Thinking Childhood

Sometimes in life, you forget things ever existed. I can name a few examples… wait, no I can’t, because I have forgotten them. A hula hoop was one of those things for me, until the night of these photos.


I had a hula hoop when I was a kid. It was something I used to throw at large round objects to try to “ring” them. Sometimes we even tried to ring each other. Never, or at least I think never, did I use one for the intended purpose. Of course, now that I have made that declaration, I expect photos of me with one around my waist to appear online shortly.

On a balmy September night, my friend’s daughter, Delaney, was trying as hard as she could to be a part of one of those adult “driveway” conversations being had by three grown men with three grown beers.

When she walked out of the garage with a couple of hula hoops, I suddenly remembered one of those things you forget existed. The hoop. That crazy thing that adults bought us that we never really knew how to get the most of, since we grew up in the 80s and the dastardly hoop retired about the time disco came on the scene. You can’t John Travolta with a 27-inch plastic tube around your hips.

Hoops had changed in 30 years though, and this one had lights. I was timid and half expecting her to ask me to try it out, and was pleasantly surprised when she offered to show us how good she was at it. And was she ever! I think should could have kept it up for hours, which is a good thing because taking a good photo with experimental methods can sometimes take me all night.


It was just turning dark and my Navy pal Mike James and I set up the shoot. Nikon D-800 with 24-70 2.8  with an SB-910 Speedflash on rear-curtain sync and a shutter speed of about 2 or 3 seconds. Neither of us was really sure what we were doing, and the beer was driving the show, but we got something more than a picture in these three photographs.

We captured something timeless. We captured a child feeling the exhilaration of getting the chance to hang out with the adults and be a contributor. We captured the determination of someone who had mastered a skill. We saw a young lady, full of innocence about the ways of the world who knew instinctively that she will need to stand out to survive. We saw fearlessness, skill, grace and sheer joy of accomplishment.

The photos are not great. I am not a great photographer, although I sometimes get lucky. The images do, however, deliver my required million thoughts, a different set on every viewing.

How do you get good shots with slow shutter and rear curtain sync? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Shooting – Ringo



One thought on “Thinking Childhood”

  1. Hooping is a big thing now in certain circles 🙂 Supposedly it’s good exercise. My husband made a few for me and the kids, and it took me a while but finally I got the hang of it. Once I got it, it was easy. I still can’t do any tricks with it, and my boys quickly lost interest, but I was happy just to know that I could do it.
    I like your words and pictures- you captured the evening perfectly 🙂

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