Sunday, February 11, 2007

In Pursuit of the Perfect Picture. Or Even a Half-Way Decent One.

Some of you might have guessed, correctly, that I’m not at my most comfortable in front of a crowd. My gut-wrenching, visceral reaction to public speaking …. the fact I break out in a sweat at the thought of doing karaoke …. Obviously, performing, or even putting myself in a situation where a group of people MIGHT SEE ME, makes me twitchy. And not in a good way. If I’m with a group, it’s OK. But to be by myself, and know people are watching me, gives me hives. I have no idea why, and in fact, tell myself repeatedly that it’s silly. SILLY to feel that way. But, there it is. People watching me; the risk that I might make an ass out of myself in front of a crowd; frankly, it makes me blotchy in the chest.

We went to Kellen’s basketball game yesterday, and I was determined to get some good photos of him playing. A few things, however, were working against me. First, all the seats are on one side of the gym, and Kellen’s team was shooting in the goal at the other end for the entire game. (For some bizarre reason, they don’t switch goals at half-time in this league.) So 99 percent of the action I wanted was at the other end of the court. Plus, it’s an indoor gym, with fluorescent lighting, so there’s not really enough light to take action shots. I use my mamba-jamba telephoto lens in order to get close enough to the action, but the pics usually turn out grainy and underexposed. I try to offset these crappy photo-taking conditions by simply taking about a billion pictures. I figure if I stack the odds, eventually I’ll get lucky and get at least one or two good ones, right?

But alas, yesterday, I was having no luck whatsoever because again, all the action was on the wrong end of the court. So, despite the fact I hate to stand out in a crowd, hate to ever think I am the center of attention, I walked over to the vacant side of the gym to take pictures. So, there are the boys playing on the court. On one lonely side of the gym is me, standing by myself, valiantly peering through my lens hoping for a clear picture, and on the other side of the gym, directly across from me, are all the parents and grandparents and siblings and concession stand workers and anyone else who came to watch the game.

I’m not so sure my strategy worked. I’ve seen some beautiful photography on the blogs I follow, and love when people share their wonderful photos. But these? Not so wonderful.

I got some blurry photos:

I got quite a few of the back of his head:

Sometimes the pole was in focus, that's always lovely:

A few times, I was almost sure it would be a good shot, only to have some other kid step in front of Kellen at the exact moment I clicked the shutter button:

Some more blurry shots:

And probably the best blurry shot of the day:

Now, a normal person would start to get discouraged. A normal person would simply accept the cold hard truth that indoor action photography is better left to those professional photographers with their professional photography equipment. A normal person would just admit defeat, and sit down with her family to enjoy the game.

But I’m not a normal persona, am I? No, by golly, I’m a M.O.M. ! Which means, despite the fact all my pictures are turning out crappy, and I feel completely self-conscious standing by myself on the other side of the gym, I persevere.

I continue to peer through my lens, zooming, un-zooming, focusing, clicking ….. always, always following Kellen with my eyes, through my camera lens, hopeful, confident that eventually I will get just One. Good. Shot. I’m so single-minded ….. so dedicated ….. so focused on my goal …..

There goes a holler from the crowd!

I’m so busy looking through my lens I don’t see what has happened ….. what action did I miss?? Did Kellen do something amazing??? Why the sudden intake of breath from the crowd????

Sam, one of the boys on our team, had thrown a perfect arc, towards the basket, but unfortunately overshot the goal ………………… and the ball came down…………..

And landed right on the top of my head.


Bounced. Right. Off. The. Top. Of. My. Head. Like you see in cartoons, people!

One of those “he couldn’t do that again in a million years” kind of shots!

And I realized, a nano-second too late, that the collective noises I heard from the crowd, the gasps, the intake of breath …. Was the fact that every one of them had a direct view of me getting hit in the head with the ball.

Yes, well, that’s inconspicuous, isn’t it?

It’s a little hard to blend in, when the referee blows his whistle to stop the game and rushes over to make sure you’re ok.

