Wednesdays we’ve been studying photography. Since it was going to cost me about $700 to enroll Gabe in an elective photography course, I decided to step in as his teacher and keep the costs down. Too bad for him, because I’m a student of photography myself. Now, there are two of us studying photography. Hopefully, we’ll improve twice as fast. On a whim, this past Wednesday’s assignment took us to the chicken coop.
“Let’s work on getting comfortable with the Manual setting,” I told Gabe as we strode out into the back yard.
The heat had broken so the bugs were down and the coop stink was at bay. I figured the hens would provide a little bit of gorgeous and a lot of goofy for our practice session. On our approach, the chicks all gathered to greet us, apparently waiting for a tasty handout. We took in the situation, plopped down right outside the coop gate and started shooting. This was a brave move, considering the large globs of manure within a foot of our station, but proved to be a great location for some close ups.
“It’s cloudy, so you’re gonna have to open the aperture some,” I said showing him the small black dial on the top of his camera.
The hens, sensing some new freedom, poured out and around us. Red came in for a peck at my wedding ring (as long as we have Rhode Island Reds, we are going to have a chicken named Red!). The lovely, and newly laying Barred Rock sauntered over to surmise the commotion. It was the perfect set up.
“Mom! All the photos are looking blurry,” my boy complained.
I was struggling to get my own photos in focus when I saw that Gabe had grabbed the Rock and placed her into a patch of tall grasses nearby.
“You’ll need to raise your shutter speed and increase your ISO,” I instructed. Gabe was now laying on his side, going for the ground-up view.
“What is the ISO?” he asked, eyes squinting into the view finder.
“I’m not sure, but it’s a setting that allows the camera to take in more light,” I said.
Next, we moved back over to see if anybody had dropped an egg-sized load in the nest boxes. We were in luck. There was a mamma chicken just outside the box. Like a human parent gazing adoringly into the crib of her sleeping newborn, we captured this broody hen admiring a small batch of recently delivered eggs.
At that point the door to the boxes flung open and a camera was shoved into a nest box wit a hen assuming the position of egg-birth. There’s only so much restraint to be offered by a 12 year old!
“Oh boy!” I said, as I snapped a quick photo of this weird scene. “We better give her a little privacy.”
At that, we packed up our equipment and got out of there. Time to get back to the books.
Time for Latin and science; although, I suspect the real learning this Wednesday took place right out in the back yard.