A Boy and a Camera

One thing my family can agree on is animals. Watching them, learning about them, it’s something we all get in on. But my son can read a book about animals, absorb it, and relay the facts to you repeatedly. Often more times than you want to hear them. He constantly begs us for sometimes bizarre pets: a huge saltwater aquarium for his room, lizards of all sorts, alpacas, sheep, horses.

When he learns about an animal, his first question is always, “Can you have it as a pet?” My frequent response is, “If you live on a farm.” When he grows up, he plans to live on a farm and have all of these animals, but he’ll need my help of course. Well, he is welcome to do that but I’m no farmhand.

In your face. Taken by my son, 8.

This weekend we went to a nearby science center. My kids love to visit the animals and have been bringing the camera on recent visits. Soon I fear we will have more pictures of these animals than we do of the kids.

The kids fought over the camera, each having to get a shot of each animal. I’ve been through this more than once now. But I see something there, a talent that my son doesn’t yet feel. He is actually pretty good at this photography thing. I try to give him a few pointers without interfering too much, you know, that nagging thing moms do. Animals are like kids and you have to be patient, I told him several months ago. Wait for the shot. Zoom in. Hold still.

And this weekend he did. I think he’s a natural.

So many times, for other things, I have to constantly remind him. But not about this. He takes the camera, seeks out a subject, frames it, shoots. Unfortunately, past subjects have included my rear end in a pool with plans of making a poster-size print for his wall. And other than that one, some of his pictures are pretty darn good.

My daughter’s unsteady hand captures shaky, fuzzy images. She’s only six. It’s hard to push the button, hold the camera, and get the shot before the animal darts away in a playful frenzy. Maybe she’ll get there too.

These guys are huge and my son loves them. We say hello to them at every visit.

Even sometimes now I don’t get close enough to my subject. My images sit too far off and framed by too much space.

But my son seems to know how to do it with not a lot of guidance. It’s neat to see something develop in your kids right before your eyes. To me, his pictures are worth more than words.


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