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'What I Shot - What I Got': Kid Stuff!

After a holiday haitus, we're back with images and thoughts, tips and mentoring on professional Smartphone and DSLR photography:

Loved getting these candid shots at a recent family event, known as a "halake," or "upshurin," a traditional celebration marking and inculcating a three-year-old Jewish boy's entry into daily mitzvot rituals and deeds. 

Held at the compound of 2nd cent. rabbinic sage, Shimon bar-Yohai, in Meron, Israel, the joyous events include donning a ritual fringed garment, known as a talit katan and reciting the Shma...  

Allowing family members and friends to take turns snipping off small locks of hair off his head (...which is later barbered), symbolically marking a new stage of adherence to traditions in his young life... 

Licking drops of honey off of his finger, daubed one-by-one, upon the letters of the Hebrew alef-bet, allowing him to literally taste the sweetness of study... 

And sharing the first-ever experience of giving tzdeka charity, and joining friends in taking part in the simple, yet profound act. 

While the ancient synagogue and cenotaph compound is usually a hectic site, full of hurrying worshipers and visitors...  

There are moments when the magical serenity and sacred space are palpable...

I shot most of the family's series nearby at a smaller, railed - off covered outdoor area overlooking hills, to limit visual and logistical distractions and to allow family and friends to fully focus on the ceremony.

Like any shoot featuring small kids, preparation - including a nap, changes of clothes and snacks and drinks on hand, and a pre-discussed rough shot plan - all make for a much smoother and effective use of time, and allows the photographer and parents to focus on the magic moments, and less on stressful "kid-wrangling."

Shooting with a Nikon D750, and alternating between a Sigma 70-200 and Nikkor 18-70 len, I tried for a tight depth-of-field to avoid the cluttered background, and composed on-the-fly, with an eye towards printable mementos of the occasion that the family would treasure. Later, editing in Lightroom, I could drill down to the "keepers," and spend quality time tweaking the best to bring out the joy, meaning, and fun of the occasion. 

Thanks for allowing me to share some of my photographic thoughts and experiences with you, and looking forward to helping you create treasured memories at your next event in the Galilee, throughout Israel, and abroad! 

©2021 by Dave Bender: Compelling Photography