Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Adventures in self-photography

I learned today that photographing a hip scarf on your own hips is almost as hard as photographing a hat on your own head. I bought a new one at my belly dancing class last night because I’ve shimmied so many coins right off my other ones, and I wanted to post a picture of it for Hayley. Why? Because we do things like that.

The logical thing would have been to get someone else to take the picture, but the people who would be willing to do that live 1200 miles away from me, and if I lived near them, I wouldn’t have to send a picture, would I? I could just show Hayley the scarf in person. And even shimmy in it for her. And then go out for ice cream.

I knew that if I asked my husband to take a picture of my butt so I could post it on the internet, he’d probably give me That Look. You know, the one that says “What harebrained thing are you doing now?” And it didn’t seem right to ask my kids.

“Yes, Child One, I know I warned you about people who post pictures of their bottoms on the internet. This isn’t the same at all. Really. Just take the picture.”

The only other person I’ve seen today is my mother. Besides her inability to take a photo that actually contains the intended subject—I would have ended up with a nice picture of the floor or my feet or maybe even the ceiling—I didn’t think the effort it would have taken to explain why I was doing this was worth it.

Now, I know that I could have just spread it out on the couch and taken a picture, and I did do that, but a flat hip scarf lacks the oomph of one that someone’s wearing. My next idea was to look for a model. My mother, of course, was not a candidate. Neither were the kids nor my husband. That left the cats.

Jamie, while he looks like a studly guy, is scared of hip scarves (and many other things). Besides, at his check-up earlier this week, the vet told him he has a cute bum, and he’s been impossible to live with since. Little Bit is called Little Bit for a reason. Although my new scarf isn’t a big one, I could wrap her in it like a mummy. Dottie is actually almost big enough for the job, but—like in the hat photo shoot—she was unwilling to be a model. And she was very busy doing important cat things.
Being a DIY kind of girl, I decided to give self-photography another try. I recently got a camera with a viewing screen that can flip out and around in all sorts of directions. The first challenge was to figure out just which series of flips would let me look at the picture right side up while pointing the camera at my hips (the manual, surprisingly, doesn’t cover this). While I was working this out, I gave myself a horrible fright when I accidentally aimed the camera at my face.

“What is that thing on the screen? Oh, it’s my face. Upside down. From below. With two chins and undereye bags big enough for the grocery shopping.”

Once I got over that, I realized that there’s only so far away from yourself that you can hold a camera. And when you’re holding it at the end of one outstretched arm, there is no way you can reach the button with the other hand. Not to mention that it’s almost impossible to see the screen you spent so much time flipping this way and that.

Finally I started shooting. First I tried the blind point-the-camera-from-behind-yourself-and-hope-for-the-best approach, but that resulted in pictures worthy of my mom’s photo skills. Next I tried the hip-shot: camera set on close-up, arm stretched as far as it would go, upper body contorted to see the screen, trying to hold the camera steady in one hand while pushing the button. It worked, kind of. Isn’t it pretty?
Given that we’ve had a week and a half of snow, rain, wind, snow, sleet, hail, and more snow (and three minutes of sunshine) and that I’ve spent much of that time risking my life on the slippery Sidewalk of Broken Bones, trudging through ankle-deep slush in my dreaded winter boots, and driving at 10 km/hour down skating-rink roads, buying this hip scarf was worthwhile retail therapy. And the photo shoot was just what I needed to lighten up a stressful week. The cats and I laughed ourselves silly. Well, I did anyway.


Hayley Townley, Breast Cancer Survivor Extraordinaire! said...

You did a fine job with the self-photography stint. Or stunt. Both the cat and the scarf look great.

I had an apple for breakfast.

Mallu said...

The scarf is really beautiful!