Just recently, I met with Renee, and her lovely daughter Payton, and went for a stroll around the Therapeutic Gardens, behind Anderton Nurseries in Comox. It was a grey day, which made for some nice soft lighting. Perfect for little girls. Not really knowing the schedule, Renee and I walked and talked our way to the gardens and found on our arrival, that the gardens were in fact closed. They were getting ready for spring with a massive club clean up. The collective of people that maintain the gardens were all hard at work, and laughed with each other as they made their way through various tasks. With our arrival, odd looks greeted us from within. Not because we did not belong, but more along the lines that we were new, and had a camera. Curiosity. What's going on?What's going on?

Within moments, we were greeted by some very lovely people, and accepted into their work space. Instantly recognizing the camera bag around my shoulder, the baby in the stroller, and Mom looking on with anticipation, it did not take long for the group to realize what we were there for. Pictures. After a brief conversation, and a couple of chuckles, we were on our way. We passed the wheel barrows, rakes, buckets and various implements to the pathway that encircles the gardens. Once on the path, Payton was set free, and it was game on. It has come to my attention that photographing kids, is very much like sports photography. Quick unpredictable movements that keeps a photographer on his/her toes. I was loving the challenge. In this type of situation, my body comes alive. Everything in my body and mind fires at full speed. Lighting, composition, aperture, shutter. Kneeling, tri-pod arms to steady the camera, breathing. I have been training myself to move intuitively with my camera. Anticipating action before it happens, so I will be there to get the shot. I have learned that this is possible with kids, but you must be proactive, and patient. Sure, reading body language will certainly help, watching their eyes to see what they are looking at, these will help you gauge your next move, but it could change in an instant. Be ready. In my opinion, This is the best part of the challenge. Randomness. FreedomFreedom

I must say, even though I did not specifically see this line of photography coming into my future, as I was seriously training for photojournalism. I really enjoy the idea of following a story, shooting with the plot in mind, and creating magic on my CF card. Well, this is pretty much the same. This is a mother and fathers breaking news. Their child, exploring the world they live in. Seeing, touching, eating new things. Learning, and building the all important immune system though the ingestion of dirt. In short, being a kid. It was wonderful to witness. Pure, innocent curiosity that fills me with joy. I have worked very hard in my life to hang on to this wonder, and it comes so naturally to the young. It reminds me of what is truly important in life. Learning, living in the moment, and it never fails, if I hang out with kids, I learn something. So it really was a joy to hang out with Renee and Payton for an hour and just let life happen. FlowersFlowers

With all of this learning, and watching, there is an important piece of my experience that I truly love. The character of young people. Even though they are too young to speak with their voice, kids of all ages have an amazing ability to emote feelings. I love this. Why?Why? I think this is my favourite part when dealing with kids. Aside from the telling screams of discontent, and snot filled crying sessions, kids have ways of communicating that reminds me of old B&W silent movies. For the record, neither of these scenarios happened in my time with Payton, even when she skinned her knee. I was very impressed, and a little relieved to be honest. One never can tell what will happen in such an instant. Payton is a show of strength. Inside and out.

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Bringing the session to an end, Payton worked the show from start to finish. Completely oblivious to the cameras presence, Pay-Pay cruised the walkway and charmed the hard working folks as they made the grounds ready for public display. I had such a good time I look forward to doing more in the future and I feel as though I learned much from the experience. I am always impressed by any photographer that can create amazing images in uncontrollable circumstances, as I find it difficult at times to capture images exactly as I wish. Having said that, I do enjoy the challenge and it brings me a significant amount of gratification when it all comes together. Thank you Renee and Payton, for allowing me into your life with my camera. I has been an honour.