The Greatest Photo I Ever/Never Took

My blog is in it’s infancy, it is barely a week old!  Congratulations little bloggie-doo.  But as my wife the pragmatist pertinently points out, I’m tending to moan a little.  So, in the interests of balancing things out, here is a blog so unreservedly, ubiquitously, utterly, unfailingly, unfalteringly and unconditionally happy and utopian that it will make you the happiest penguin ever, just by reading it thrice, while patting a fluffy rabbit.

In these photos, you see me and my dearly loved (dearly departed-boo!) Grandad.  Of course, one of these photos is nearly 10 years old and the other is nearly 25 years old, and I am much slimmer in both.  I remember wanting a photo of Grandad in a place that meant a lot to us both, his garden and his lawn.  I remember trying to focus and set up the frame and getting a wonderful photo of him dibbling his lawn.  Then, in a moment of levity, I tried putting the camera on top of a garden table, propping the lens up on a bottle top, pressing the shutter, running over into the frame, watching the lens start to fall off the bottle top and then both of us looking bemused as the camera started to tilt over …all while the timer went and snap!  Happy, happy, happy days.

Now, the photo.  I took it with my Canon EOS 3000 when I first got it, just before I committed it to purgatory.  The photo isn’t very sharp, it isn’t ‘straight’ and it isn’t very bright.  But I’m calling this photo perfect, because content is everything.  Looking through my photos, while I have many, many photos of things that remind me of my Grandad, or are of my Grandad, very few are of me and my Grandad.  So I’ll be grateful (and happy!) I took this one, even though it isn’t perfect.  But it is perfect. 

I don’t know who took the other photo, the one of the most insanely happiest child you’ve ever seen in your life (me!) on a ride-on-mower, but I am very glad they did.  Because it is:


That’s right, I busted an awesome.  Whoever took the photo followed at least two of my Photo Rules.  Photo Rules you ask?  Yes, whenever I take a photo I try and keep some Photo Rules rolling through my head to challenge me.  These are a combination of rules that I’ve picked up as I’ve gone along in life.  Some I’ve picked up from books, some from friends’ advice and some from all over the show.  Here are a few of them, this list is not exhaustive, but the main ones I remember.

  1. If you want to take a photo of the water, get your feet wet
  2. 1/3, 1/3, 1/3
  3. Where is the light?
  4. Don’t break the frame
  5. Big aperture number = big depth of field
  6. Lens length = slowest hand held shutter speed
  7. Mountains look better with clouds
  8. Mornings and evenings
  9. Wide angle means get closer
  10. If you want the background close then walk away and zoom
  11. It’s all about the light
  12. It’s all about the light
  13. It’s all about the light
  14. Get down you bad thing*

(*Generally this rule means anything, from, if you want to take a photo of dancers, dance.  If you want to take a photo of a child, be a child.  If you want to take a photo of a flower, think like a bug.  Get down you bad thing.)

But these are a few of my rules.  Whoever took the photo of the delirious kid (me!) and his Grandad was obviously on a consumer 35mm snapshooter - I know this because no-one in my family has ever owned anything else.  But they did a great job, they got real close, they got Grandad’s eyeline on a third of the frame, they let the hills in the background be hills and not muddle the frame, they got the light (the sun) left of frame - enough for shadows and enough for highlights!  Thank you family member for a brilliant photo.

So there we go!  A happy kid, a happy penguin (click the link) and a happy post, happy reading.  Normal service returns with the next post.