Introducing Mia, an aspiring photographer who has taken a keen interest in capturing the world around her in photographs. I first noticed Mia’s innate talent a couple years ago when my wife and I were hosting our regular Christmas Eve Extravaganza. It’s a sit down dinner for about 30 people. We clear out all the furniture in our large family room, set up tables and prepare a large meal of her family’s traditional Christmas Eve fare.
We cook and prepare for days. On that night we have no time to do anything but attend to our guests. Naturally, I can’t be wandering around taking pictures of all the goings on. I usually leave my camera out and it stays untouched throughout the evening. A few years ago, I’ve taken to handing my camera off to some poor bystander and asking them to take a few shots. The look on their face is as if I were handing them a loaded gun.
Mia’s first experience with a DSLR
On this occasion, Mia piped up and volunteered to take some pictures. I literally spent five minutes with her between clearing the appetizer dishes and filling up water glasses. I showed her how to use the zoom and how to hold the shutter release half way down to focus and then push it all the way to take the picture. She’s used all the typical cameras kids use today, cell phone cameras, point and shoot cameras, the camera built into her tablet. She had never used a DSLR. I put it on auto and sent her on her way.
She spent the evening taking hundreds of pictures. On my trips from the kitchen to the family room running plates of pasta (macaroni as my wife’s family call it), shrimp, soup, bread, I’d see Mia taking some interesting shots of the guests at not so typical angles, some close ups of the food, the dog, even the decorations and light fixtures. I was amused thinking that when I got the chance to look through them, I might get a couple shots that were decent and hundreds of pictures that were worthy of the recycle bin (I’ve been down that road before having handed off my camera to other guests). I comforted myself by thinking that a few usable pictures were better than none at all –and at least she didn’t drop the camera down the stairs or in the vat of sauce on each table.
A couple days later, after I had recovered from my exhaustion, I decided to take a look at the pictures that were taking up space on my memory card.
I was shocked
The pictures Mia took were beautiful. They were focused and exposed well (thanks to the camera’s auto settings). But more than that I could see she had a photographer’s eye. Her composition was done well, her capture of candid shots was delightful. She showed none of the fear us adults have in putting the camera right in someone’s face. The people she took pictures of showed tolerant amusement –rather than the stark fear they usually show me. I’m lucky I can fire off a shot before they run away, put their hands over their face or flip me the bird.
Mia had them eating out of the palm of her hand. Her subject matter choices were unique and showed an artistic flair I envied.
Over the next few months when her family came to visit I’d let her use my camera and she took to it like sauce on macaroni. She is a natural. It wasn’t long before she was asking her mom and dad for “a real camera” of her own. I was consulted for a recommendation and suggested the Canon T5 (see my Recommendations Page for more info if you want). It’s a good solid camera that will do all the manual and automatic functions any budding photographer would need. It took a little pleading from Mia and some not so subtle convincing from me (it is after all a bit pricy when you compare it to a basic point and shoot camera), but she got it for her birthday. She takes the camera everywhere and shoots with all the confidence of youth –not being intimidated by the technology or complexity of the device. I’ve spent some time with her going over the different settings and functions. She takes real photographs –not just point and shoot auto pics.
And, so I’ve asked her to be a guest author for my Blog (the 1st –but hopefully not the last). I think this is a great way to show her natural talent and her growing skill.
I simply asked her to give me her six favorite shots from this past summer and tell us why she likes them and why she took the picture. We’ll see soon what her response is –and I’m betting it will be some fun reading!
Look for Mia’s Post soon.