Family photos, in my opinion, should fall into the category of “nice photos.” They are simply lit with one light or a reflector. They don’t look lit. They don’t look edgy. They have a very simple elegance about them. That’s been my aim, at least, for the majority of family shoots I do. I have experimented with ring flash but I find that it must be relegated into the realm of fill flash only in this context. As a main light, it’s just too much for this look. The look and feel of lighting is definitely worth paying heed too – especially for “nice photos.” Of the photos in this post, can you guess how they are lit? It’s tough to tell which was flash, reflector or just ambient? Watch the catchlights of course… 😎
Also, when shooting siblings, I almost always try to shoot sets of images – similar photos for each member of the family so they look like a cohesive whole on a photo wall. It’s a nice technique for nice photos. 😀
Well another Christmas Concert has come and gone. It was TREMENDOUS again this year! Such talent in Oxbow! Mrs. Jeannot did a fantastic job putting it all together and the kids stole the show with their acting and singing. I took the group shots again this year which worked very well. I was glad I could attend the production and nab a few photos from the performance.
For the group shots, I setup a triflash into my Photek Softlighter. It made for a good big group light!
But anyways, here’s the group shots and the candids from tonights performance. Bravo kids! You rocked the set! 😎
Here’s the thing with the FujiFilm X100s camera. Color. It does colour, really, really well. 😎 I’m not kidding. It nails colour in a gorgeous richness. My daughter had this amazing little dress on and I knew I had to capture that colour. So I grabbed yonder X100s, a flash on a stand and away we went. The above image was 1/500 f/2.8 ISO 100 via pocket wizard plus x. Every time I pick up that camera, I get stoked about the images that I peel off the card. JPG for crying 😯 out loud! I’m thoroughly in love with my beautiful daughter and the camera that forever has frozen these images for me!
Back in April we had the big Dance Recital. It was great because my daughter was in it. 🙂 And by that, I mean, I loved it even more because my daughter was in it. Miss Halynne did a totally rock star job with the kids, especially the littlest ones. It was neat to see all the different levels of experience. I know my daughter benefitted from seeing the older girls doing their hip hop moves as an encouragement to see what happens later in life with practice. 😀 I did the group photos the day before at the dress rehearsal and also did a quick session setup for anyone who wanted formals done. It was fast paced maniacal gong show! But it was loads o’ fun and everybody looked super cute. 😎
So grandma & grandpa bought the coolest birthday present ever. It wasn’t the new socks or garden tools, it was the “LED, light up, noise making, bubble-blowing gun of amazing times!” 😀 We killed off our ambient light via switching and this was the product! It was super cool to see the bubbles go lit up by the sparkling LED madness. I thought, “hey, this is a fine time to test how the FujiFilm X100s focuses in no light.” And, I tell you it was a challenge! A challenge for any camera, especially when your auto focus assist beam is off. But just the same, the fuji focused and nailed the shots – not every time mind you, I was focusing in AF-S (not continuous) and the kids weren’t sitting still. I was blown away that the X100s even could capture focus at all let alone produce some keepers. It’s just another testament to the absolute gem that Fuji has made in this camera. 😎
Another new first for me today! Our pals Dane & Lexi turned 1 not too long ago and, what better way to celebrate one year or life on earth than to smash a big ol’ chocolate cake into oblivion in a high key lighting setup?! I can’t think of any better way. 😎 It turns out that both kids were somewhat terrified of cold chocolate cake. Reactions didn’t go as expected. I think we parents, knowing our kids, think that when encountered by a ginormous cake will dive right in with both hands and eat like its going out of style! We tried this with Ethan and he barely mashed into his cake too. Oh well! It was still loads of fun and contributed wonderfully to the laundry situation. 😀
I also borrowed Regan’s Nikon V1 (again) and did a time-lapse of the whole event! Well, technically, not the whole event. Math never was a strong point of mine and I screwed up the first part of it while we were setting up the lights. hehehehe… 😳 I got it figured out though and put this vid together from still images taken every 10 seconds for the duration of the event. In one of the frames the flashes synced with the V1! Pretty awesome coincidence. It was a bona fide metric tonne of fun!
