon!

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  8. Oh what gorgeous photos...I hope you sent them to her Mom! Have a wonderful weekend!

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  9. Such a sweet little girl, a classic set up, beautiful light. How nice of you to share what you know with the mother. I'm certain you made her day.

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  10. Just pure sweetness! How lucky to have the opportunity to photograph and teach. Love that second picture sooooo much! But all of them are wonderful.

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  11. Oh, how sweet! Good on you for seizing the "teachable moment". You and the mom both got something wonderful from it!

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  12. You're just so good at this ... all of this.

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  13. You are fearless! I cannot approach strangers. But I can't shoot people anyway unless they don't know it. You were blessed to be able to capture this sweet little angel. And you did it so well.

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  14. You photographed this little sweetheart so beautifully, and yes, it just so happens that finally I am in the sand...and there really are sandy strangers all around me.

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  15. Good for you for having the nerve to ask. I will on rare occasion but generally I feel like I shouldn't intrude. Then again, I'll often get a few sneaky shots from a distance. She's a little doll and those are fine photos.

    I know of a couple of people who thing the light is wrong after 3 pm.. I just don't get that. It's perfect when it's golden.. whether it's afternoon/evening or morning.

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  16. what a great teacher you are; and what a great photographer.... you love what you do and it shows!

    and i'd like to point out the giant bow in her hair... that is the sure sign you are in the south! makes for great pictures, too.

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  17. Beth, she is absolutely adorable. Her red hair is perfection and the way you capture her in the light makes some of these photos look like a well woven poem. Beautiful.

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  18. Great post and beautiful photos. It's amazing what can happen when we take the time to talk to people. Just lovely!

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  19. Yup, me too. Looks like you really will need to teach us a thing or three now that you see how many of us want help.
    These are beautiful by the way!

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  20. you are so kind and generous... it always shows. exactly what the world needs more of right now.

    beautiful photos, as always. you do have a wonderful way of capturing faces.

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  21. I feel like you teach me
    everytime i watch you talk
    to and photograph
    strangers:)
    thanks, Teach.
    -Jennifer

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  22. What absolutely wonderful, precious pictures and, that you were able to share some of your incredible knowledge with this angel's mom, is icing on the cake.

    Here in India...I returned after only 2-1/2 months at home ...I find myself very shy about asking if I can take pictures of people. Recently, I saw a herd of goats and asked to photograph them...I wouldn't ask for a picture of the goatherder...but he smiled and pointed to himself!

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  23. Instantly love. What a cutypie. And again Beth so good of you to ask a complete strainger if you could take pics. Bet her mother was full of joy when you teached her.

    Great great sandy shots.
    Hugs Dagmar

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  24. Such precious moments you captured here. And I especially love the story..and how you taught her mother to see the light that she wouldn't have otherwise. Exceptional!!!

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  25. beautiful captures, Beth...just beautiful. And what an adorable little girl!

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  26. She is just adorable Beth, and your photographs are wonderful!

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  27. Oh, Beth, I can just SEE you! I can just feel how grateful that mom was to get even the most basic suggestions on how to maximize her photography -- and her subject! And I hope you gave her your blog address, because these photos are priceless!

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  28. I envy your ease with strangers...I will never really be a good photographer because I am too self conscious around others when taking pictures...

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  29. Yes - the golden hour and a golden opportunity, too.

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  30. Beautiful images...you captured her enraptured state beautifully, and so nice to share your knowledge - I am sure the mother is so thankful for that.

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  31. LOVE!!!! And I love talking with strangers as well- even though it drives my daughter NUTS complete with muttering and eye rolls. This post is just perfect and imagine what the mom is telling her friends!!! :)

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  32. what a fantastic exchange and what beautiful portraits you were able to catch, beth! kudos

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  33. Well done once again Beth. I just shared this with my wife - we both love the beautiful pictures!!

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**I love reading the comments you leave, as they make me feel like we're sitting in my kitchen, having a cup of tea, discussing life and wondering where all the time has gone ...beth