Playing with shutter speed is so fun.  I’ve always thought of aperture as my favorite setting to play with for how it impacts depth of field and gives the appearance of selective focus, but ever since I joined the teaching team for Mastering Manual Exposure my appreciation for shutter speed has grown.  Nearly 100% of the time, I’d just be sure to have my shutter speed fast enough to avoid any movement blur in my images.  I’d always want to make sure my aperture was ‘just’ fast enough and would put my other settings first.  I still pretty much always do that, but every once in awhile it is a fun challenge just to take photos for the soul purpose of freezing fast, big, crazy movement.   Little boys give so many opportunities for this!

The goal for me is to look for opportunities that are so action packed that they happen so fast that without that fast shutter speed we can’t even SEE all that is going on.  We can’t see the expression, the hair suspended, the dog’s jowls flapping with just our eyes … these opportunities let me shoot in a way that allows the viewer to see the action in a way that they couldn’t see on their own.

 

85mm … 2.5 … ISO 1000 … 1/16000

I mean … really.  They just crack me up like no other.  Those expressions!  I’ve seen them jump like this a dozen times, but never knew the goofiness that is their expressions. ;)

I could have figured, but yes, that tongue comes out even when he jumps!

And just because I liked this one, too. :D  Even when my subject is sitting still, I just keep my shutter speed up fast because then I don’t have to adjust it when they get up! ;)

With these kiddos, and this dog, fast shutter speeds are my good, good friend.   And seeing these types of images really makes my boys laugh and enjoy photography.  It’s a win win!

Thanks for visiting!  If you have any questions about using a fast shutter speed, let me know! ♥

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  • Mom - I love these action photos! Yes, the looks on those sweet faces are priceless. …Charlie Go Crazy!!!…
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

  • K Lee - Hi Lacey! Do you use BBF? Thanks! Kim-ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Hi Kim! Yep, I do! I like the extra good grip it gives me on the camera body, as well as separating the focus function from the shutter button. :)ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey Pedey - Love these! Especially the ones with Charlie shaking, reminds me of the post you had a few months ago…. anyway, was just wondering what camera you’re using. I saw your shutter was up to 1/16000! I don’t think mine goes that high.ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Did I post 1/16000?? Lol… I’d better fix that! It was supposed to be 1/1600.;) My camera only goes up to 1/8000. :)ReplyCancel

  • Marilyn - amazing capture! You are truly talented! I want to take Mastering Manual Exposure but I get super nervous that I won’t be able to understand a lot of it! I’m a preschool learner. I need the one on oneReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Oh, Marilyn! You should!! We would walk you through all of it and love to break down the concepts. I promise you would be able to handle it. :)ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie & Nathan - I love your photography tips. Thank you for taking the time to put them together, and please keep them coming. I actually came across your blog months ago and then somehow lost it. I had to google “husband on unicycle in the country” then look at the images it pulled based on the search to find it again! :) It is now bookmarked with a few of my other favorite sites. What are your tips for getting such crisp images?

    Thank you! – StephanieReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Oh my gosh, Stephanie! I love it! I told my husband what you searched for and he totally laughed … that’s awesome. ;) Thank you for enjoying my blog. That really means a lot to me! And to answer your question about tips for getting crisp images, I think it comes down to a few things. Ample light is important. These were taken in open shade, in the evening, so there was even consistent light. Keeping the shutter speed up to avoid blur and camera shake is important as well. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but really, getting the exposure right is so important, too, even if you’re shooting in RAW and are able to ‘fix’ the exposure later. An underexposed shot that is corrected in post processing will have an increase in noise, and therefore a lack of clarity. :)ReplyCancel

