Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Spectacular Family Day & a Story Book Giveaway : Children's Photography Techniques : Mamatography Photo Workshops

This past weekend we had a detour in our plans. For weeks, I've been scheming with a new friend here in Panama to venture to the Caribbean coast so that I could start a photo documentary on the Kuna Yala indians and camp with our families. (My camera having been collecting dust for weeks.) But, the "sicky spirits" had a different intent for us. Both of us and our kids were completely laid up with a mega virus that apparently shows up here at the beginning of the rainy season. There are no seasons here really, just rainy and dry! With that, we wouldn't be venturing on a 3 hour car ride then to an hour wooden boat ride to a remote Caribbean island with 2 sick moms, 3 feverish kids and 2 WELL husbands.

Feeling a little better, Safi's Daddy and I decided to make lemonade out of this situation and take off for an overnighter to El Palmar Beach, a shorter drive on the Pacific side.

There, we enjoyed splashing in the water and just escaping the city. Sunday morning we took a stroll on the sand and had an al fresco breakfast. The light was perfect to snap some shots, so of course I did!

One of our favorite activities to do with Safi is reading. She especially enjoys it at breakfast time. So with the light what it was, I captured her enjoying a good read. 

I have these brand new colorful books that I've been dying to show to Safi. Back in May I attended the Mom 2.0 Summit in Miami and mingled with the best of the best Mama bloggers. There, I met an extraordinarily warm and smiley lady, Leah Lesser. She's the Communications Director for Barefoot Books, an independent children's book publisher with a vibrant twist! This month on their Facebook page they asked "What does storytime look like in your family?" and photos from moms around the world flooded in. I took quite an interest to this concept. So, this is our take on it…
Check out the giveaway that Barefoot Books is offering to Mamatography readers at the end of this post!

Later that day, we took a drive up to the mountains to El Valle for a cool off and to stroll the zoo that was highly recommended by my friend, the co-sicky. An hour drive up, then slightly down into "the valley" we arrived at  Zoo Nispero. It was an ethereal place made from my dreams I tell you! Like The Secret Garden of Panama. All the surrounding mountain peaks were covered in mist and everything was a glistening green. With that, it was PICTURE TIME!

Inside the zoo was a wide open garden with a dreamy pond and of course the backdrop of the mountains. Safi was dressed in her same vibrant orange dress from the morning which was a nice contrast to the green around her.

Now for some shooting tips…

1st, make sure that your shutter speed is always fast enough when shooting under low light conditions. As the clouds rolled in I had to increase my exposure but leaving your shutter open longer isn't usually the best way to accomplish this because you will see blur in your photos as did I. When I reviewed my shots at home, I noticed I had used 1/60 for many of what could've been my best shots. Thus, having to scrap some of them due to motion blur. Don't make my mistake! Stay in the safety zone of 1/80 when shooting off of a tripod and subjects in action.

Next, look for some kind of light in the eyes. This isn't always easy, especially when it's overcast. If possible, use a reflector if only to add a "catch light" to your subject's eyes. This means that the eyes are reflecting some sort of light source coming from the sun, flash or any other reflective service even water can produce this quality. So, always be mindful of additional light sources around you.

Lastly, when you're somewhere scenic, create some variety in your series of photos. Shoot the space you're in! Your kiddos are forever adorable, but don't forget to capture the scene itself so that when you output your photos whether it be in a printed album or on Facebook, etc. you'll always have a memory of that special place you visited with your family.

AND HERE'S THE GIVEAWAY: Enter in the Rafflecopter below to win your choice of a Barefoot Book! Check out and see what's up for grabs.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Safi reading Who's in the Farmyard, another colorful publication by Barefoot Books

Now for an end note, I have some very BIG announcements to make in the coming weeks and have been plugging away on the Mamatography Instructional Photo App
Stay tuned for all the goodness!

Happy Shooting, Vicky