This holiday season blasted its way into my life the 2nd of December with the arrival of a gift from Shari’s Berries:
As a thank you for participating in their Make A Holiday Face campaign #MakeAHolidayFace, they gifted me with a lovely box of Christmas Cheesecake Bites and Swizzled Strawberries! It arrived perfectly packaged and deliciously ripe. So, I headed outside to take a photo of their gift in the beautiful morning light.
They didn’t last long in our house, which was okay because they are meant to be shared right-away at the peak of freshness. Chocolate seems to have a knack for going with anything – chocolate and cheesecake, chocolate and strawberries, chocolate and bacon…
So, how do you make a holiday face? After much thought, it became clear to me that it happens when you are capturing truth in the moment.
“When you take a picture of someone, it’s permanent and you’ve captured the truth of them in that moment; and, that you can keep forever.” – James (Jimmy) Olsen, Supergirl, CBS
Okay, I admit it – I’m one of those. Those that love comic book heroes and heroines, science fiction and fantasy, Star Trek, Star Wars – the whole shebang. And, I love the new Supergirl series on CBS. So, the other night while watching Supergirl, the character James Olsen, a photojournalist (Jimmy Olsen, from my generation of Superman), said those words when describing his love of photography. So, with a nod of thanks to the Supergirl series writers on CBS, Capturing Truth in the Moment is the title of this post!
I think it’s fair to say, whether you are a professional photographer or an amateur photographer, that capturing truth in the moment is a goal. As a visual society with immense capacity to share digitally across multiple platforms, capturing truth is the Holy Grail. Whether trekking through muddy fields, scaling flights of stairs or mountains or attending a holiday festival or street fair, a pivotal moment captured with the click on the camera’s shutter is a memory captured forever.
10 Tips for Capturing Truth in the Moment
Tip #1 – Take your camera everywhere; even if it is just your cell phone camera. You never know when an opportunity will present itself for capturing truth in the moment.
Tip #2 – Have a backup battery on hand. Nothing worse than having your battery die in the middle of a great day when everything is clicking (no pun intended)!
Tip #3 – Have another memory card on hand; just in case. Don’t want to run out of memory before the end of the day!
Tip #4 – If you aren’t confident in your camera skills, set your camera on automatic. It’s amazing what cameras capture these days!
Tip #5 – Lighten your load. It’s nice to have all your camera’s bells and whistle with you – tripod, zoom lens, other lenses, etc. However, if you are bogged down with all that weight, you’ll miss the moment! So, choose your most universal equipment for the event and place it in a small over-the-shoulder case or backpack. Then, if you must take more, enlist the help of family and friends to carry your other equipment.
Tip #6 – Break the rules. Yes, there are “rules” in photography, like the Rule of Thirds, etc. But, sometimes the greatest photographs are made when breaking the rules. Even blurry photos have a place in the world of photography when capturing truth in the moment.
Tip #7 – Use natural light. Light is the bane of all photographers – not enough light, too much light, not the right light, overexposing, underexposing… natural light can take the guess work out of the equation, leaving you time for capturing truth in the moment.
Tip #8 – If shooting children in action, set your camera on the continuous drive action setting mode (if your camera has one). Yes, you will take probably 5 times more photos than you thought you would, but if even one of them is capturing truth in those fleeting moments, you will be glad you did!
Tip #9 – Be present in the moment. Yes, it is wonderful if you are able to capture memories digitally, but if you’ve missed the day because you are so caught up with how to handle your camera, what photos to take and when, posing people for posterity, your personal memories of the day will be a blur.
Tip #10 – Have fun and don’t forget to share your photos!
Later that afternoon, after receiving chocolate-covered cheesecake and chocolate-covered strawberries from Shari’s Berries, having a Christmas lunch with girlfriends, the rest of my perfect start to the holidays weekend unfolded. Charlie and I went with my sister, Gail, her two daughters (Tiffany and Samantha) and two granddaughters (Princess P and Princess Sweetie Pie) to our local Center for the Arts for a Christmas festival. Not only did we have a wonderful time, it was free!
Yes, free! For eleven years, my city has put on an annual Christmas festival for families. We arrived right on time (3:00 p.m.), found parking easily and trekked across a bridge into the sprawling complex. Right away we came across an empty sleigh decked out with Christmas presents…
A photo-op set up for picture-taking; the decorators even attempted a bit of fake snow under the sleigh.
Princess P (left) and Princess Sweetie Pie (right) jumped on board for a quick photo.
