Thursday, December 8, 2011

it's magical, this little tree

It's not the prettiest tree, this Christmas tree of ours.  Not the fullest, or the tallest, or the greenest.  Blame it on my second grade music teacher, who cast me as the "Littlest Christmas Tree" in our school Christmas play.  A role that had me standing in a cardboard tree costume with a hole cut out for my face while my classmates, playing townspeople on a tree lot, pointed and laughed at my scrawniness, passing me over time and time again.  I was not, my teacher assured me, chosen because I was the tiniest second grader to ever do second grade, but because she thought I had the most talent.  I knew, even then as I held my (tiny) chin high, that she was just being nice.  I was the littlest.  I could see that.  It was okay.  I was special, too, even if I was the size of the baby kindergartners in the lunch line and got my younger cousin's hand-me-downs.  So this year, when my husband turned up  his nose at the skinny, stumpy, picked-over trees at our local hardware store, and turned to me impatiently and said "come on, let's go somewhere else and find better trees" ... I lingered, chewing my lip.  Those poor scraggly trees!  They were pretty, too, just in their own special kind of way.  I picked the one that looked the most hopeful, knowing I could pull off the dead branches at the bottom and wrap it with a million white twinkly lights and make it shine.  Sure, it's a little crooked, and sure, the branches could be more evenly spaced.  But it's our tree.  And last night?  With two little littles wiggling giddily in their zipped up holiday jammies as they danced around that tree and I snapped away?  It was magical, that tree of ours.



Shine on, little tree.

Shot these at night with every light in the house off.  Except the one million on the tree, obvi.  I've got a Nikon D60 with a Tamron 28-75mm lens that I'm juuuuust barely learning to shoot in manual.  To get these pics I cranked the ISO as high as it would go (1600), set the aperture at f 2.8, and shutter speed at 1/30.  I propped the camera on a bar stool to make sure I didn't get any blur from movement (since I don't have a tripod).  Then I told the kids to be good or they wouldn't get any M&Ms.  I did the teensiest bit of editing in Aperture, just to up the exposure a tiny bit.  I have no idea if I'm using technically correct terms here, yall.  I'm just a newbie.  :)

A shout out to my friend Beth B (now very Pinterest-famous!) and one of my new favorite bloggers, Little Blue Boo for the great inspiration picture/setting info I used to get these photos.  Isn't the internet the best?  Yes.  Yes, it is.

22 comments:

Katie said...

You creative crafty thing... I am going to copy you!!!!! What else ya got?

Jenn said...

Holy moly those are some impressive pictures!

Ashley said...

LOVE the pictures, great shots!

A/K said...

Your kids and your scraggly little tree are going to become Pinterest famous. I'm calling it right now.

Verna said...

Great pictures!

Mel said...

Love your talent AND your perfect tree!!

Kari said...

I totally pinned that same tree shot on the Unskinny Boppy blog...another reason I love Pinterest - just such great ideas on there! Keep on shooting, girl! And props to you on learning manual. I really think it makes a big difference, especially when shooting in any weird type of light (try shooting your kids at sunset sometime this next summer, with the sun behind them...you can do some really fun things with that!)

Elle's Mom said...

Beautiful!!! Hugs, Lisa from Lil Blue Boo

Lisa said...

cute, cute, cute!!

SurvivorBlessing said...

New here and LOVE the pictures - they are wonderful.

Jackie said...

Thanks for this...I have a new NikonD3000 and am learning. Trying to take pictures of my Christmas decorations and not coming out right especially the trees, but will try this method, TFS!

Katie said...

OMGSH You're FAMOUS!!

The Ripleys said...

Color me "inspired"!! Can't wait to get my three monkeys in their zip up jammies and do this!

Hannah Elise said...

Aww these photos are gorgeous!! And I love your story of you in the play and your tree!! Soo cute!

Jess said...

Awesome pics. Can't wait to try with my twerps! <3

mariemaries said...

GORGEOUS PHOTOS! Great job!!

I wish my baby was older, this is too cute!

eleni said...

How did you get the kids to be underexposed? I used all the same settings and the people in front of the tree are fully exposed!

The Adcox Family said...

What program did you use to add the font on your pictures? Amazingly beautiful!

Cely Cel said...

I had the same problem Eleni did. it didn't work out for me:(

Melissa Bo said...

Love this photo! =)
Thanks for sharing how to do it.

lillymilly007 said...

Awesome picture!
cute story!

Angie Pappas said...

Tried to get this picture done with my 2 yr old son, but of course he is fidgety and any slight movement from him he was faded out of the picture. How can I get the picture to come out, with him not completely still? Please someone help me!