  • valerie a. - Lacey–one of the things I love most about your pictures is how you always seem to [so beautifully!] capture your family’s life IN MOTION–that’s the essence of childhood it seems! Thanks so much for the tips! Just wondering–how can you shoot at f2.5 when they are jumping around? How do you know what to focus on and have that shallow of DOF when I would guess they aren’t staying perfectly in the same plane when they jump. Clearly, you are amazing! :) Any tips on focusing (how/where/when) for something like this at such a low f-stop would be great!THANK YOU!ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Well, gosh … thank you. ;) You are right. Shooting at 2.5 was risky! Especially with a bit of a longish focal length. I just told them to stand across from each other and to jump straight up. That kept them on the same focal plane and thanks to my distance from them, that focal plane wasn’t quite as small as it would seem. Now, in all honesty. If you zoomed in on these at 100% the focus may not be worthy of printing at 20×30. BUT, when I’m sharing on web or am only printing at 4×6 for my albums (because, really, none of these particular shots are getting enlarged ;) ) the focus is totally fine. I do always zoom in to 100% on my LCD and will adjust the aperture if I’m finding the focal plane is just too small, but I’ve gotten comfortable with predicting pretty close to what will work for my shots and what won’t. The ones of Charlie, though, shaking… he was close to me and those should have been shot with a narrower aperture. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Jo - This is very timely as I was just practicing with some action jumping shots of my daughter. I was scared to go to high with my ISO to be able to have a higher shutter speed, but looks like I need to just go for it because my pictures weren’t quite like I expected.ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Hi Jo! Yes, don’t be afraid of that higher ISO. A bit of noise can be helped out in Lightroom or ACR, but a blurry shot because the SS was too slow can’t be. ;)ReplyCancel

  • KimG - Love these Lacey! Boys and dogs move so much its fun to catch them in the midst of the chaos. I’m sure they love them!ReplyCancel

My boys all learned to pedal on this little ‘motorcycle’.  It’s really just a plastic trike, but since the one of the buttons makes a revving sound and one gives the weather report and the others used to do things that also suggested it’s a motorcycle … they’ve always called it their motorcycle.

I’m sure it was a Goodwill find from my mother-in-law and man has it seen better days.  For 8 or so years it’s been ridden, left out in the rain, pushed up the gravel driveway, broken, and has been fixed, put into the ‘donate’ pile and has been pulled back out again (a few times) and put into the ‘trash’ pile and has been pulled out again (a few times).  It has had a good life with our boys and is evidently still determined to stick around for awhile.  Because these boys have found a new use for it.  After the seat broke off, it became ‘useable’ again to the bigger boys and the light bulbs started going on.

They started riding it fast down this little hill and that little bit bigger hill, until they discovered this long, steep hillside road that their grandpa has driven over just the right amount of times now to beat down the perfect riding paths.  “Perfect” by their standards.  A bit terrifying by mine.

I’m not sure who scares me more.  The boy riding or the boy running.

They seem thoroughly unimpressed in this shot, but trust me, it is thrilling and nerve-wracking to watch. ;)  I think Matt was just a little envious that he couldn’t fit on the ‘motorcycle’ and give the hill a go.

The littlest guy, of course needs a turn, too, but he starts up only half-way and misses the really steep-build-up-speed-portion.

“WATCH OUT MOOOOOMMMM!!!!!”

As I was watching them ride over and over I kept looking back over my shoulder at this little pretty pocket of light, imagining that had I had 3 little girls, they’d be playing prettily and carefully in the pretty pocket of light and I wouldn’t be praying against broken bones and knocked out teeth.  {I know, that’s just an image in my head … little girls can be dare-devils, too!}

But then the hoops and hollers of laughter and energy and thrill would pull me back to the action and though my heart was racing and I’d say “OOOH, be CAREFUL!!” for the 20th time, I’d give thanks for my little boys.  For how full they keep my life.  And for how on my toes, they keep me.

Little boys are so, amazingly fun.  So amazingly crazy, too.  But there is so much fun to be found in little-boy-crazy. :)

{Although, this is one of the reasons I do look forward to fall and winter … much calmer, safer activities fill their time!}

 

Thank you for visiting, and for not judging me on the activities that my boys are allowed to do!  LOL … they are ONLY allowed to do this when my husband or I are watching and when they have their helmets on. ;)  Also, these were all taken with the 70-200 so that I could safely take shots without being plowed down from being too close.  :)

 

