Heather’s Gymnastics Recital

“Recital” is probably not the best word, perhaps “exhibition.”  Either way, Heather’s gymnastics class showed off their skills this weekend.  The pictures aren’t great.  It’s tough sitting outside trying to take pictures of things happening inside where there is considerably less light and often times significant backlighting.  But, I did what I could.  Enjoy.

She was a little nervous to start.  She just moved up to this level about a month ago.  She went to 2 classes, then was out for the 2 weeks before the performance.  So she didn’t know the little opening dance very well and is clearly behind most of the other girls in the level, but once things got going she had a good time.

Somersaults
Handstands
Trampoline moves
Horizontal Bar
Balance Beam

Heather’s 6th Birthday

Heather had a birthday party this weekend, so now we can comprehensively capture the entirety of her 6th birthday.

Her birthday was on a Saturday this year so we had the whole day to celebrate.  Heather wanted something special for birthday breakfast, like muffins, so we started the morning with muffins (and donuts).

After lunch Heather engaged in the requisite treasure hunt.  When all the clues were found, she had to assemble a map found on their backs.

Which led her to a trove of presents.

Back inside to open presents:

And after dinner at Heather’s pick of the 1st Street Ale House, it was back home for cake.

This weekend she had a party with painting, a pinata, donuts-on-a-string, cupcake decorating, and general lunacy.

This is Corinne’s “camera face.”  If she sees you trying to take a picture, this is the face you’re going to get.

Heather’s First Day of Kindergarten

Heather was very excited for school to start again.  She has some friends in her Kindergarten class from TK last year.  Stress levels have been high all weekend due to a malfunctioning smoke alarm on Saturday morning (Heather has been freaking out about the idea of the house burning down).  But despite her amped up anxiety levels we made it to school on time and she had a good first day.

She got to watch the eclipse at school.  They had the kids watch pinhole cameras and then took them one-at-a-time to use eclipse glasses.  I’m glad the Livermore schools actually made an event out of it and found something that would work for young kids.  The Lab donated enough eclipse glasses to the school system for every student and faculty member.

She finished the day with a smile (and Oreo crumbs all over her mouth).

Another Round of Summer Soccer

Heather is doing soccer again this year on Saturday mornings.  This week was her first week and it was hot.  Soccer starts at 10:50am and it was already over 90 degrees and climbing.  But she stayed hydrated and I used the time to work on my action photography skills.

It’s interesting how a small change in camera settings can result in a dramatic change in image presentation.

I started with the shutter set to 1/100th of a second, which captured images like this:

The scene is representative, and fairly sharp.  You can see some motion in her hands and feet, but overall it is a static image.

Stretching the shutter to 1/25th of a second gives you a totally different result:

She’s clearly moving, the background distractions are reduced via the motion blur and she becomes the uncontested focus of attention.  It’s a much more interesting, dynamic image.

You can try using a wider aperture to reduce your depth of field to achieve similar separation between subject and background (which I’ve tried in the past), but that’s tough in full sunlight.  You’ll need filters to stop down the light and then capturing the subject in focus becomes difficult as your depth of field shrinks.

The trick here is to pan the camera with the subject throughout the shutter release.  It takes practice, but the results are worth it–which is why I’ve been practicing it.

Here’s a couple more shots that came out decently.  In the first one, Heather is jumping over the pile of balls.  And in the second she is dribbling across the field.