Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nana's Birthday, Always in August

Every year we travel to our hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia to celebrate my mom's birthday - we eat, drink, play and just do our thing. I kept my camera close, maybe too close. And this Christmas Eve, we watched our slideshow together for the first time: arms locked and tears dripping.

Oh and it's long and full of John Denver who bounced off our walls before we could walk. So, please watch with a full glass of wine.

Abrazos fuertes, Elena

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Promises, Promises

Sometimes, I’ll do just about anything to quell a crying child. And this fall between the hours of 6:30 and 6:45pm, while on the phone with my weeping girls, I promised to take them apple picking, to make a pie, that I’d arrive home in five minutes with an ice cream cake and then read four books each at bedtime. This phenomenon is very similar to the spewing that someone does just before they are about to get shot in the movies.

And later in the week, while doing a Farewell to Boston shoot with the Novack Family, I saw a pattern as I told little Henry that a purple butterfly would come out of my lens, to get on the big duck sculpture before he waddled away…. I stopped myself just before I promised that he would be accepted to Harvard if he gave me one last smile.

I made some mental notes: not all children are as gullible as my own, some remember promises however small and some, like Henry, are way too sharp to follow a silly photographer’s antics. So we just relaxed, absorbed the sun, wandered, fed the ducks, read a book on the bench, kicked back in the grass, chatted with a policeman on horseback, got chased by some geese and ran around in circles. It was just my kind of day.

Thank you Novack family for spending the day with me. I wish you a wonderful new life in Miami and hope that these images will help you remember this nice chapter in your life.

So that’s all for now. We’re heading out to go apple picking. Really, we are. I promise. Next year.

Not Waking Up

To a fault, I’m a dreamer, even when it comes to photo shoots. Once I pencil in a shoot, I quickly begin to imagine the possibilities…big rays of sunlight streaming through trees and landing softly diffused onto faces, relaxed, natural expressions (an invisible camera), treasure hunts for little creatures that we actually find, wide-eyes waving me into little worlds. Oh, please you sound ridiculous. It’s not that I ever expect to accomplish any of this, it’s just that when I drive to each shoot, I’m pumped with the adrenaline of what could be (I can’t help it). And that is what I was daydreaming about on my way to visit the Ruttger family who I hadn’t seen in one year since our last shoot on Duxbury beach.

We reconnected quickly and warmed ourselves up with some tame, sunroom photos and then took the party outside to find a new spot. When I heard about their hammock in the woods, we quickly aborted the grassy lawn and bushwhacked our way along the path to find streams of light pouring through the trees and a hammock located in a small clearing. Score. Jackpot. Score. Okay, calm down. Big brother, Griffin, now my new BFF, was all about climbing in and listening to the trees creak. We considered the possibility that the noises were monkeys and if we were still, we could hear them. That’s when the shutter started to click madly and I found myself straddling a small pine tree. We nuzzled 3-month old Nolan in who was so comfortable that he continued his nap in the crook of Griffin’s arm. Soon enough, it was the whole family suspended quietly in the hammock below the creaking trees. I don’t care how silly I look on this pine tree; I’m taking more.

Back inside, our next mission was to get a few shots of baby Nolan in all of his folded baby glory. He was so relaxed and easy that we decided to play with some props, an antique French bread bowl and some hand-knitted hats and blankets. Just as we were getting comfortable snapping the baby-in-the-bread-bowl shots, mommy Trish and I both dodged a fountain of you-guessed-it that went arcing straight up into the air missing the camera and us by fractions. You really know nothing about boys. After laughing off our near miss, we took the queue and called it quits.

And so logs a new entry into the Daydreaming Photographers Field Guide and all thanks to the lovely Ruttger Family. Dream on.