Every little girl wants to be a Disney Princess! At least on our crescent they do. Phoebe wanted to dress up like Merida from the movie Brave. The only hurdle was all of Merida’s lovely frizzy hair. Leaving her buckwheat braids in overnight created Merida – Lite. Couldn’t do much about the blonde at this young age. 😎 Don’t know if I would change it anyways. 🙂
I was blessed to take some pictures of a very special little girl the other day. Cozi has a bittersweet baby story. There were two but her twin had severe health complications and didn’t survive. The emotions that accompany both having and losing a baby at the same time are nearly impossible to put into words. We look for answers to the big question “why?” – but there aren’t any. We know that our world is a place marred by death and iniquity, of which none of us is immune. At times of tragedy, the Christian Faith encourages us that our loving and gracious God sees things we don’t, works in ways we don’t understand, and by the gift of His cross and resurrection, has conquered death by death. We trust that the anger and sadness we now feel at the loss of a child will be turned into rejoicing and reunion in eternity.
When I was asked to take photos, instantly a photo came to mind. We wanted to be real to the situation to rejoice and celebrate but also mourn and be sad at the same time. This mirror image photo of Cozi wraps it all up as she and ‘Bella Vita’ are forever together in the photo.
+ Soli Deo Gloria! +
Regan’s birthday present finally arrived! She wanted some new bling and bling she got. To go along with it, I decided I’d take snapshots of everyone listed on the necklace . . . in black and white. 😎 It’s timeless and awesome.
Jenni B had this pea pod costume and we simply couldn’t resist. First the “kunk” and now this, right?! I know, I know… 😀 We’re suckers for kids in kostumes! Beautiful day, great light and this amazing little costume that is ridiculously cute. What else can a proud papa do but nab a few photos? Here they are of our little Pria the Pea Pod! 🙂
The girls had their splurge party on Moir Dr. Monday night. BBQ & Movie in the backyard was the name of the game. But after the sun went down the real fun started. Jimmy brought the kids over some glow sticks and soon enough I setup a flash on a stick! 🙂 This is why point and shoots just don’t cut it and DSLR cameras rock the set. The fancy term for this is “dragging the shutter” – meaning you use really slow shutter speeds to capture motion in the photo, but then use flash to keep some of it sharp. It makes for a really cool photo that I never ever grow tired of. The kids too find it awesome to see the colors from the glow sticks caught on camera. Super fun! 😎
For the record, children should be dressed up as fuzzy animals always, all the time! 😎 We were camping at Adam Lake, Manitoba last week and we decided to do a little photo shoot of Ethan dressed up as a Kunk. He’s a kunk because he can’t say “sk”unk yet. Well, that’s not true. He can make the compound sounds, he still just doesn’t do it on principle. hehheehhe… So anyways, he’s our little fuzzy Kunk.
I wanted to get these photos in a forest setting and it was loads of fun. Normally he can be a bit of a punk for taking photos but he was super into it with the costume on. +1 for photo madness. 🙂
A little BTS of the shoot, I brought a light stand and a shoot thru umbrella, but I left half the cover on, essentially making a quick strip box. It was cool because it let the light fall off quick.
We also had the rest of the non-kunk based family there too and I was able to nab a few more shots of the kids.
