Friday, December 3, 2010

Baumgartner Family

The Baumgartners were keen to never forget all the happiness and joy their three little ones have brought their them, and indeed all the incredible stages of their lives. Last time I shot the family, we went to the beach so this time, Mark and Lisa decided to have their session in Fort Hamilton, even though they had never been before. They wanted to record the excitement of the children as they explored this magical and natural wonderland for the first time. It was the perfect location to capture the essence of childhood and all the special memories created in going to such a place for the first time.

I loved putting the children on these steps so that all their heads were at the same height! Their height differences are in perfect step-sized increments - love that it is their feet instead of their heads that suddenly don't measure up!

Braeden is eight and a half, and as his mum says, going on 14! His so bright and mature, and incredibly responsible for his age. Yet he has a sense of humour that keeps the whole family on their toes. He has always been very curious and a true daydreamer - fun combo. His parents love to watch him go off into the world of his imagination, creating, planning, and dreaming all kinds of happy scenarios. Although he will enjoy riling up his little brother and sister, he always cares for them and makes sure they are save. Lisa and Mark love that they can trust him to always keep a watchful eye over the other two.

Brett is seven and is such an adorable and loving little boy (though if you ask him, the word little does not apply - he is very big!). He is very wise and insightful, and a real sweetheart. I adored photographing for he stared into my lens in an almost arresting way - very unusual for a child - for anyone really - to do that and be so comfortable in front of the camera. His mummy tells me he is always generous with his hugs and cuddles and is the perfect middle child - so kind and patient with the other two with his personality fitting perfectly with those of his siblings. 

Baby Rachel, though she is now four, brings such joy to the whole family. From day one, her parents say she was the easiest baby and happiest little girl. Always full of smiles, laughter and happiness. When she was 2 and 3, Brett absolutely could not go to school without a hug and kiss from his sister, and she always had to say "happy day" to everyone whenever they said goodbye - it was her little thing. She just needed to know that they would all be happy. She of course loves all things girly - princesses, fairies and dolls. But having two big brothers, she equally loves trains, cars and even rugby. She can surprise everyone with her toughness, and the family always laugh when they see it. Braeden will be teasing her  and she sill suddenly tackle him as if she were the same size, and with total confidence. Her parents know that Rachel will definitely be able to hold her own in this world, and her brothers will both be there to make sure she doesn't have to.

I call these dinosaur ferns as they were apparently around way back then. Amazing endurance.

The boys went nuts leaping into all the huge vine covered trees, while the girls explored all there was to offer at ground level.

It really does feel like another world in that moat. These leaves are so oversized - you can almost imagine how the children would feel like little pixies amongst them. Loved this shot so much, though I would include the bw version too.

I read a book to my children the other day called, "I Am Not A Baby". I read it once and expected it would be the first and last time and that it would be going back to the library as fast as it came to us. But for some reason, my kids thought it was hilariously funny. They have made me read it to them too many times to count and I think I am finally getting why they love it so much. It is because parents and adults often keep the youngest child the baby, no matter how old they are. In the book, this poor toddler is stuffed into a bassinet, then he has to wear a bonnet and booties to school, and even when he succeeds in school, theatre, work and even marriage, they all still call him the baby. It isn't until he has a baby of his own that they all look at him in surprise, and then say he is not in face a baby. So I think if you are the last child, it does not matter how old you are, how tall you grow, how successful you are, you will always be the "baby" to your parents, siblings and probably most of those really close. I felt that with how Rachel is still the baby just as I feel it with Indigo. Perhaps because they are the same age, and perhaps because although we can't wait to see what they grow into, we just so desperately want to keep the baby bit too - we know it is our last one, so can't we just have the best of both? So baby Rachel, you are growing up beautifully!

The paths were blocked by a lot of debris left over from Hurricane Igor. Amazing how much damage there was so deep underground - the moat walls must be at least 100 feet.

While I was photographing Braeden, I glanced over to see Brett and Rachel hugging. It was so spontaneous and deliciously loving that my heart nearly popped out of my chest! Apparently, from the day she was brought home from the hospital, Brett would sit with her and just watch her be. She has a thing that she started on that first day too. She was in her pumpkin seat, sucking her thumb on one hand, while holding Brett's eat with the other. That was how she used to fall asleep. And even today, if Brett and Rachel are sitting, cuddling on the sofa or in their car seats, she will reach over and grab that ear, and it is instantly calming for her.

This was fun for each of the kids to do. It is pretty dark in the moat (ok - really very dark!) so I have to shoot on a very high ISO and a very wide open aperture so sorry these are not tack sharp, but with such a shallow depth of field, there is only a tiny window where they would be in focus and I didn't always get it right at the perfect moment. Nonetheless, I love the feel of these images - they capture childhood and the fun of seeing how far you can really go!

Obviously need a cuddle factor one with Mark and Lisa too!

And I chose do share all of these ones in black and white as it is more about the emotion of the moments, and indeed what it feels like to have that parent child relationship, than what everyone actually looks like.

Thank you all for another lovely shoot full of fun and happy memories (and of course gorgeous children!). Enjoy the holidays. xxx

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