And everyone is watching, certain that you’ve just gotten a concussion.

The only thing that made it better? That really, truly helped me shake it off and get everyone to forget it had happened? When approximately 82 people after the game rushed over to offer me aspirin, and an ice pack. Because for somebody who just wants to pretend that it never happened, that made me feel even BETTER!

So I just perfected my bright smile, and laughed, and said, repeatedly, “No, I’m not hurt as much as I am embarrassed!” And just kept cringing inside.

And you know what’s really pathetic? Here are the first three thoughts that went through my head … in order:

1. Thank you Jesus that ball hit me on top of the head and not my camera because if it had broken my camera and my mamba-jamba telephoto lens I would have thrown myself on the ground crying and it would have been an ugly, ugly scene.

2. Please, please don’t let anyone have been taping that because I really don’t want to wind up on America’s Funniest Videos.

3. That actually didn’t hurt at all. Just how hard is my head, anyway????

Sadly, my best photo of the entire day was of Kellen sitting on the bench. I think I’ll leave the indoor action photography to the pros from now on.


Kelli said...

Things like that could only happen to you, Kristie. Only you. I'm sitting here trying not to laugh at you, but with you...are you laughing? Funny thing is, my first thought would have been about my camera too!

Jen, Steph, Kate & Jack said...

Oh my gosh, how I relate on so many levels!!! I think you really are my twin, down to the camera frustration! I can't get a good action shot with our Rebel to save my life! In fact, I was almost going to email you to see if you were having the same problem, when I heard Steph laughing out loud at your blog. Needless to say, you never cease to bring a smile to our faces :)

Hope to see you at the circus today!!!

Camp Jack

Sherri in NC said...


OMG, that is TOO funny! Sorry to laugh at that experience but I can visualize exactly what that must have looked like to the rest of the crowd! Oh, and the rushing up with the "oh, you poor thing, are you ok??" comments by the masses does not help, either. Remember what I said recently about praying for a hole to open up in the ground when I went sprawling on my ass in front of a crowd? Bet you hoped to disappear from sight in some similar way too. But at least in this case, it wasn't your fault in any way. Thanks for the laughs today!

Sherri in NC

Patty House in Indiana said...

Oh Kristi I am so sorry, but that was the absolute best laugh I have had in weeks. I could SO see that happening to me...only at a soccer game. I do that same thing with taking pictures. I even put my camera on the continuous thingy and take who knows how many pictures every second. ;) So I'm right there with ya. I would have been more worried about my camera too.

cwing said...

Ouch! Maybe, if someone videotaped that moment, they'll give you cut of the $100,000 grand prize. Priceless, but I feel your pain.

I love the "All About Me" song. That's my motto, too!

Cheryl in NC

Patricia said...

You SO crack me up! Yes, I have been that "one" over there taking pictures...feeling like a dweeb for wanting just ONE GOOD PICTURE of my kids playing! Of course, I look even worse because I sit with my camcorder WAITING for our middle child to make a basket. Did he make one all last year when I taped nearly every game? NO. Did I think to take my camcorder to the first game of this year? NO. Did he score in the first game this year? YES. Have I taken the camcorder to games since that first game-yes, but NEVER to a game where he got a basket. Oh well...he'll be able to, sadly, claim that he's the middle child and that his mom missed so much of recording his childhood because he was not the first. lol!! Thanks for making me laugh!

Kristina said...

I am definitely laughing WITH you! I am an avid picture taker and I get so annoyed when I can't take good pictures. I try my best but like you it seems that someone steps in front of those pictures that might have been decent and I tend to focus on "the pole" or whatever in others...until...this past summer! I purchased a really nice (and rather expensive) camera and I must admit either it is magnificent or I am getting better at picture taking! I think its the first though...great enough that I was asked to take the team photo for the basketball team because my pictures are the best! Ha...they have never seen the majority of my photos! Anyway, I am right there with you...from being in the public speaking...and photo taking! I would love a chance to meet you in person! You need to make a "meet Kristie day" and I believe you would be overhelmed by the response!! Still laughing from Brookville, Ohio

"M" said...

