Mud: Theme Thursday

One of the most difficult things about where we live is the lack of accessible nature.  Every square foot of real estate is appropriated here in the big bad city of Daegu, and while there are places to hike outside town, or walk along the river, Koreans have strong opinions about actually playing in the mud and running amok.  Sadly, my kids don’t get dirty nearly as often as I’d like them to.

Gabriel, ever the opportunist, found a pile of pseudo-mud next to the playground the other day.  Being the good mama I am, I was all: snap snap, clickety click.    
You’ll notice he’s between a rock wall and a bench which made for awkward composition.  I didn’t want to ask him to pose though, so I just let it go.  (Edit: Turns out I’m an A student and was just anticipating Car’s post on perspective.)  The lighting was odd, but pretty and almost golden.  Glory be!  The terrible white light of winter has given way to the teeniest bit of glittery gold spring light!
F/3.5, 1/500, ISO 1600

F/3.5, 1/2000, ISO 1600

F/3.5, 1/1000, ISO 1600

F/3.5, 1/4000, ISO 1600

F/3.5, 1/2000, ISO 1600 (I always forget to mess with ISO!)
Which brings me to one of my greatest excitements about coming home to Cali this summer: mud play!  outdoor fun!  camping!  YAY!!!!
One last thought: you may have noticed that the camera focused on odd places in the shots above, especially the third shot.  This is why I need to learn how to use manual focus.  I tried once and it was an unmitigated disaster.  Just blur blur bluuurrrr all over the place.  Do you use manual focus?  If so, do you have any tips?
Clickety click on over to Cari’s place for more Theme Thursday muddiness.  And have a happy Thursday, too!


  1. I feel like one of those caption should be “Just add water”. So cute!

  2. That dirt looks like such a lovely texture!

    My only manual focus tip is to take a million pictures adjusting slightly every time (unless you hit your “sweet spot” and know it) – sometimes I think I’ve got it right and I look back and all the pictures are *slightly* blurry, so adjust a tiny bit and you’ll at least end up with a few that work. It’s annoying because you’ll get that PERFECT shot and it won’t be in focus 🙁 But it makes me understand why you can have professional photos taken and only end up with a few usable ones – even the pros aren’t perfect!

  3. Boys need dirt! That looks like a good fluffy bit to play in.

    I have a tough time with manual focus on fast moving objects. When my subjects settle down, I have better luck.

  4. I love that first one so, so much. I want to put my hands in that dirt so badly I can feel them tingling.
    And I noticed the change in light, too! Good to know that spring is coming to Korea. Maybe it’ll get here before next year.

  5. That is great that you found a wee bit of mud to play in. Kids need mud. The belief here where I live is that kids don’t get sick as often when they get to play in dirt frequently! Hooray! 🙂

    I use manual focus…just rarely when I’m trying to capture the kids. They move faster than I respond nowadays.

  6. These are fantastic, and I agree on the A studenthood of your achievement. The first pic with the little bit of sunlight that is daring to peep through in the corner, the second with the strips of light and your son’s awesome claw-happiness. Good for him for seizing the day.

    We have also lived in places where we had no access to real nature play. Hikes are not the same as let loose and let your imagination lead you. So much is learned in the dirt of childhood happiness.

    Tried manual focus for one afternoon, quit. Sorry, good luck!

  7. LOVE your last photo!

  8. Do you use an automatic focus point or do you manual set your focus point on your camera? I am just learning about this in my online photo class this week. I haven’t had a chance to spend much time with it though. I’ll e-mail you the worksheet so you can take a look at it. Maybe that will help!

  9. Saw this on facebook….the definition of boy. Noise with dirt on it. lol love your pics!

  10. Nice photos! I only use manual focus if the camera refuses to focus on what I am trying to get. And never on something that is moving!

  11. Okay, what I do is to push the button halfway down to focus on the object or part of object that I want to focus on, then adjust the camera and perspective, etc., then push the button all the way down to take the photo, without lifting up my finger. If I lift up my finger and press down again, the camera will auto-focus again after my adjustment.

    You can also change the lighting around by playing with white balance. What kind of camera do you have?

    I’ve read that the lower the ISO, the better quality of the picture, so maybe that will help you remember to play with ISO!

    Hope that helps! <3

  12. That is a good mud to play with!