Admittedly a very dramatic headline but my only other chance to take photos on our family holiday to Taipei was cut short by a mosquito attack on my family, well most of them. For some reason, perhaps hairy limbs or an acrid bouquet of blood, they never bite me and go straight for my wife and two daughters. I’m usually made aware of it with a ‘Oh my god the mosquitos are eating us alive!’ To which I casually respond “What mosquitos?” much to their annoyance.
But for about an hour we had a great time in one of the most luscious botanic gardens I’ve ever visited. It’s a large park with a river, foot bridges and exotic plant enclosures peppered throughout. It’s also home to the most relaxed and friendly squirrels.
We chose to arrive late which would allow me nice late afternoon sunlight which is excellent for portraits, and it wouldn’t be too hot to be outdoors either. A sweaty family is not a happy family and doesn’t make for great portraits either.
The last photo of our brief visit to the Taipei Botanical Gardens was a shot of Lola in front of large magenta foliage. The first frame I took was not great for two reasons, the light on her face was at the wrong angle and the leaves were a bit dark. Both of these problems were solved by moving to the other side of the bush. It’s good to recognise when something is not working rather than press on.
But there was mud and even more mosquitos on the far side. My brave wife and daughter were willing to give it a try and held their ground for a minute or two each for me to get the best photo possible. I had already worked out the settings and how I wanted them to pose so when they stood there I just had to frame them and press the shutter - no fiddling with buttons and dials or a saying ‘just a second’ to increasingly angry looking models. Over the years I’ve built up a sense of trust with them and by not wasting their time with too many experiments they’re willing to go the extra mile as they know the results will be worth it. And with this cooperation we all get what we want from holiday photos and indeed holidays themselves.