Hehehehhhehe……… It’s funny now. In hindsight. Like most things. But it was a gongshow whilst it was happening. 😉 I was getting some harassment from the relatives about needing updated photos of the kids. It’s been busy lately and Pria is nearly 5 months old. I haven’t take nearly enough photos of her. So we set out yesterday to nab some shots. We tried the bail setup and finally got a decent one. My children purposely don’t cooperate with me when trying to take pics of them. Next time, I’m going to Sears Portrait Studio. hehehehehe…….. 😉 Then I wanted to get some candids of the kids in the Alfalfa. But then, Ethan peed his pants. Potty training is going pretty good, but it’s not 100%. With no spare change of clothes, we’re carrying his bare butt across this field back to the truck, all the while Phoebe screaming in the background about not being left behind. After walking back and getting my photo gear we got re-loaded and Ethan got a pull-up installed. We still needed some shots of Pria. So we went back to town and went down into the campground – which has become a cesspool of weed-based iniquity (… but not that kind) since the floods last year. Back home we went and by this time, Pria is screaming at the top of her lungs because she’s sick of her car seat. And, to top it all off, all the kids are sick with running noses and weepy eyes. Here’s the salvaged images from the shoot that nearly wasn’t. hehhehhhehe…….. all in the life of a
photog stressed dad. 😎
After having my own kids, I know how fast a year can come and go. We did Leighton’s 1 year photos this past weekend and it was a riot! When you are 1, the whole world is an adventure. And if Grandpa keeps you awake before your photo shoot, so what?! It’s still cute no matter what! 😉 Leighton did fantastic and she was sporting all the late summer fashions, especially the Rider Pride! 😎
My two favourite nieces came by for a visit and we did a quick little photo shoot. Ruby is just about the same age as Pria is and both are just starting to be propped up. We grabbed the Bumbo chair, or the “wimbo” as Phoebe called it, and propped her up and had Piper sneak in beside. This photo was my fav from the set because Ruby has that “you lookin’ at me kid?” expression! 😉 heheheeh….. “I’m gonna buss a cap you keep lookin’ at me!” 😎
From there we went to just Ruby and locked this one in. I threw it into Black and White which always looks timeless and cool. Her eyes were very sparkly in this and her expression is, though less Goodfellas than above, super adorable.
A quick note about the lighting setup for these photos. Kids rarely if ever sit still and cooperate so I wanted to try a different lighting technique that would accommodate their squirmy nature but still give a nice result. I setup a reflector camera right on a stand and a flash camera left and bounced the light over the kids and off the flash on very low power, like 1/128 or 1/64. It has the awesome effect of feathering past the kids and also lighting up the reflector for a sweet little catch light in the eyes. I really like the technique and I will certainly try it again. The ambient light cooperated too with an overcast sky which helped for even fill light. I came across this setup in Kevin Kubota’s Lighting Notebook, which is a resource I recommend you check out if you’re interested in learning more about light. He has some great setups to share in there. You can checkout a preview vid for it here:
I finally got a minute to run out to the dam and try my new variable ND filter in a landscape scenario. But of course, the water at the Dam was nearly glass anyways. Just my luck… But I took the kids and did a few long exposure setups in an effort to really blur the water and make it look dreamy. Many of the photos were shot at f/22 and upwards of 6 seconds! Not too shabby. We’ll have to try it again on a day where there is mucho waves. Thinking ahead though, I threw a little flash setup into the truck last minute. Actually it was my beastly new C-Stand and Photoflex NXT Octodome – I love this new stand! I was able to put the light right over head of the kids and blast ’em without worry of the thing tipping over. It’s so sweet! Even though it was a bicep buster hauling it up and down the bank at the dam. My favourite image of the night is the one I put at the top of this blog post. Ethan was facing opposite to the light, but it captured the fun of the evening!
Auntie Heather found a friendly turtle at her place and she brought it over for the kids to check out. What a riot! It brought back fond childhood memories of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Except we were surrounded by toddlers and babies. hehhehe… 😉 Auntie Heather is a hero in a half shell in our books! 😎
Prepare to get your photo-geek on and see if you can keep up to this post. 😎 I just got some new toys that I’m stoked about. For the longest time I’ve wanted a variable ND filter. Neutral Density is pretty much sunglasses for your lenses and especially useful for landscape photography, especially water shots where you want a long/slow shutter speed to get those cool blurred water effects. But additionally, you can use them for flash photography and strobist work. ND filters help you kill ambient light, like in the full bright sunshine (it can bring a shutter speed down from 1/8000s to 1/250 to get full power flash sync speeds!) Or, you can use it in available light too. Here’s the scenario. The kids are ripping around the back yard being cute as usual. It’s super bright out – the old “Sunny 16” rule. With loads of sunlight everywhere, your camera lens has to stop-down to f/8, 11 or 16 to control how much light is getting into the camera as to no blow out an exposure. However, taking portraits/candids at such a small f/stop sucks. Everything is in focus and it’s not bokelicious or appealing. Say I want to get crazy and shoot at f/1.4 in full sunlight. How can I do it? It’s impossible without an ND filter. So I slapped on the Genus 2-8 Stop Variable ND and away we go! Check it out – these next 4 shots are all shot with my 50mm f/1.4 lens at 1.4 1/250 in full sun!!! 😎 It’s pure awesome and totally impossible without an ND filter.
