Sunday, October 14, 2007

Photographing Four

Here is a photograph of my four granddaughters, taken at the littlest one's first birthday party yesterday in Vermont. This is not the only picture I took of them, of course. Getting all four to look in the same direction was a challenge, and I ended up taking about a dozen shots, all but two now deleted.

The mathematicians who drop by can figure out a formula for the number of shots it takes to take a good picture of a given number of granddaughters, factoring in their ages, but what I know is that it's not easy, at least not now.

As they grow older, however, I expect it to grow somewhat easier.

However, these four will likely never be any more cooperative than they were yesterday. The two brown ones, constant readers will realize, are my own. The standing dog is my older son's, the sitting dog my younger son's. I won't put their names in because the Internet is full of canine predators who would then appear in Chris Hansen's back yard with Milk Bones, calling to them.

I worked for about two minutes to get a shot of the four of them sitting and facing the same direction. Then I decided to modify my goal to see if I could get a shot of the four of them sitting at the same time, no matter which direction they were facing. I won't say how long I spent on that.

The problem was that I could stand in one place and reach three dogs, but never the fourth. So, when I'd get three of them sitting, I'd have to leave to grab the fourth dog, and at least one of the sitting dogs would either decide to come see what I was going to do, or would decide the sitting session had ended or would simply lose focus and drift away.

This is a good example of shutter lag. I swear, when I pushed the shutter button, there were four dogs sitting. (I am well aware that my children will refuse to confirm this, which is one of the disadvantages of not having the right sort of relationship with them.)

I remain convinced it can be done. Here are three dogs in a photo taken about 10 years ago, when the one in the middle was the youngest, rather than the eldest, as he is in the other shot here. Three is not that difficult. Can adding one more dog change it from challenging to impossible?


The question of how many more small granddaughters you can add before things go completely out of control, I will leave to my children.


Anonymous said...

Hey, Big Daddy! I had no idea who your role model was. Oh - that's right - you DON'T have that relationship. On balance, that's ok.

Not Big Mama

Sherwood Harrington said...

I am so head-over-heels infatuated by that picture of your granddaughters, Mike, that it will be hard for me to comment on anything else in this post. They are SO gorgeous, sure, but the expressions on their faces sparkle, so different, so lively, that their attractiveness takes a back seat.

Sigh. Just when I think the world is awful, faces like this come along. Thanks for sharing, and, O'Ronnie, you must be a GREAT grandma. Pun intended.

As for the dogs: you think it's hard getting four DOGS to sit still for a picture? Try cats sometime.

The last time Diane and I had as few as two cats was in 1992. Only once since then have we been able to capture in a single frame all of the cats we share our place with.

Here it is. I'm aware that the Peterson family isn't much fond of cats, but the link will be attractive to at least a couple of kitty-types who drop by here, like the Canadian ronnie and our Carolina connection.

Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

These are great photos - yes, the expressive faces are what they're really about, as are the dogs having other things on their minds than getting photographed.

Guess your camera does not have the nifty little movie-camera setting? Mine will take what amounts to a series of stills that could be run as a movie, and could theoretically capture fleeting moments of cooperation, but has never worked with cats since they don't cooperate even for fleeting moments.

(Sherwood - also a great pic. "A carpet, a patch of sunlight: life is good.")

ronnie said...

Sherwood, I have just one question - is the dark patch at the edge of the frame lower-right an errant slipper, or a cat that got away, and you're bluffing?

Mike, those are some beautiful kids!


Brian Fies said...

I can't even get two 19-year-old girls looking the same direction with pleasant non-scowling-or-eyerolling expressions at the same time. So well done.

Cats? Fergeddabout it. We've got three, and I can't get a good photo of one at a time.