Capturing Moments with Ruby T
I bought a DSLR because I wanted good pictures of my children. I came to realize over time it is actually light itself that inspires me. I even wrote a short paragraph about it for this photo.
I am most likely to get my camera out when I see beautiful light. I do carry it with me and plan photoshoots, but the moments of pure inspiration always come from noticing light.
I started with a 110 camera when I was 10. I didn’t make very much progress, because I didn’t have very much money. I do remember being confused at the time that the pictures didn’t look the way I saw them in my head. Why was the elk on that ridge merely a dot in the frame when it had seemed so much closer in real life? It’s a shame no one ever suggested to me that I could get books from the library and learn about photography. I was always at the library, so I really missed an opportunity.
One thing that has changed is I no longer take photos at birthday parties. I want to be part of the festivities and just enjoy myself. I look for smaller, day-to-day moments with my camera, like my daughters playing Parcheesi.
Birthday photos are generally pretty standard, and most often the lighting conditions are poor. I notice my own memories of the parties are better now that I am not wielding a camera. I like to use a longish lens (my current favorite is the FA 77 Ltd (116 mm equivalent)) and isolate my subjects. I have a nice zoom, but often shoot with primes, which are lighter and less intrusive.
The biggest change is shooting digital. I was slow to embrace digital, but then a processor lost my film, containing the only shots of my oldest’s 10th birthday, the only shots of our Christmas tree that year (his birthday is in December) and the only shots of my stepdaughter’s visit. When I realized that digital gave me a much greater degree of control I went ahead and got myself a Canon A75 (but no proper software—I’m old and I don’t learn so quickly any more, lol.) This is my favorite shot from that camera.
Another change is that I stopped always photographing large family gatherings, which my in-laws have several times a year. It got to a point where people were expecting me to document everything, but they would grouse if I tried to get a big group shot, even though they wanted the pictures. It became like work, and not a fun job, so I quit bringing the big camera with me. My niece discovered it’s fairly complicated to be sure you have at least one shot of everyone in an environment like that, which made me smile a little. It was that, the need to concentrate on being sure everyone got equal treatment, that made me decide I would only shoot at parties if I wanted to, because I can’t be participating in the experience and also documenting it. I can do one or the other, but not both.
I always have at least one camera with me, I just didn’t always reveal that at get-togethers. I don’t have a smart phone, so I keep a little point-and-shoot in my purse (which has a drop-in foam insert designed for cameras). Lots of times I’ll grab one of my film cameras, too. I got nostalgic for film after a few years of digital, for the lack of instant gratification and the way your shots can surprise you when time has passed and you don’t exactly remember what you shot. I like the way it makes me think differently, and I like the grain. I got a Pentax MX from eBay, quite similar to the K1000 I got when I turned 18 (which was promptly stolen). Generally when I take the K5, it’s in its own separate bag with extra lenses. If I even think I might take pictures, I take it with me. If I’m really serious I’ll take it and a film camera (usually loaded with b&w if I’m taking both cameras). You can’t get the shot if the camera is at home.
My children have a digital camera that got dropped but is still mostly functional, and know they can use it whenever they want.
Sometimes we talk about compositional technique or light, but I try to do this in passing, so that’s merely of interest and not something I am pushing on them. I also encourage them to keep a diary. It’s amazing how much reading old diaries can bring things back.
This has become a passion of mine, it gives me inspiration and focus. It takes me outside my day-to-day life and provides me a creative outlet. I cannot draw, sing or dance, so having photography is so important in giving me a way to express myself.
You can see more of Ruby’s captured moments in her Flickr 🙂