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  • Courtney - How fun much! I can just feel how much fun you guys were having. I think our kids would be fast friends. Although my oldest would probably have been twirling in the light my middle would have thrown elbows to get a turn and the little one would definitely not have wanted to be left out either :)ReplyCancel

  • meg - So fun!!! I showed my dudes this post and they said “oooooohhh can we do that!!!!” YES! Letting boys be boys is so much fun to see. Such beautiful photos and beautiful thoughts on being a boy mom!ReplyCancel

  • Marilyn - I had six boys…I loved every mintue of their stunts. Dad was a different story lol!! These images are amazing. I look forward to your blogs!ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Marilyn …. do your boys make your husband nervous with their craziness?? Mine do! There have been several times where he’s more anxious than I am, and I can’t help but think, “you were a boy once … you should love this stuff!” LOL …ReplyCancel

      • Marilyn - My hubby is a scary cat lol!! I was the tom-boy in my family so climbing skateboard down stairs or sidewalks was no big deal lol!! I love to see by boys be boys…climb trees, play in mud ect. I have a granddaughter who is 2 and she can dress super cute and a dress but get dirty like her cousin. You’re only a kid once.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - This has cracked me up!!! I love their legs sticking out! Haha! Funny about the pretty pocket of light and little girls….my girls would be riding the ‘motorcycle’ for sure. LOLReplyCancel

  • Jolene - I think our boys would get along great! And I have an almost 3 yr.old girl that is as bad as her brothers:) Love these shots!!ReplyCancel

  • Mom - Lots of fun, though a bit nerve-racking. I was happy to hear from Doot that he didn’t hurt himself when he tripped over a rock. And glad to hear he marked it with that piece of wood! It seems to me that I pushed GC&K on that motorcycle when they were just little guys. It’s had lots of use and abuse. :)
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

  • Ashley - Lacey, I LOVE this post! My husband would be trying to find a way to make it down the hill too! And as for little girls, mine (remember the little blonde princess from the January run of MME??) would be right there with them, just in a princess dress!ReplyCancel

I sometimes wonder if I will ever run out of things to photograph.  But then I remember that since my boys will always be doing something and will always have stuff they love doing, I probably won’t.  {They’ll probably ask me to stop photographing them doing these things long before I’ll ever run out of things that I want to photograph. ;)  }

One of the things Kaden currently loves to do, is shoot his bow.  All of my boys have gone through this, and the older ones drift in and out of wanting to shoot.  But nearly everyday, this littlest guy asks to shoot his bow “when Dad gets home.”

I’ve photographed him doing this many times … thus, showing his progress.   I’ve heard it said that if you’ve seen this scene through your viewfinder before, you shouldn’t press your shutter.  I’m thankful I don’t embrace that!  I have seen through my lens, Kaden shooting, but each time I capture him I see more confidence, more focus, more accuracy.  More growth.

Gosh, he looks like such a big boy.

He’s faster at loading his arrow than me.

He has a better stance than me.

He’s pretty much all around better at shooting, than me!

Granted, he stands only 12 feet from the target, but still.

As long as they keep doing stuff, especially stuff they enjoy, and they have loves in their lives … and they keep letting me … and keep smiling like THAT … I’ll always have stuff to photograph.  ♥

Happy Friday!!  Enjoy your weekend! xoxo

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  • Mom - Oh, my. That is the cutest, sweetest post ever (though I can say that for most of your posts)! You kept me in suspense, and then made me chuckle, and then THAT smile made my heart melt….ahhh….
    XO to little Tado from Grammie
    XOXO to Doot & Coop too :)ReplyCancel

  • Brea - That is super adorable. Little boy doing big things! Curious what lens you used here?ReplyCancel

I was cleaning the kitchen the other day and saw out of my window the boys running from one of the forts to another.  From the one on the railroad grade, through the trees to the one they’ve most recently been working on.  I was seriously enjoying my quiet time … have I mentioned I enjoy quiet time??  … but realized I had yet to photograph them in their forts.  These boys are FORT-BUILDERS.  Big-time.  To the max.  They have 7 that they’ve created this summer.  Several they built with friends, and only really like to play in them with those friends.  And one they don’t go into much because the tall grass blocks our view of it from the house … perfect for camouflage, but also perfect for a cougar to hid in (so they tell me).

