Light is Everything!

Posts tagged “Family Photos

The RedBarn & Family

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We went up to the Red Barn north of Kenosee Lake a couple of Sundays ago. It’s quite the place. They have live entertainment, a market with all kinds of sellers and crafts and all around fun atmosphere. We checked it out for a while and used the opportunity to test out my 23mm f2 WR lens from Fuji. Β As I mentioned in my last blog post, it’s a stellar lens. Not too wide and not too close, that 35mm on full frame is nearly a perfect lens for human group life.

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It allows you get a cool perspective on life. If you back up, you get more. If you get closer, you get more.

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From the Barn we went into Kenosee lake park. I wanted to take some maternity pics of my wife before she had the baby. (This is the ideal way to do maternity photos. lol). For the maternity shoot I relied upon my 50mm Fuji lens. Β It’s a really sweet stunner at an oddish 76mm full frame equivalent. Not many lenses were made at that focal length which adds to the unique feel of the images it produces.

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We went to the beach and let the kids splash and play a bit and I captured a few more candids using all the “FujiCrons”.

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We finished out our time at Kenosee by capturing a few more family pictures by the chalet. It’s such an incredible building and asset to the park! I shot a lot in ACROS film simulation which I LOVE. I have no problem ditching Fuji’s amazing colour for Black and White when using ACROS. I know I could shoot RAW and have it all but I love the Fuji JPEGs so much that I don’t even bother. There is something magical about ACROS!

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Merry Christmas!

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We took our 2015 Christmas Card photo at Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan at a really cool destination called Conglomerate Cliffs. You can’t tell from the photo but there was a 500 billion mph wind the day we took this. The way the cliffs are we were able to get some wind protection. I had along with me my Alien Bee 1600, Vagabond Mini pack and a medium Photoflex litedome for the modifier. We lucked out and still caught some of the glorious fall colour that was still around in October. So from my family to you & yours, have aΒ Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

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Wringing out the last bit o’ fall colour…

Family Sessions are pretty much finished off now, especially since winter has set in with a mighty wallop of cold temperatures & wind! It’s already been quite nasty other than not having a metric pile of snow which is great! And also, on the positive note, there has been none of that freezing rain malarky either. Two whoop whoops and a boo ya for -20ΒΊC right off the hop of winter! LOL 😎

Fall on the prairies is hellfire fast. But this year it was somewhat delayed which is a such a sweet bonus. It was rather rainy though which limited the shooting opportunities. But you have to be fast when it comes to hammering out all the best colour as it is usually here one day and gone the next. Here are two images I shot at the end of my crescent where there was this amazing red hedge. These photos were shot only 3 days apart. Crazy difference! I shot the same photo/pose with the families to illustrate this reality of fall photography in Saskatchewan: HURRY! πŸ˜€

20141020-TayTay-001 20141023-Grandolf-001A little bit of wind can ruin your photo background in no time! That said, while we missed the red colour on the latter shoot, we also picked up some incredible yellow that wasn’t ready just 3 days before.

20141023-Grandolf-002So you never know what kind of palette you will be given to work with from shoot to shoot. A couple of days is an enormous difference! But you can still wring it out even when the colour gets scarce. The photographer’s two best friends are Bokeh & Compression. Or, long focal lengths and wide apertures. This shot of Lexi was with my 85mm at f/2.5. A bit of telephoto compression and pretty wide aperture. Similar results could have been nabbed at 200mm and f/4. Charlea’s photo was similar, with my favorite 85mm at 2.8. She had much more colour at the red hedge while the bush behind lexi was really on it’s way out. But the bokeh goodness smooshes it into a pleasant blur of colour.

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20141020-TayTay-007And lastly, when the landscape dies and gets ugly, it has a great quality of isolating your subjects. There is nothing else in the image to distract or pull the eye from the image! πŸ™‚

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Fall

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Fall: A Pictorial Guide.


Catching Up

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I haven’t been posting very much stuff lately on the ol’ blogosphere as I’ve been busy with 50 billion other things. But I will catch up a bit with some posts over the next little while of some client stuff and maybe a post about a possible switch to a fully mirrorless equipment setup! Maybe. 😎

Here’s some family shots I did a while back for my Buchanan friends. This is one of my favourite shots of all time by far! This is a real photo. No fakey-fakey instagram-perfecto-family. I love the emotion and the looks on the faces of all the kids! It’s just super! eheheheh…… πŸ˜€

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Nice Photos

 

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Family photos, in my opinion, should fall into the category of “nice photos.” Β 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. Β 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. πŸ˜€


Santa #FAIL

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My lovely wife volunteered me to take Santa photos at Oxbow’s Expressway Family Centre. It’s always a riot. By and large the kids all do great. But thankfully, there’s always a few who are absolutely terrified of jolly ol’ St. Nick! 😎 It’s priceless!!! I love these shots because they are so real. You can’t fake this kind of anguish. bwhahahaahaha…….. πŸ˜†

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A great big thanks to our friendly neighbourhood Santa Claus too!


