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For some time now I’ve been delving into the world of photography and gradually improving my skills. So much to take in – lighting, mastering exposure, aperture, ISO, white balance, and on it goes. Then the other day, on a supposed photographic opportunity, I had a bit of an epiphany. I’m making this hard on myself.

In Canberra, spring brings our wonderful month-long floral festival – Floriade, now in its 29th year. It’s a massive display in our enormous and glorious Commonwealth Park, and just about the whole city and many thousands of visitors from interstate come regularly to visit, pay homage and take hundreds of photos. So many tulips, poppies and pansies et al splayed out in glorious display beds, up close or laid out in field of colours and waves, bursts of flowers wrapped around a strategically placed lake, that iconic ferris wheel in the background, and acres of gorgeous parkland. Who couldn’t take a decent photo of any of that?

Well, me – apparently. That’s because I foolishly thought that it would be a great idea to go along with daughter and her two little munchkins in tow – tiny bub and a Terrible Two. I thought even if I couldn’t concentrate on the flowers I’d get some nice shots of her with a glorious background. Not.

By God, there’s no such thing as patience when you’re two. (You’d have thought I’d have worked that out by now.) Before I’d even got my camera out, she’s gone, racing off for the ferris wheel. They were through the barrier and up on the second rotation while I’m still struggling with changing a lens and adjusting camera settings, made just a tad slower because the baby’s waking up and squawking so I’m doing this holding a bag, a camera case and standing on one leg with the other foot pushing the stroller back and forward in a vain attempt to keep bubbie asleep. Fail.

Marmar! she waves from on high.

Bawww! he cries.

They got a good view but I didn’t get a good shot.

No matter. We’ll get some shots in front of the flower beds. No, you can’t climb into them.  If you touch the flowers or break them, they won’t be many left for all the other people to see. And that would be sad. You just look with your eyes.

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So really, not so much fun for a little kid who then gets a bit grumpy, especially when she spies an ice cream van and scoring an icie becomes her sole mission in life. Anything other than that just makes her sad, oh so terribly sad,

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and then cross, and a filthy look accompanies the new mood. Not good for photos.

I know you’re not meant to tell a child to smile for the camera, but that look of desolation, no – now it’s anger – has to go. However, is this any better?

img_0013  Cheeze!

Meanwhile bub’s fully awake, not happy, wants to be carried. The flowers aren’t getting much of a look in.

This is what I do constantly. I’ve been doing it for years, and I’m not learning. I really should go out and take lots of photos of inanimate objects, like landscapes or buildings, because they don’t suddenly fly out of the frame or turn around just as I depress the shutter, or run away at breakneck speed when you take your eye off them for 0.2 seconds. And I should take photos outside in daylight, where’s there’s plenty of light rather than whacking up to the ISO to max and trying to work with an unworkable speed for kids.

But no, I have chosen instead that one of my prime photographic subjects will be a small, extremely fast-moving and often uncooperative toddler, and now a baby. Either that or another very fast-moving object – a daughter who does dance sports – which means dancing at ridiculous speeds in low lighting. Result – I’m a sucker for punishment. Because the ‘Quick Step’ is not really quick steps – it’s a well-dressed and attractive run.

It does mean when I get a good shot, I’m very pleased. And when I take those shots of non-moving targets in good lighting, without distractions, it’s so much easier.

So here are my  Floriade photo tips for today (ie, note to self):

  • Pick one thing to concentrate on – either kids or flowers.

That’s about it really.

I’ll be off again to Floriade next week to attempt to get some lovely shots, but next time I’m going by myself.

I’ll tell you more about it then, with some better pics.

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