75th Birthday – Family Photos
Happy 75th. No not mine, that’s a long way off, my father’s.
A few weeks ago my family got together to celebrate Dad’s 75th birthday. My wonderful friend Amy Medina, who’s amazing photography site is here http://www.dangrabbit.com/photography/, had written an article about taking family photos called “Cheese is for Sandwiches” (you can read it here http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2013/04/11/cheese-is-for-sandwiches-by-amy-medina/ after you’ve read this one!). It was a great reminder of why family photos are important to us and also how they should, and should not, be taken.
With this in mind I pulled out my ageing Leica M8 and elected myself photographer for the evening. This was not without its perils.
- Firstly, not everyone in my family likes having their photo taken, actually hardly any of them likes it though they all like to see photos of other family members, no hypocrisy in that attitude at all!
- Secondly, as my Aunt Elona puts it we are an animated and somewhat opinionated bunch of slightly eccentric folk. this basically means we don’t hold still when talking and no one holds back from holding forth. Why this matters you will see in due course.
- Finally, I hadn’t taken photos with my M8 recently or even many at all apart from when skiing. I’d been in a bit of a photographic slump for a few reasons (which will be covered in the next post) and this meant I was definitely out of practice with both taking and making photos.
Why does it matter that we’re an animated bunch? Well though I love my M8 it does have a rather large achilles heel, its not very good in low light and that’s putting it mildly. To counteract this I use a lens that has a wide aperture to let in more light and slower shutter speeds which also lets in more light. However this means that focusing becomes much harder and any movement as you take the image is likely to lead to blurred photos. Add to this that as I push the ISO up colours become muddy and it really isn’t the best of all combinations for taking memorable images.
Still my Dad isn’t going to be 75 again so I persevered and managed a few okay images with one or two that are slightly better. Most of all I hope they captured some of the atmosphere of a typical family event.