When chuck wagon racing season is over and winter rolls around… your life gets 17% more fun! We had a blast today going out with Ross & Lee for a 2 Horse Open Sleigh ride! What made it even more fun was tying on some sleds to pull the kids behind. They had an absolute riot! The weather was really perfect for the ride, no wind and a reasonable winter temperature, if slightly below normal.
I threw in the X-PRO2 (which hasn’t left my hands since I got it) with the 35mm f/2 and decided to shoot straight up Provia film simulation. You know, for a simple colour JPEG, it really rocks. Every time I look at the photos, the Fuji just nails colour. Little nuances of colour. Big bold colour. Colour of any kind, Fuji wins. The redness of the cold cheeks, the fluorescent yellow, the skin tones… bang on. I love the look of standard Provia!
I have been shooting ACROS since I got the X-PRO2 and I LOVE it big time. But even converting a Provia JPEG to black and white works. The X-Trans has oodles of dynamic range even in the JPEG. I shot this one of Ross with a backlit sky and then pushed the levels and upped the clarity in Lightroom. It makes a for a cool gritty portrait.
These colour Provia shots have basically no editing other than resize for web. All shot auto white balance. To my eye, the colours rock the set. I’m always blown away with how great the files look straight out of camera. They are contrasty, colourful and have a metric tonne of pop! In camera settings were H Tone -1, S Tone -1, Colour 0, Sharp +1. That’s it! The last tree shot did have some colour tweaks to bring out the sky and see how far I could push a JPEG. But I’m still over the moon about the X-PRO2! It’s an amazing camera with incredible results!
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. 😎
Everyone loves ground hog day! I think today there is no chance of that little gaffer seeing his shadow. Whee! 😎 Should be good to go for an early spring on account of the wicked blizzard that just blew in… sigh. Oh well, here’s some cute photos of the kids & Reg’s cool groundhog day snack/craft. Ain’t it cute? Delicious too. 😀
As an aside, what’s the point of naming these g-hawgs such annoyingly long and obscure names? Punxsutawney Phil? Chattanooga Chuck? Holtsville Hal? Why not just simply Ted? Or Len? Or Ben?
I have a dream. Where groundhawgs, marmots and other small cave dwelling creatures, can have single syllable names that are easy for people to pronounce. I have a dream! 😎
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!
Granted, I’m a little late to the party. But I want to set the record straight on the Nikon 1 V1. “It doesn’t suck!” It’s amazing little camera! This image of the kids is straight out of camera with no edits (other than water mark and resize). The colours are amazingly vibrant! All the images are very contrasty and punchy, and I like it! I finally had the chance to go for a little walk around today with it and shot a couple of landscapes. Other than the fact that it was a foggy abysmal day, I found that it set the stage for some cool black and white. I shot in JPEG and RAW and had a good experience with both. RAW always gives more latitude, but the JPEG performance is really nice. The only achilles heel is the high ISO, which is to be expected for a small sensor camera. But it’s not that bad, all things considered. When you evaluate the performance against my current DSLR, the D300s, it doesn’t lose by that much in color and dynamic range. It’s negligible really. ISO get’s punched in the face, but we already knew that. For outdoor day to day stuff, in my opinion, the Nikon 1 brings the thunder. And, its far more portable. But I already mentioned that. 😎
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.
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) 😎
“What should we name this baby, Phoebe?” we ask our 4 year old. “Well, if it’s a boy, his name will be Marco. If it’s a girl, her name will be Flower Pot.” 😀 We loved it and it has stuck ever since. The third Schultz baby is due right around the corner so we went out a couple of different times and made some maternity images. One of the major bummers about having an exceedingly mild winter (photographically speaking) was that there was no snow. Everything outside was rather bland and dead looking, very unattractive for making photos. But we did capitalize on a little bit of snow for the park shots. Just a pile of candids in both natural light and using flash. Then, when the weather improved we nabbed some warmer shots in Moose Jaw. Why the holy city of Moose Jaw? Well, it is where Flower Pot will be born. Turns out she’s a c-section and we were referred on from Estevan. So she will share the birthplace of her daddy, which is cool. Moose Javian anointing coming your way, Flower Pot! 😎 It’s kind of weird knowing when the baby’s birthday will be. Smack dab in the middle of Holy Week. . . . God has a sense of humour! 😉 It means that my entire Easter schedule is kiboshed. But that’s OK. Everything will work out and we are very blessed to have Grandma & Grandpa in town to help wrangle the kidlets. 🙂 So anywhos, here’s the photos!
My ridiculously good looking children on Valentine’s Day. bwahahahahhhaha………. 😀
Life Lesson: Don’t turn your back on toddlers when food colouring is within reach. 😳
Here’s a fun wintertime thing! Get a spray bottle, mix up some food colouring and water then let your kids go hawg-wild painting the snow with colour! Just don’t use yellow. That’s free advice. 😎 It was all fun and games till the kids went graffiti-jimbo on us and painted the siding on Fonstad’s house. Not good. Notice Reg scrubbin’ like a mad fool to clean it off before it set! heheheehe… It did wash off. For the most part… Anyways, fun wintertime activity!
I decided I would post a few picks for Easter, a few of the kids and some Crocus shots from the other day. I was happy to come across a whole pile of crocuses just starting to burst forth into life! Yay! Another sign that winter is dead! Long live spring!
And, for the most important part of Easter:
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!