Monday 6 February 2012

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Entertaining the Non-Rider - Taking Pictures

The more time I spend online, the more I realize that the world is filled with really great photographers. Even just going down through my friends list on Facebook will usually fill me with amazement at some of the fantastic photos that get taken, and while I'm sure scrolling past my name in Facebook inspires something, I promise you it's not envy of my photography skills. It's not only the concepts of lines, aperture settings and background composition that confuse me, but I also struggle with things like focus, zoom, and keeping my thumb out of the picture. Still, despite my camera incapability, taking pictures is one of the ways that we keep my daughter entertained in theme parks.

Having to take pictures has it's good side though, as it makes you notice the little details that the park puts in. These are the kind of things you miss while you're hurrying from one E-ticket attraction to another, but when you're filling time, you notice all the little extras. Actually my daughter notices them. I'm completely oblivious to details (and hints apparently) but youngest usually finds cute little places to get her picture taken. Then she'll get to pose in the same spot for the next 15 minutes while I take shot after shot and mess up every one of them. It's no wonder that her favorite places to get her picture taken seem to involve sitting down.

That's when Dad's on duty. Lori has a very different strategy for getting photos. For her it's all about getting the pictures with the characters. Downtime in the park with Mom usually involves searching the area for the nearest photo op involving some sort of mythical creature. Basically if they're masked or costumed, Lori wants a picture with them. Double points if they're masked and costumed. Triple points if they're masked, costumed, and wearing spandex. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure that Lori even knows who half the people are that she gets her picture taken with, so if you happen to be wandering through a theme park in bicycle shorts, a Zoro mask and a cape, don't be alarmed if a crazy lady stops you for a photo. Also, please be extra nice to that really embarrassed looking girl being dragged into the shot...that's my daughter.

Sometimes my daughter has simply had enough of us putting her into pictures, and she decides that it's time for her to have the camera. Now she's not a complete novice when it comes to cameras. On the farm I've seen her take almost a half hour trying to get the perfect shot of one of her pet cats. This makes it all the more discouraging when each picture my daughter takes of me only consumes about five seconds of our day. Queries of "Don't you want to take another shot, just to be sure?" are met with "No, I've got it." every time. Surprisingly, she usually does have a pretty good shot, which makes me think that I should go check out these pictures she's taking of her cats. I could have another Annie Leibovitz on my hands here.

While we don't spend too much time taking pictures in theme parks, it does help to keep my daughter entertained for brief moments while we wait for the older two. It kind of skews our memories though, as if you look at the percentage of theme park pictures that feature our youngest daughter, you'd figure that it must be her idea to spend so much time at the parks. I'd say that for every 100 pictures we take, she probably stars in at least 30 of them, ranking her just ahead of the number of photos involving random theme park characters and only slightly behind the amount that feature my thumb. I'm not sure what that says about my photography skills, but if you scroll past my name in Facebook and it inspires you to keep your thumb out of your pictures, I guess I can live with that.

Up next: Entertaining the Non-Rider - The Food