Another First

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Our little man began Preschool yesterday – another big first for our family. We did our typical photo shoot madness and here’s the results. Heheheheheeh! 😎 I nearly fell off my chair when I saw his sign. I’m thinking halloween and grown up got a little mixed up! πŸ˜‰

 


You can’t fence time

1st Day of Kindergarten was yesterday for our oldest. Our first baby is now shared with the world! Very traumatic . . . for us. πŸ™‚ She loved it and had a blast! I took a few photos to commemorate the event. One light or less. πŸ˜‰

 


Torquay

 

Phew! We snuck in one more family session before the full on winter onslaught started to ravage the land. Even though they had snow on the ground in Torquay, we managed to find a ‘greenish’ spot that gave the impression there was still some life left in the prairies. πŸ™‚ The Phillips kids were troopers to put up with the cold, but when it got to be too much, we took the party inside to nab the last of the shots. I love Saskatchewan, I really do, but having another month of fall would have been superb! Plus side? No woodticks! 😎


Tail End of Summer

The season of summer threw us one last bone when we squeaked out the Paton Family’s photos. We had a beautiful sunny day, but the wind picked up somethin’ fierce. We were able to take cover inside a few old buildings though which added some nice texture to the shots. I find that late fall gets to be “dead-grass-coyote-ugly” really quickly. We’ve lost all our colours so texture is the only name of the game left to shoot. Thank goodness for abandoned farm yards! 😎


The Horse and His Boy

We were able to sneak a photo shoot in the other day betwixt bad weather and hectic schedules. Our nice warm fall climate has suddenly turned nasty making it a wee bit trickier for outside photos. However, we prevailed and were able to make it come together for the Perrot clan. Not only were we able to get family photos, we also got some shots of Rocco and his horse. The light was fading fast on an already overcast day. I decided that warm light was the ticket and proceeded to back light the horse and also splash some nice light on Rocco too. I really liked how the final image came together! 😎


Canadian Gothic

 

What can I say? Opportunity knocked somethin’ fierce on this shoot! 😎 We were doing some pleasant family portraits up in an incredible old barn loft that didn’t really have much in it except some loose straw and . . . this pitch fork. We finished the family photos and it caught my eye. I instantly knew we needed to try an “American Gothic” style re-make photo. It’s such a familiar painting that it is readily recognized by nearly everyone! So we did it as a last minute thing and I am so happy we did. It’s just so crazy and off the wall. Jen & Lee did perfectly well in keeping the straight stonewall faces. It was priceless, even as I was cracking up behind the camera barely keeping it together. The rest of the shots we did outside of the barn were also fun, promising the kids we’d do some fun and crazy stuff on the fence. All in all it was another really fun photo shoot!


Shoot out in the caves of Roche Percee!

OK, so the title makes it sound like a Western. Who doesn’t like Westerns?! . . . OK, OK, don’t answer that. 😎 On the weekend we did a photo shoot with a really cool family in the always cool spot of Roche Percee, SK. The caves that formed naturally in the sandstone have been a bit of a tourist magnet for quite some time. And, it is very cool. If you can’t goto Moab, why not check out Roche Percee? πŸ˜‰ This was a really exciting shoot because I got the chance to shoot fellow photographer & Nikonian, Byron Fichter and his family. Byron is known for his amazing work at the Estevan Motor Speedway. Ironically, I first “met” Byron at the 2011 Eve of Destruction when I took a picture of him taking pictures. We later met again on Facebook talking about photography and such. This year, I finally got to meet him in person for not only this family shoot but also some portrait work of him at 2012 Eve of Destruction. It was a riot and the kids sure had a blast playing in the caves. Very cool spot for photos!


Evening Shoot

Went out last night for an evening shoot with the Sawatsky family. We had perfect weather with glorious warm golden light – until the last 2 minutes of the shoot when the wind came up out of nowhere, blew over my c-stand (sandbagged!) and carried my light setup a quarter mile! bwahahahah.. I wish I would have taken pictures of my shoot-thru umbrella carrying my flash bracket across the beach. Β It was hilarious. Fortunately, nothing was damaged and, we got the shot after all! πŸ˜€

Not enough can be said about golden light, that mystical time of the day right before sunrise and right before sunset. The light is super soft and warm. It’s pure awesome. Plus, scheduling the shoot at that time allows for the sunset to get richer and richer as time goes on. Most of the photos from this shoot were shot using ambient light as the key, supplemented with a CTO flash to help add warmth and a kicker. It’s really soft subtle light which works nice for the kids. They did an AWESOME job as photo candidates. We worked quickly and nabbed a nice mix of shots.


On the Shoot that Nearly Wasn’t…

Hehehehhhehe……… It’s funny now. In hindsight. Like most things. But it was a gongshow whilst it was happening. πŸ˜‰ 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…….. πŸ˜‰ 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 photogΒ stressed dad. 😎


Piper & Ruby

Ruby & Piper!

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! πŸ˜‰ 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 wouldΒ 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:


Celebrate 50 Years . . . with a new lens!