Then it was Tiffany’s (left) and Samantha’s (right) turn. Tiffany laughed when I said, “make a holiday face!” Samantha just cracked a smile.
Gail, standing off in the sidelines, said “look over there!” and pointed ahead.
Princess Sweetie Pie didn’t know what to think and Princess P oohed and ahhed as she pointed ahead…
And, we were the first to see them!
Their handler shared that they lived in Northern California and they were both females.
So cute, but a little shy. We were asked not to touch, so we respected their request.
Then the handlers backed the reindeer up to the sleigh for future photo-ops.
As the crowds grew around them, the reindeer comforted each other with a head snuggle. I’d say that capturing truth in the moment, these girls have a bit of fear in their eyes!
And, before we knew it, the reindeer line was a least a city block long! Timing is everything and we were so, so lucky to arrive right on time!
Speaking of “timing is everything,” as we walked further into the festival, we met up with the Princess Aurora, who was making her way to the Disney Princess photo shoot area, which again had a line down the block! But, we asked her to stop for a quick photo and she graciously obliged. Our Princesses P were in Princess heaven!
Then, we went to find Santa Claus. Beautifully decorated Christmas trees topped a curved stairway.
Samantha makes a holiday face as she watches the Princesses with Santa.
Even Charlie, our resident Grinch (the Princesses have named him the Pancake Grinch because he didn’t want to share his silver dollar pancakes with them last Christmas!), cracks a smile watching our great-nieces with Santa.
The Princesses P, a bit shy with Santa, were high above our heads on a stage surrounded by presents and Christmas trees.
Afterwards, the Princesses P excitedly shared their Santa experience with Tiffany, who listens attentively, her holiday face glowing with happiness over the excitement of her daughters.
A Christmas card pose from Gail and all her girls!
Princess P couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have her face painted. She chose a Nightmare Before Christmas theme of holly and berries with Jack Skellington’s head to make her holiday face.
Princess Sweetie Pie doesn’t like scary things, so she chose a Santa hat with snow for her holiday face.
As we left Santa and the Christmas trees for another area, we ran into a Toy Soldier on stilts! He towered over all and never once faltered!
Then, a beautiful angel on stilts appeared. An adorable red-headed little girl gazes up in wonder.
The stunning angel was lovely and graceful…
and graciously stopped to pose for the camera.
And pose with Princess P and Princess Sweetie Pie. Next stop…
Snow! They had a large patch of snow cordoned off and monitored the number of children inside at any given time. The Princesses turn finally arrived and the first thing Princess P did was make a snowball.
Princess Sweetie Pie decided to touch it first, since she didn’t bring any gloves with her.
Then, impulse kicked in and she had to make a snowball, too!
But, she decided it was too cold to hold onto, so passed it off to big sis, Princess P.
Princess P concentrating on making the best snowball – ever!
Princess Sweetie Pie skipping on the snow in her not-so-snow-friendly ballet slippers!
Princess P working on that perfect snowball!
Princess Sweetie Pie laughing at Princess P working on her snowball…
Princess P not caring what Princess Sweetie Pie is up to…
because she made the world’s most perfect snowball!
“So, you think that’s a perfect snowball,” challenges Princess Sweetie Pie. Snowball throw-down underway…
“How about a snowball on your head! Bet you won’t do this!” says Princess Sweetie Pie gleefully.
“Do it, do it, do it,” cries Princess Sweetie Pie.
“Wait a minute…it’s really, really cold; and…well, wet.” states Princess Sweetie Pie flatly (capturing truth).
“That’s okay; I’ll pick it off.”
“Some of it’s stuck!”
“Here’s a blob.”
“It’s kinda stuck…”
“And, it’s melting…”
“I’ll give it a shake…”
“Hahaha – I still have my perfect snowball!” Princess P gloats.
“Time to go,” Tiffany says. “But we’re not done playing in the snow!” the Princesses P plead.
“But I wanna stay longer,” says Princess Sweetie Pie, lowering her wet snowball-less head dejectedly.
“Can’t we stay 5 minutes more?” pleads Princess P.
“Don’t you want to frost Christmas cookies?” asks Tiffany. “Yes,” said Princess Sweetie Pie. “Well then…” Tiffany remarked.
“Yes, yes, yes…I want to frost Christmas cookies,” shouted Princess P, jumping in excitement. Snow and snowballs long forgotten…
So how do you make a holiday face? Capturing truth in the moment is a good start!
More Christmas stories from Toot Sweet 4 Two’s archives…