This is my dear friend Jenny with her four children at Lake Michigan last summer. I met Jenny in Pittsburgh just before Amabel was born, and our friendship has grown alongside our families over the past 10 years.
I’ve learned so much from Jenny about photography, especially since she started a family photography podcast last spring. So you can imagine how thrilled I am to be on her show! It was so much fun to interview Jenny on her TWIP Family podcast about panning photos and our 365 projects. You can listen to us by following the link to this TWIP Family show, through iTunes, or in your favorite podcast app. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed talking with Jenny!
I am in need of a photo (of myself) for a piece I’m working on (the terrarium piece). And I have plans to meet up with my sister-in-law, a talented photographer, at the beach on a warmish evening this week. But my March 30th deadline is fast approaching, and today I hear from two people that we might get 12 inches of snow on Wednesday. Uh-oh. Those plans I had to take a shower and wash my hair and put on something interesting and attempt to look nice, flanked by my three children . . . ? I may just have to let them go for now.
So I wrap up Wallace, throw on a hat, and we all go out into the woods on what may be our last sunny and not snowy evening before March 30th. We’re down here looking for mosses again, but before our hands are full of little green plants, I hand the camera to Jeffrey and say, “Will you take a few pictures of us, Bud?”
And, oops, I forgot to take my giant sunglasses off!
The first day of spring! I wanted to go for a walk and take photos outside, of course. But we tried and Wallace wasn’t a happy baby. It was too cold. I had to be satisfied with the afternoon sunlight coming in upstairs. It was delightful to sit with these two. These two are ten years apart. I love to watch them together.
(Question about exposure . . . how could I have avoided blowing out the highlights on their fingers and toes?)
Last week I interviewed Jenny about panning for her TWIP Family podcast. I learned so much about how to get a panning photo — and of course why to even try. She tells me that our episode will go live on Tuesday.
Today I practiced panning for the first time. It was too cold to go outside with a baby . . . so Ellen helped me out by running back and forth in the kitchen/living room. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure I would like panning. It seemed potentially very frustrating — requring hundreds of dud photos to get a single good shot. But now I can’t wait to try it again. Just like Jenny said, it was so much fun for Ellen! Instead of asking her to “hold still” for a photo I got to ask my little girl to “run faster”! She ran back and forth and back and forth until she was so hot and sweaty that we just had to squeeze a few lemons and make lemonade.
Usually we wait until the first day of spring to collect pussy willows. But today we took a walk along the edge of the marsh and just couldn’t resist picking one little branch of velvety kittens.
(My story today has little to do with this photo — except that it took place just a few minutes after Ellen taught Wallace how to write a W.)
Ellen is following me around upstairs with a little sponge in her hand. (She has a collection of small cylindrical sponges from Uncle James. I think they come from the top of a particular type of vitamin bottle? The sponges have faces (hand drawn) and they live in the dollhouse attic. Periodically, the sponge family rides around in a little blue car.) “Mama,” Ellen says with her usual zest, “I think I have found my most favorite sound in the world!” She holds the sponge up to my ear and gently squeezes it in her fist.
I am trying to keep a straight face when she asks me, quite seriously, “What is your favorite sound?”
Ellen loves to play this game of favorites. Even though my answers do not usually appease her, she keeps asking . . . What is your favorite season? What is your favorite word? Who is your favorite pet? Who is your favorite person in our family?!
I don’t particularly like to pick favorites. How can I choose? Today I respond to her by describing sounds that I love. But which is my favorite? Wind in the white pine trees? The lapping of Lake Michigan on a calm summer morning? A barn owl at night? Exquisite choral music? She wants me to pick one.
Finally I say, “My children’s voices. That is my favorite sound, Ellen.” Satisfied, my little girl returns to squeezing her sponge next to her ear and chattering away by my side.
Wallace had another baby date tonight. He met the lovely baby Hank for the first time and they were fast friends. (Well, at least we parents get to choose their friends for a few more years . . . before they start having their own opinions!)
I never would have attempted to take a photo in such low light before taking my Clickin Moms class last fall and then, especially, receiving encouragement as part of this 365 group. But now I’m happy to say that low light doesn’t intimidate me any more! Thank you, Dr. ISO and everyone else who has shared low light pointers! I’m so glad to be able to bring the camera to a dinner party and confidently take photos after sunset.
There is so much I want to say about this photo but it is late and I have a sleepy baby in my arms, so we’ll see how far I get.
My girls adore Grandmommy. They love the way she sits right down on the couch, pulls a book out of her bag, and reads to them. They love the way she kneels on the floor to peer into their latest miniature world. They love her creative projects, her abundant gardens, and her delicious meals. They love the corners of her house, always filled with interesting collections. And maybe most of all, they love the way she has always talked to them and cherished them as the wise little beings they are — truly interested in their thoughts and observations. She is so very dear to them. To all of us.
I am nursing Wallace to sleep. Or I am trying to nurse him to sleep. He is in that easily distracted stage where even pages turning in a book catch his attention. He reaches for my book. It is just too perfect. Wallace doing a little light reading before his afternoon nap.
I am grateful for the warmth this weekend. And the sunshine. I am grateful that we cleaned out the chicken coop. I say “we” but I should say “he.” Jeffrey did all the dirty work while I puttered about with a tiny man on my back — straightening the fence, filling the egg boxes, and taking photos.
Ladies: the snow has melted, your coop is clean. Please lay some eggs for us.