Sunday, December 05, 2010

did you miss me?

No, me either. This blog, I mean, not you--I always miss you guys!

I'm glad I did this NaNoBloPoMoNoNo, but it's pretty clear that a)November is too fucking busy to do much of anything and b)I don't really have much to say about anything.

But because I can't take a hint, I'm not quitting the blog or anything. I certainly won't punish all of us by posting every day, but I do hope to pop in here and there and share some thoughts. I actually still have a couple teaching posts rattling around in my head, and some life list stuff too. I'll try to get to it this month.

I'm not sure how, but December is turning out to be even busier than November! This week I went on my first business trip, and had a great time. I got to visit a school and see again what a non-NYC school can feel like. They definitely feel the same pressures of testingtestingtesting, but the atmosphere, both physical and spiritual, was pretty different. It was kind of mind-boggling, actually, even just to see a completely different kind of space.

Yesterday I volunteered with Help Portrait as a photographer. They're a new non-profit (after their first event last December) that takes family portraits of people that wouldn't normally be able to afford it.

It's an all-day event, but I was only there for two hours, because of the Saturday teaching. And truthfully, I was really wary and weary before I got there, because it had just been such a long, busy week and I was cranky about yet another 'obligation.'

Shame on me, because I had a GREAT time. Mainly because I love photographing people, and making them comfortable so they look natural and real, like their best selves. I was assigned to shoot in a room where two guys were already set up, and I have to say, it was interesting seeing them shoot; they were almost silent!

When I starting shooting, I was talking to them a lot, being a little silly, and directing them in a confident manner. And then when kids was there, even for the other photographer, I jumped in and played with the kid to make them smile and have fun. I made noises and faces and again, said stupid stuff. Because if you have a shy or uncomfortable kid in front of a camera, and you're stiff and silent, you're gonna get either a big fat nothing or, even worse, a fake CHEESE smile.

[Ugh, I hate cheese. Parents, don't tell your kids to say cheese for the camera--it's never flattering or real! Those aren't the photos you want of your kids--you want them laughing and smiling their actual smile, so they actually look like your kids, the way you love them!]

I shot one little boy on his own, and it was really tough to get him to focus on me and ignoring his mother who was telling him to smile. He would do this nervous little fake smile and I didn't like it at all. At the end I had him jump for me, and got some fantastic shots of him in the air with a huge grin on his face. Love it! It may not be a 'standard' shot, but I feel like that's the kind of photo that will make his mom smile even years from now.

Many of the adults were also uncomfortable and a little shy, with closed-mouth fake smiles, so I had no problem making a fool of myself to get them to smile for real. I also made noises and faces for them--and it worked! Court jesters got nothing on me. :)

Anyway, I had a blast! I felt so happy and energized wielding my camera; I love getting good shots of people, especially people that may not have had them before, or who don't feel comfortable getting photos taken. I wish I'd been able to shoot more families.

It was the first time I've volunteered in many months...probably in over a year. Perhaps in the new year, my schedule will open up a bit and I'll make a better effort to get out there and give back. (Is it wrong that I felt like teaching was giving back enough that I didn't 'need' to volunteer much?)

I can't wait to take more photos!

Last weekend, I set up two photoshoots with local models. I was a little nervous, but again, I had a great time. I love taking pictures! I was really pleased with the results--we got some beautiful photos.

I need to figure out how to get around this blasted cold weather so I can shoot more.

Unfortunately, next week is also going to be pretty busy anyway. I'm hoping to find time to make another batch of those delicious brownies for our book club meeting on Thursday. Mmm.

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