As if that wasn’t enough, I also finally broke down and bought a C-Stand. I wish I would have bought it when I first started getting interested in flash photography. It’s basically a big-bad-heavy light stand with an extendable arm which allows you to hang a light up over someone. It’s the bomb! Plus, I got some sand bags for it and filled them with pea gravel and now, it’s super strong enough to stand up in the fiercest of Saskatchewan wind. I used it the other day to nab one of the shots of FlowerPot. It’s super secure and with all that weight in the bags, it ain’t goin’ nowheres.
Just as one last aside, take a look at the difference flash makes, especially off-camera flash. Here’s two shots of Phoebe taken right after each other. The first is natural open shade light, the second is with flash from the C-Stand setup above. It’s such a better result to me. There’s pop and contrast and great light! This is why I keep sinking money into lighting gear. If your light is right, your photos will be awesome 9 times out of 10. 🙂
Well it is certainly hard to believe that 2 whole months have gone by since FP was air lifted into the world. Where hath the time gone?! Unbelievable. The kids were playing outside yesterday in the beautiful weather and I took some quick candids. I’m still in disbelief of how fast time is flying by. I remember being a kid in school and hours dragged by like an eternity. Now, 2 months goes by like a blip on the radar! Crazy stuff. Anyways, here’s some more photos of FP (and the other kids too for good measure) 😎
Today’s the big day! Our little girl graduates from Pre-School! Boo ya! 4.0 grade point average too… hehheheeh.. 😉 I snapped the standard photo and then we proceeded with our couch jumping routine. Having the kids jump into the light is fun and makes for cool action photos – plus they hate being in front of the camera less when they jump!
I still love Macro Photography. Always will. There is no bigger bang for your buck than a macro lens. EVER! It’s so fun and enjoyable getting up close and personal to the tiny world. But it also takes some rockin’ portraits too. I love the extra bokehlicious num-nums I get when I use this lens. As the sun was sneaking away again for another night, I ran out to get some blossom photos. The kids were playing, it was loads of fun. The light was soft and directional. It was indeed a beautiful evening. Then, my dog rolled in cow crap in the back pasture and ruined the whole night. Sigh. 😉
Ok! At long last, here is flowerpot’s baby story. I put some video clips together and incorporated some still images too. 😎 I LOVE the thumbnail that YouTube chose for the video. Bwawhahhahaa… Regan’s face = “Whatchoo talkin’ bout Willis?!” 😀
Also, here are some of her baby photos I’ve been working on but I still have some more that I want to take but haven’t had the chance just yet.
Keep reading for my rant on newborn photography or just stop here and enjoy the media! 😉 (more…)
When I was a kid, I loved Pre-Kindergarten!! It was the best 4 years of my life! 😉 Actually, I was too much of a wimp to go to pre-school. I was afraid of all the kids and the brightly coloured crayons. But I was certainly happy to stop by and check out the new Pre-K class in Oxbow. What a fun class! All the good times of Kindergarten without all the Algebra homework. 😎 I was asked to stop by and do some class photos for Tony as he unfortunately has to return to Germany. All of his classmates are going to miss him for sure! We hope he will be back in school in no time. As always, it’s tons of fun helping out the school making images for them. We broke the mould of the traditional “line em up move em out, rawhide!” photos and got them jumping and spread out. Little kids are designed for moving around, might as well take advantage of it!
My ridiculously good looking children on Valentine’s Day. bwahahahahhhaha………. 😀