If You Give a Kid a Camera


At first I was super excited when my 8 year old daughter asked if she could take the camera outside “because there is so much pretty nature stuff out there today.” I thought, “Oh good! She sees it! She sees the colors, the filtering of the midday sun through trees…she is inspired!” So I handed over the camera. (Okay, actually I tried handing over the camera but my hand wouldn’t unclench and release it. The logical side of me kept reminding me that as cute as she is, she has very little in the way of collateral and the camera is probably my most expensive earthly possession. My silent compromise was to use lots of eye contact, do an impression of my mom’s serious voice, and remind her to be extra, extra careful.)

When she came back inside five minutes later and said she found a dead frog with “his guts kind of sticking out”, and needed me to take a few pictures of him since she didn’t want to get too close, I decided some people have different definitions of “pretty nature stuff”. I obliged, but before I actually took any pictures she saw something else she thought was even more beautiful, grabbed the camera from me and was gone.

The frog gut project was over before it started, and I was glad. By the way, somehow those are always the pictures that wind up in our screensaver slideshows. Does that happen to other people? You have a friend over for coffee, your kids are playing knights together peacefully, the laptop purrs in the background, flashing 3 second slides of the boys playing in the river, Adeline with a bubble beard, then a graphic close-up of ants feasting on a cricket carcass. The real friends will say, “Gross, what was that?!” But then there are those who act like they didn’t see it, make small talk for a few minutes,  then quietly gather their kids and leave. Probably a good thing. If they had waited two minutes they would have seen the full-screen shot that Joey, amazed by the abilities of our new micro lens, took of Eli’s horrible knee scab.

Anyway, Adeline ended up spending about 30 minutes, in the front yard, in the back, and finally inside. I loved how she experimented with different perspectives and used some natural framing, but the coolest part was seeing the world through her eyes. Here are some of my favorites. (I resisted the urge to throw in a scab picture. You’re welcome.)

lipstick plant

Lipstick plant (I think) by Adeline

Our "Dr. Seuss palms", her favorite

Our “Dr. Seuss palms”, her favorite


The mango tree

The mango tree

I didn't know we had a Wonka bush...

I didn’t know we had a Wonka bush…

Papaya flowers

Papaya blossoms



Fireplace and spider web. Ghosty huh?

Paparazzi pic

Paparazzi pic





Obligatory brother shot.




Filed under Kids

2 responses to “If You Give a Kid a Camera

  1. Looks like she has a really good eye. When I give my kids the camera, I get nothing but blurry shots. Those are great!

    • islechild

      Yeah, I think she likes it! Bear in mind I posted 15 or so out of around 250 pictures. So these are the creme de la creme. 🙂 But I think she has an eye for it, too.

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