Would ya feed that kid? Geez, he's going to be as embarrassing as my 6' 4 1/2" 15 year old...that I still weigh more than!
Love from CA where basketball season is over!

kim said...

Kristie, I honestly am sorry that you got bonked on the head, but all I can really see is what a cute kid Kellen is! My gosh, that kid is long and lanky, isn't he? Just a doll, even a little blurry! I admire anyone who can take pictures that feature a head on top of the body; I'm thinking, though, that I might improve a little bit if I get myself one of those newfangled digital thingamajigs--HA! I like your pictures, all of them. And I also like that "meet Kristie" idea! HA! Think of how you'd hyperventilate if all of your admirers-via-your-blog came rushing at you all at once! Ah, the price of having a "following"!!! Still, YOU ROCK!

Renee said...

Only you, Kristie. Only you!

cwing said...

Can you please let us know who sings my new favorite song, "It's All About ME?"

Thanks! cheryl @

Kristie said...

Cheryl, it's by Tokyo Joe. I need to find someplace to put that information, because I think this is the third time I've had to answer this question in the guestbook! :)

Donna said...

Kristie, if you are shooting digital, try changing the film speed (ISO) to a faster speed--higher numbers are faster. So if you normally have it set at 100 or 200 (fine for outdoors or slow subjects), bump it up to 1000 and see if you have any better luck. Pioneer Woman would obviously be a great source of help on this, since she is a camera goddess--and one who eschews the flash. I am still learning how to use my new digi, so my advice is limited. Let us know if you find a good solution because ds's last basketball game is Saturday!

Tammy said...

I am so glad to hear that someone else besides me gets the blotchy chest from nerves besides me. I can always count on my husband to point it out to me to in public situations! How embarrassing!!! He always wants me to wear low cut shirts, and I am like heck no! I have to cover the rash! :)Anyways, have a great week! Hope your noggin is ok. Good luck at the next basketball game. Maybe you should wear a helmet!!!!

Tammy from Texas

Amy from St. Pete said...

I'm so sorry that you had to live through that torture. I had something like that happen to me yesterday. I took my son Luke (6) to one of his friends birthday party. It was outside and a bit chilly. We were at a city part without a bathroom. I figure after an hour of making small talk with the adults that it was time to go. I really had to pee too!! I get in my minivan and the alarm starts going off for no reason. I'm doing everything I can to make it STOP, but it just won't!! The horn is going crazy, Luke is freaking out, I'm freaking out because everyone is looking at me. I'm sure they thought I was so stupid. After a few minutes someones grandpa took out the fuse for the horn. So it was quiet but I couldn't start it. It was horrible Kristie!! Everyone was laughing and someone DID take video of me freaking out. My husband had to come to help. He had to end up taking the van to the dealership. There were some loose wires or something. I was just glad I didn't break it!!

Briana said...

I just typed a long comment and for some reason it didn't post.

The long and short of it - sorry about the embarrassment of getting hit on the head and glad Blaine can hear again.

Marci Connell said...

Why did I miss one of them hilarious moments and it wasnt me on the end of it...LOL...Praying your head feels much better today or you are using it to get some NEEDED REST and ATTENTION! Love, Marci The Prayer Bears

Mom on Coffee said...

OMG, I soooo would have died right there. I can't even imagine how many shades of red my face would have turned! Kudos to you for not running out of the gym and waiting in the car for Kellen!

I just bought a new camera with a sports setting, does yours have that?

Clara Zimmerman said...

I'm not sure which was funnier, this or the Dance of the Goobers at your speaking engagement. Thanks for the MANY belly laughs! I hope I don't think about this tomorrow when I am by myself, like at the grocery store or something, and start laughing out loud and get some curious stares from other shoppers....