Through the lens of a 10 year old
I had the most LOVELY Saturday afternoon. I went to the 40th birthday party of one of my dearest friends since highschool…. and he introduced me to his niece, my newest BFF. She’s 10. She told me right away that she was going to be a photographer (well, that and a dentist- she knows that cameras are expensive, so she needs to earn money to buy them). Coincidentally- I had both of my cameras with me that day. (not that coincidental, I rarely go anywhere without at least one). I asked if she’d like to learn to use an SLR. I really at that point thought that MAYBE I’d teach her to frame a shot well before she pushed the button. I soon learned otherwise, as this girl was SERIOUS about LEARNING. I explained a bit about my camera, and how using Auto will set a medium exposure, and Auto focus will pick something in the middle to focus on. I had her hold the camera look through and take a test shot. Of course she did not WANT to shoot in AUTO mode (“I can do that on my little camera… I want to be a real photographer”)…. so we talked about creative control, and how the photographers brain is almost always thinking something different than the camera’s brain- so we need to learn how to look at the light. (have I lost you yet… because seriously, this girl was keeping up….) so… she set her own light meter with a bit of help at first ( and later multiple times through the day on her own as the light changed)
Lesson one was simple… look at the flowers and then practice by focusing on different flowers in the pot.
She chose the next subject- the bright red flowers in the sun- and we practiced taking photos from far away and then up really close to see the different perspective.
Next we went to find a garden and, knowing I found a TRUE kindred spirit with a real passion for creative photography- I told her a little secret. Photographers REALLY like to roll around on the ground. The most interesting photos are taken from angles that most people don’t even think about. Sure, ANYONE can see a flower from above… but what about from below???
That angle resulted in my two favourite images from the day…. it’s worth noting (as other photographers know) that focusing in manual takes thought and well… focus… and at 10 years old I am quite amazed at the determination and concentration she showed.
This next image required some extra work setting the exposure correctly- shooting right up into a sunny sky- so I guided her a bit about which way to turn what dials… but again- she just has an instinct for the proper framing.
And then she left me and took some photos completely on her own… by this point I trusted my beloved SLR in the hands of another capable phtoographer….I thought this first one of the dog was quite stunning- great light and contrast.
And finally, a few of her other great shots from the day….