Happy Birthday (belated) to me! I got a new lens and I’m super stoked about it. Nikon announced their new 85mm f/1.8G prime in January. Half a year later, I’ve got one. And it is pure AWESOME. I really can’t emphasize enough about how much this lens rocks the set. I read a few reviews about it and everything was extremely positive. It’s sharp. Contrasty. Renders awesome colours. Focus is bang on. Shot wide open, it’s really good, stop it down to 2.5 it’s boo ya sharp & bokelicious! 😎 I finally got to try it out at Eddie & Roberta’s 50th Anniversary Come & Go Tea at the Alameda Legion, then also afterwards at the family party at the farm. It was mainly candids but I did do some family photos too. The event was a riot, despite the heat and everyone had a great time. I’m thankful to be able to have spent the day with the Frietags and very thrilled to try out the new lens. It didn’t disappoint!


Vacation Maternity

Whilst on vacation in the Cypress Hills, my good friends the Teschke clan wanted to do some maternity/family shots. It was super fun and we had a blast! The lighting was absolutely glorious. Just before sunset, the warm golden light was streaming around us. We went to the lodgepole forest and did some setups. I had brought a small lighting kit with me which was super handy. Also, I was able to make use of a lighting assistant. 😎 Thanks again Orion! You’ve got a new line to add to your resumΓ©. πŸ˜‰


FlowerPot in the Garden

Last night we were treated to a lovely supper and good times at the Tetzlaff place. Carol’s flowers are coming into bloom and it will only get better over the next few weeks. I took the grand opportunity to take some overdue photos of the kids just playing around. But then, I just couldn’t take it any more and had to bust out the flash. We did one of Phoebe & one of Ethan in this awesome little grove of trees. I’m going to make more photos there, that’s for sure. Such a beautiful yard! 😎


The Fair!

The Estevan fair was really quite sensational. And I’m really not kidding! It was a boat load of fun!! It was doubly so for me because I got to take some family photos of the Mercers in a really incredible backdrop of colour and lights. 😎 After we had completed our photo shoot I wandered around a bit longer and waited for the light to fall a bit darker for some fun “lights at night” shots. Thankfully the thundershower held off and we were able to get our shots and not have to worry about the rain. All we had to worry about was the carnie’s grip on our wallets! hehehehheh….. (I have it on the highest authority that the fair is a bigger rip off than even the circus!) πŸ˜‰


Twas the night before…flowerpot!

We are down to the wire! Flowerpot will arrive, Good Lord willing, tomorrow afternoon. It’s our last night as a family of 4. Though technically speaking, we’ve been a family of five for nine months already. πŸ˜€ Birth is always crazy to me. With the other two, we didn’t know anything, what gender they were or when they would arrive. This time round with flowerpot, we know pretty much everything. It’s weird to know when a baby will be born. It’s also always odd to learn the new baby too. I remember when Phoebe was born, it was so exciting because we didn’t have any other experience to relate too. When Ethan was born, we approached it like it was old hat – but it wasn’t. It was a completely different experience and a completely different baby. Reg and I remember staring at him on our bed at home wondering “Who are you?!” It was so weird! And now, on the eve of my third child’s birth, I find myself wondering again. What will she be like? How will flowerpot mess with our family dynamic? She already has! I had too much time to think today while we sat around the hospital room, waiting for the anesthetist to show up and run us through the procedure. 3 hours and 45 minutes later, he never showed up. I guess he will be there tomorrow… ? Hope so! Otherwise flowerpot will be getting a good dose of bourbon! bwahahaahah…. (just kidding). 😎

We wanted to get some maternity photos with me in them (Reg did really, I’m more comfortable behind the camera). So we got dad to nab a few the other morning down at Wakamow park. As usual, family photos for us are a gong show and we’re lucky to get one photo where everyone is looking up at the same time. hehehe… c’est la vie. It’s us. I nabbed one of Mom & Dad on the rock which turned out nice too. It was super fun to frame some memories before we (externally) grow from 4 to 5! πŸ™‚


Gettin’ Hitched!

Bells will be ringing for Lucas and Kayla as they cross the threshold of happily ever after this summer. I was happy to nab some photos of them the other day to help celebrate their engagement. It’s official: I’ve added engagement photos to my repertoire! 😎 Winter photos always bring that extra wee bit of somethin’ somethin’ – frozen extremities and rudolf noses! πŸ˜‰ But we jumped in and out of the truck to warm up in between the shots. It was a whole lot of fun! Can’t wait for the wedding!


I before E . . . except in Germany!

Ever noticed one of the peculiarities of the English language is where the ‘i’ and the ‘e’ go in words? It confuses not only second graders but adults as well. ‘I’ before ‘E’, except after C. Unless the word is German: Rottweiler, Stein, Hammermeister! 8)

We had a fun photo shoot last night at the Hammermeister haus. It was nice to take advantage of the sliver of mild winter that is over us right now. Fingers crossed it stays without getting too icy! πŸ™‚ But we do live in Saskatchewan and we know the weather will probably change (for the worse) any time now… But on the sunny side of life, Β here’s a couple of highlights from the shoot! πŸ˜‰