Friday, February 24, 2012

Friends of all kinds

My kids are the most frequent subject of my pages, so why miss the place where they spend 1/3 of their lives – in bed! If all kids are like mine, their bed is piled high with little friends. Sometimes when I go to get her up from her nap, I have to dig through them to find her. We can't help it. Friends and relatives keep buying them. They feel how cute and soft they are in the store, and can't resist. She loves all her friends, both new and old, and wants them with her when she sleeps.

I lined up the friends in a neat row for this shot. I took the picture in the middle of the day to get the most light. I stood on a chair and used a wide angle lens to get the whole crib in the frame. The animals cooperated very well and did not move. My daughter, on the other hand, is a bit more tricky to photograph. I complain in all my posts that she doesn't pose for me, and this shot was no exception. This picture of her inspecting her toe was the best I could do. At least I got her to lie there for 1/5 of a second, which I consider a success.

I have learned that wide angle shots need to be printed big, so I used the whole 12 inch width of the page for this layout. That left just enough room for the title and journaling. I added a border to tie the page together.

The journaling reads:

You go to bed every night to your own bed, but you're not alone. You have another little family waiting for you where you sleep. Ducky has proven to be your BFF. He's the one you can't do without. The other friends seem to be there on a rotating basis. You may forget about one of your friends for awhile, only to reacquaint yourself with him later on. Right now, the lineup is as follows: Ducky, Tiger, Monkey, Clifford, Horsey, Pooh, Fluffy Kitty, Violet, Bath Doll. You can rattle them off like it's second nature. When we say it's time to go to bed, you say, “I want milk ducky blankey pillow tiger monkey clifford horsey pooh kitty violet babydoll.” They are quite loyal as friends, too. They are always there when you need them. They don't get jealous of each other. And most importantly, they never get mad when you pee on them. In fact, you may never find friends as good as these, so enjoy them!

Background paper by Poppy Andrews

Friday, February 17, 2012

Behind the scenes

Everyone wants perfect pictures for their scrapbook. I certainly do, and I expend a significant effort to get them. Yet in the process, I get many, many bad ones. It can be frustrating taking pictures of small children. They don't yet understand the great service I am doing for them -- that my efforts will give them treasures to enjoy for years and decades to come. For now, they have no interest in smiling into an inanimate box and will usually do whatever they can to avoid getting their picture taken. Reflecting on this sad reality gave me the idea to make a page ABOUT our photo shoots. These are a few goofy pictures I've saved. Too bad I delete the REALLY bad ones right off the camera as soon as I took them. Otherwise, I could fill a whole album with our failures. Yet I saved a few pictures that are a few steps below perfect just to laugh at. And they've found a home right on this page. The journaling reads:

The photo shoot has become an intense competition between myself and my three-year-old. My objective is to get at least one picture that is in focus, framed correctly, and shows her smiling naturally. In this sense, it is more like baseball than soccer. There is no time limit. It's over when it's over. My equipment is top-of-the-line DSLR camera that focuses and shoots faster than you can blink. I also have an unlimited supply of toys and bribes to get her to cooperate. One would think that I would win every time, but the resistance is strong. She does everything in her power to prevent me from getting good pictures. When she sees a camera pointed at her, she runs away, cries, or makes silly faces. I use all of the athleticism that I have. I run, crouch, and jump to get in front of her and catch her off-guard. The game leaves me exhausted and out-of-breath. She is the reason I consider myself a candid-only photographer instead of the portrait artist I want to be. At least I can get my workout in before the sun goes down.

For the background, I used an overexposed shot of the sun poking through the trees in our backyard. I thought that would give the page a little visual context. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Minimalism in scrapbooking

My pages are evolving into a more simple style. This is because I think that including just a few elements on the page is more effective than filling all 144 square inches with pictures, decorations, and words. The phrase “less is more” could be applied here. In fine art, it's called “minimalism,” which means the elimination of all non essential features. I'm not a fine artist, but I can borrow these principles to make my family album.

I've made lots of pages about the kids, and I wanted to take a break and make a page about other aspects of life that get overlooked unless I make an effort to find them. Nothing is too boring to dedicate at least one page to, including the small amount of time I spend reading magazines.

I put together a makeshift studio to get this picture. I actually used some of my traditional scrapbook supplies for this shot. I took two pieces of 12x12 inch plain white paper (see, they can still be used for something). I taped one against the wall and put one on the floor, making the edges touch to form a corner. I opened my favorite magazine, Popular Photography, and rested it on the paper on the floor. I chose not to show the faces of the pages because it would be too distracting. I used a camera angle that shows only the edges of the pages, enough for viewers to know that it is a magazine. Also, with the camera resting on the floor, I could use a slow shutter speed and still get a sharp picture.

The rest was easy. I added white space to the bottom in GIMP. I threw in a pair of blue brackets so to give it a splash of color and wrote a few words:

There is a time to work and there is a time to relax. Yet halfway between work and play are magazines. They're great to read right before I go to bed because they've got lots of pictures and don't require too much concentration. Still, I read them cover to cover, ripping out those annoying inserts and using them as bookmarks. I even study the pages and get some layout ideas. If nothing else, they get me off the computer and allow me to lie down. And best of all, we save $115.89 off of news stand prices! (Or so they say. Who would buy more than one issue at the store anyway?) I wouldn't want magazines to substitute for more substantive reading but they do have a place in my life.

Thanks for looking!