Where’d the couch go?

I hate it. I hate it when you go away and they move the furniture. There’s a couch right in front of this group before and after this shot was taken. Interesting crowd. Without the database I am about as ignorant about the time and circumstance. The sofa is out. For repair? Everyone is wearing sweaters. This group is usually present in the summer. But no shorts are here. The setup is perfect. I set up a tripod on the stairs and get a vantage from above.

Now, I wonder where that couch went to?

Measuring up

One – me/I – never cease comparing myself and my work to others. Do I measure up? Am I better than ordinary better than average?

Family snaps? Easily I am as good or better. Professional group shot? Um, the jury is out. For sure, I am less expensive! In a quiet moment, I can stage and shoot a family portrait right up there as good as the best of them. Gesture(s)? “Jump!”

I favor natural light. Avoid harsh shadows. Bright sunlight is too much for the camera to compensate over such a wide range. Incandescent home lighting tends toward yellow tones. I prefer a good shot out of the camera as opposed to a long fix in Photoshop. No one group shot is ever perfect. Someone is looking, frowning, talking, or simply has their eyes closed. Take multiple shots, pray the crowd is patient, and hope for the best.

When it comes to a group shot, there are no bad ones – it’s all about posterity, eh?


Another day, another party, another group shot. I am about tapped out. There is not room within this small space to jump.


Aha! It works. At least this is not run of the mill. Different. Fun! Laugh! Ok! I got a new trick.

As with all things, exposure and focus would help. And it would help if everyone were looking at the camera. Of course someone always has their eyes closed. So I shoot multiple shots and pick among the least worst. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.


We got old. Older?! Eric and I have not seen each other in a few years. His dog tried to eat my cat last time we saw each other. The dog also ate my cake. Eric was allergic to cat and nearly could not breath at all sleeping in our spare room. On so many levels….we just did not see each other. Time heals. We saw each other at thanksgiving. The vest? Christmas present from Christmas past. It was so long ago… and I just kept it all those years. We did not grow. Just older.

Colleen took the picture. Press the shutter and fire. She knows the drill. Press the shutter a few times. My problem? The automatic settings got changed and ISO was not fast enough. There was some blur. My bad. The buttons get touched and the settings change. It is too easy. There is no lock on the settings. We got a shot. It’s been a long time. If we wait too long….

One shot

You think it’s easy? Does it look easy? Work? Does it make you shudder? Cooperation? Any??!!!

Even Colleen was reluctant… till I told her she could wear her favorite dress. Try to get a squirming cat to look at the camera. Flash helps – fast shutter speed. A pose? Just get the cats with their eyes open and looking forward. No cats were harmed in the making of this picture. We got it pretty much down to routine. I set up a tripod, so the perspective does not change. I load batteries in the flash. Each cat is wrangled into position on the table. The order is not important. They all fit side by side according to expression. Done.

Ha ha. Jen pointed out we got photobombed. Spice was in our picture over Colleen’s left shoulder. Yes, I do not have eyes in the back of my head. Hey, I got a shot! Let’s not get too picky.

Luck, persistence, and a lot of space on the memory card…


Three old ladies. Shhh…. Not that old. I got the best one. That’s a fact. There is a brother. We don’t much get shots with him.

I can get a group shot easily enough. Mostly the sisters do not want a picture. So it is a grab shot and difficult at best. They sort of smile and they indulge me as I grab a few quick shots hoping for a smile and eyes wide open. You end up with what you end up with. I pass the images along. Who cares? I wonder who matters to whom. Meanwhile they might get used to me and forget and let their guard down once in a while. Hey! I’m shy too.


Life gives you lemons – take ‘em. Yeah yeah, it is – make lemonade.

I shoot my cats. They rarely pose together. By the time I have a camera in hand, the moment has passed. I try. I fail. Sometimes I get a shot. While never perfect I consider myself always practicing. I’m better one on one. Of course! But two is better! I got a lotta lemons.


I must enjoy herding cats…. One of the treasured pictures that I see among Colleen’s and Jen’s family shots is the “group shot.” The “occasion shot” seems to occur whenever there is a family gathering. Actually, mostly not. No one really is paying attention and the photo is taken somehow. But in retrospect it is laden with fond memories documenting who was alive and well at the time. So, I do my best to record the groups as they gather for the annual family reunion at the beach. Different families drift in and out of the pictures. Folks are generally cheerful about it all.

The conundrum is to catch the group in one place and time for the moments it takes to record the photograph. It is usually a group too large to focus in the frame of the image. I chose a high point – the balcony above. That way tall or short the camera will see your face. Of course, you have to look at the camera. And then redundancy is a must. Someone always has their eyes closed. Ok, shoot redundantly or be prepared to Photoshop.

By now our guests are used to this preamble to dinner. They gather cheerfully. I shoot with a remote. We hope for the best. Ah! I do use flash for a number of reasons. Success! …umm Bruce? Bruce?!?! Where’s Bruce?