But for the most part, they just venture from one to the next, building on and playing in, these forts that are located in a circular pattern around our house. ;)  Always within earshot of the house.

And on this day, I couldn’t pass up the chance to invite myself into their world of fort-building.  First, I had to get past the chickens who always flock to us when we come out, hopeful for a hand-out of scraps.   

And I got there just in time to see Kaden about to propel himself down the hill in their well-used wagon.

This guy is always nearby the fort-in-progress.

This particular fort was birthed from a ‘ladder’ Matt built years ago in his trial-riding days.  They’ve added walls, and the tarp and other details.  I’m a little fearful that we may find a squatter in it, someday. ;)

Charlie … always so interested. And so insistent on being involved. ;)

I suppose I should give credit where credit is due … the big guys build, while the little guy slides on his bum down the dirt hill next to the fort…

… until one of them specifically asks for his help.  Like here.  Holding up the ‘bull horns’ while Cooper attaches them to the doorway.

For whatever reason, the ‘building’ was put on hold when they discovered that they could encourage Charlie to dig like crazy in the hillside.  Something about seeing his determination in digging a hole is way too entertaining.

As long as Gage kept a little bit of dirt trickling into the hole. Charlie dug and dug…

… and dug…

… and dug {while Cooper sneezed …}

… and dug some more.

I left the fort-builders and hole-digger to their goofy ways and headed back to the house, only to nearly get attacked by our rooster, Ross.

I screamed and kicked, scared him off, and got back to the house.  Once my heart calmed down (it is crazy scary to get charged at by a big rooster!), I was still able enjoy some quiet time while Charlie dug another foot and a half into the hill-side and the boys finished the work on their fort.  For today.

It was 45-mintutes very well spent. :)

 

Photography friends… shooting in the woods is tough, but this day was overcast which made it easier.  Also, this fort is right on the edge of the trees so we get nice directional light coming in which also makes for easier, more consistent light and shooting. :) 

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  • Nicole - This is such a lovely, insightful glimpse into the life of boys. I hope my son will someday have siblings to share in similar adventures! Thanks for sharing the lighting info. Would you mind sharing what type of lens you used?ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - This reminded me of when we grew up building forts, only we used hay bales. That last bit about Ross literally made me “lol” & thanks for sharing the blurb about lighting! Love little tips like that. :)ReplyCancel

  • Marilyn - these images are breathtakingReplyCancel

  • Mari - I’m not sure if my comment had gone through so I’m reposting it! Your images are breathtaking! Do you edit all your photo and to what extent?

    Thank you
    MarilynReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Hi Marilyn! Thank you! I do edit all of the images you see on my blog, but with a light hand. With a many photos as I take, I really don’t have the time to do much more… But also don’t have the vision. ;) I really want my shots to resemble as true to life as I can. So usually I just add in a pop of contrast and color in Photoshop after tweaking exposure or WB in Lightroom. :)ReplyCancel

  • Tara - What fun!

    My brother brought home a cute baby chick from school once. It grew into a horrible great rooster. Scary!ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - LOL … yep, they start out so cute, but roosters can be crazy!ReplyCancel

  • Mom - GC&K are so blessed to have the space, access, and each other, together with their imagination. I remember as a little girl having camps in the woods next to our home, which was in a housing development. I can still remember the smell of the scotch broom that I used as a broom to sweep the dirt in my camp. Ah… the memories I have and the memories your boys are making. They are blessed that they’ll have photos to bring back ALL their wonderful childhood adventures :)
    XOXOXO to GCK from Grammie
    Hugs to Charlie tooReplyCancel

  • Arielle - Lacey, I’ve just found your blog and I am in love with your photos! What gorgeous light you manage to capture. I’m curious about the light in this set – is this really all captured in the shot or is some of it adjusted in post-processing? I can’t imagine how to get such a luminous glow in outdoor photos, but that is because I am a newbie :)ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Hi Arielle! Thanks for coming to my blog and for the sweet compliment about my work! Yes, all of the light (and shadows) are captured in camera. The light was nicely directional and the cover of trees overhead is pretty thick. Plus with it being a light overcast, the light soft and consistent. And that helped!ReplyCancel

When I first took these images and thought of the blog post that would go with them, I figured I’d share how this was a moment that brought me out of a bit of a photographic funk.

