For the Love of Pushing Boundaries


The boys were spellbound as they watched a documentary on SHARKS this afternoon.

Sharks and whales have been Zachary’s favorite animals for the past six months. He’s been devouring

books about sea creatures and we’ve been learning even more interesting facts about them this year in science.

As they were soaking up information, I was swooning over the sweet moment

of the boys’ complete absorption and their cozy togetherness.

Photo Details

Our house does not have very much natural light which bums me a lot since I am largely inspired by light.  

I’ve had to use my flash so much more than I like to because sometimes there simply is not enough light.

I’ve been challenged recently to use only available light, and have been pushing

the boundaries on what are considered acceptable settings.

Camera Settings

:: ISO 3200  ::  59mm  ::  f/2.8  ::  1/50  ::

You can see I was stretching it, but I do love pushing boundaries.  Normally I wouldn’t try a shutter speed of 1/50 for children, but the boys were so tired

and so absorbed that they were sitting still.  I felt as though what I was getting was good, but because it was so dark and just to be sure I added a little fill flash

with my external flash. It did brighten the image, but I still prefer the first shot which uses only window light.  Using natural light only

gave the photo more dimension because there is more play between shadow and light. The flash, even though bounced at an angle, gave a flat feel

to the photo. Notice the difference below with natural light only on the left and natural light + fill flash on the right.

Which look do you prefer?

If you found this post helpful, you might also enjoy reading about how I chose photo settings for an outdoor portrait made during winter play.


Snapshots: Beltline Interaction

You’re five years old and you are becoming

more independent every day.

You love being right by my side,

but some days you want to walk alone, to make your own choices.

This is good–an important part of growing up.

This evening you ran ahead of us

then came running back toward us to tell

us about the things you had seen.

You noticed a dog walking toward you and vacillated between

wanting to reach out and touch it, and being a little afraid.

The world is wide.

There will be more dogs, and you know what?

You are so right to be both cautious and brave.

You will grow to be a man who checks facts and  prepares carefully.

You will also be a man who isn’t afraid to reach out and

experience life even when it takes you out of your comfort zone.

Five looks good on you, little man.

Pajama Party

Level Up Youth Group put on a fantastic pajama party.  There was a dance competition, sing off, and a crazy sock contest.

There were cheers and lots of laughs.  The friendship and support for one another was a beautiful thing to see.   

The Lone Jazz Player

In May our family enjoyed an evening at the Atlanta Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park




As we walked back to the train station we passed a solitary street musician.  The festival was fun, but this scene seemed to fit the tunes.  I could have made a portrait of him from the sidewalk, but I liked the feeling of seclusion the blurred leaves in the foreground gave to the player. When I first noticed him he was alone.  I played with the light and composition until I had what I liked then waited for the action I knew would come. The headlights and walker in the background add to the feeling that while the rest of life is busy with activity the jazz player is alone.

I call this The Lone Jazz Player.

:: ISO 1250  ::  50mm  ::  f/2.8  ::  1/100  ::






Kick It! Soccer at Grant Park

Zachary has started soccer this fall and is loving it.  We have been looking for opportunities

for him to get more exercise and to meet friends. Soccer has been

such a great fit for both.

These kids are so much fun to watch.  They know only the basic structure of the game, but they play with so much determination.  They get up early on a Saturday morning when the grass is wet with dew and moms are wishing for a strong cup of coffee.  They come with their shoes laced, a tiny bit of sleep in their eyes, and a whole lot of eagerness.

They kick the ball wildly sometimes and wait for a prompt another.  The ball rolls back and forth and out of bounds over and over while their super patient coaches calmly give guidance from the sidelines.  They are learning to work together as teammates to reach a common goal.  They are learning that they can help each other better when they spread out and work from their own spaces instead of clustering in a group.  They’re learning to be brave when they get hit.  They’re learning to keep running when they’re tired.   They are becoming team players, and it will be fun to watch them progress with the season.

My favorite shot–taken just after a teammate scored a goal:



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