How we all go through them, that it is really just a sign of our minds needing a break and not that we’re loosing our love of this art, and that you never know what will bring you out of it.

That it could be your child doing something new, laughing hysterically with their siblings, visiting a fun new place (or a favorite old place), or the dazzling light that fills the yard.

That no matter how long that rut/creative freeze/funk goes (days, weeks, months) you’ll find your way out of it.

You will, as long as you remember why you committed yourself to this craft in the first place.

I had been in this funk for a few weeks I think, as I prepared for Click Away.  Wondering if I should be trying to grow in my photography more, if I had any right teaching a photography course when I still often tweak my exposure in Lightroom.  I didn’t want to pick up my camera because I knew I’d be adding more images to the list that needed to be printed and organized, when I’m already a few months behind.

But as I cut Cooper’s hair on the front lawn, and Matt stained the front porch, and Charlie hunted in the tall grass, and Gage and Kaden worked on their airplane with the sun setting on the day behind them, my heart swelled with these moments and the need to capture it over-took me.

The reason I take these photos is never far from my mind, but sometimes the pursuit of perfection and ‘more’, and my insecurity about overindulgence, muffles the voice that tells me why.  

Why is because these childhoods fly by.  No matter how slow-paced and uncluttered our schedule is, they just do.

And we just never know what tomorrow will bring.

Coming out of a funk with photography is almost always brought on by loving the life I’m seeing being lived.

Today, was a good, good, uncomplicated day.  We laughed, we discussed, we learned, yes – we had conflict, we ate, we prayed, we cleaned, we exercised, we played, we relaxed.  We just lived.

Tomorrow, next month, years from now … who knows?  We don’t, and that’s okay, because right now, we have today.  This isn’t cause for anxiety, but it is cause for trust and faith.

Yesterday, I was reminded of that very clearly through events going on in both my extended family and in a dear friend’s lives.   We just don’t know.  We know of the promise that rests on the other side of this earth, but while we’re here we can just do the best we can, soaking in the moments for all the joy and wisdom and strength and blessing they can give.

These photos, yes, marked me coming out of a drought with my photography.  But only because I was able to clear out the mental distractions that were gradually crowding out my purpose for being a photographer in the first place.

Always, at the end of the day, it is more about the life being lived on the other side of the lens and  the One who blessed us with it, than the image itself.  But the image lets us hold onto that life … remember it, appreciate it, learn from it… long after the moments, the childhood, the carefree days have passed.

And I do think, that being reminded of our pasts in this way grows our thanks for today, and tomorrow, and every other day that comes.  ♥

Thank you for being here!  xoxo

 

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  • Mom - Lacey, Your words and photos brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. And your precious little boys bring joy and love to my heart.
    XOXOXO to GCK from Grammie
    P.S. Upon a closer look, I see Cooper’s blonde clippings blowing away. LOL :)ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey Pedey - I love this post. It’s such a great reminder why we do what we do. <3 And I love that last shot with the leaf blower & Cooper's hair hahaReplyCancel

  • katie - Such a beautiful post, Lacey.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - Thank you for writing this!!! I’ve been struggling with my photography journey lately too. I went weeks without picking up the camera & then had guilt. I’ve struggled with insecurities- seems the more I learn, the more frustrated I am with my images.

    This quote hit me: “The reason I take these photos is never far from my mind, but sometimes the pursuit of perfection and ‘more’, and my insecurity about overindulgence, muffles the voice that tells me why.” YES!!!

    Like you, I want to capture my life- ESP the lives of our 8 sweet children because these days are going by so fast! They won’t care about perfection- they care about living in the moment & remembering. God is good to give us these precious ones as we journey in this life! :)ReplyCancel

  • Jolene - I love this post! The pictures are just beautiful! You have been blessed with a beautiful family :)ReplyCancel