Through the Eyes of a Child

It is an interesting fact of life as you get older you forget about how it felt to have that new found sense of wonderment that a young child gets when learning a new task or just exploring their world.

On July 9th I decided the little girl we have been taking care of since she was a baby was mature enough to handle my entry level Sony a300. Kaede has over the past few years shown an interest in taking photographs with us. We even bought her one of those kid proof cameras, the ones that can be dropped, drowned or tossed without breaking. Not the greatest camera but it served its purpose.

More recently Kaede has been trying out my Dad’s Canon camera, a little heavy for a six year old but she still managed to take some pretty good photos. As expected there are still a few framing issues and the horizon is a bit skewed. I thought she would have better luck with a lighter camera.

On the Saturday at Rattlesnake Point in Milton, I set her up with the Sony and the 28mm prime. Thought a prime would be a bit easier than a telephoto. Plus one less thing to worry about getting accidently misused. I also had the camera on aperture, set at F-8 and one stop underexposed. With a 8gb card Kaede had the ability to take 1800 photos. Dad got quite the chuckle since it would be him sorting through whatever she happened to take.

I started with some pretty simple instructions, like if you want to get closer you will have to move your feet. We then had to amend instructions to include what was too close. Incredibly this photo worked for Kaede:

The only other rule was camera strap had to stay on her neck and if not in use to turn the camera off.  Kaede got the hang of it pretty quick although a faster shutter button in the hands of a six years old means a lot of photos. Still need a few extra lessons on framing I noticed a lot of heads getting chopped off!

After watching the fun she was having, Dad took the camera back to Fort Erie. Chloe and Kaede spent  nine very fun and busy days with them.

Post has been updated since photos have mysteriously reappeared from Dad’s black hole. Note the two photos posted here by Kaede are unedited except I did remove lens dirt from sunset photo. I didn’t have any expectations of the lens staying completely fingerprint or smudge free!

Next up camping in the Allegheny National Forest for five days which will be a great break from the outside word. There is no cell or wifi signal in the area (partially picked to keep Dad from working!). Biggest issue is keeping electronics charged, Dad’s new car does not have an electric plug like his old car.

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First post of 2011 – Better Late than Never!

Welcome to 2011 and my very crazy life. This post is much later than expected but better late than never! Included in my crazy schedule was a work trip this January that included photographing an event. Thought maybe things would slow down just a bit but nope still going 100 miles an hour!

At the end of December my cousin invited me to try to take some photographs of her family at my Aunt and Uncle’s house. This became quite the challenge since Lucia who is five and Emma who is three were not feeling all that well and were exhausted from a very busy Christmas. I had to figure out how to photograph two girls who were not in the mood to cooperate with their Mom’s cousin who was following them around with a camera.

Alex the newest member of the family was an easier subject but not by much, Alex was either asleep or constantly moving every inch of his body.

I did figure out an interesting trick with both girls. There is a staircase in the house were my Aunt places her Nutcrackers, one on each stair. With Emma as long as I distracted her with naming the Nutcrackers she stayed still long enough for me to take a few shots.

Lucia eventually warmed up to me and decided she would pose for me. It helped she was very proud of her bracelet and necklace she made that day.

In the end I got some good photographs and the rest of the set is here.

In more recent news, I heard an excellent speaker and attended a workshop on portrait photography with one light with the Camera club I am a member of. I had a few light bulb moments that I hope I can put in play on the next opportunity I get to take photographs. I also have a longer wish list of equipment now too.

Photography and my pursuit in learning the craft is becoming an itch that I does not go away!

The Big Surprise!

After months of secrecy I can finally reveal why I have been our friend’s baby paparazzi for the last few months. Shortly after our friend Jessie’s baby bump photo shoot, Erica decided to create a photo book. Not just any photo book — but one that would document a life changing event and allow their new son Evan to see the story of his conception. Erica was the driving force behind the project and proved she has a hidden talent when it comes to organizing and designing a 42 page book. Erica also makes a great project manager — she kicked my butt in gear several times to get the photo editing expedited!

The photobook would not be completed without adding the magic of Christmas.  I checked my list twice and made sure I had the essentials:

  • Upgraded flash for my Sony camera
  • Super soft all white chenille blanket
  • Absolutely adorable Santa suit
  • Candy striped optical illusion onsie

I quickly discovered the challenges with photographing a 1 week old sleepy newborn versus a 10 week old fully alert infant. Checked the list again and added the following:

  • Wind up bear that flashes, repeats phrases and sings
  • 1 vibrating baby seat to keep baby calm
  • 1 hour allotted for baby model to nap

We presented the photobook on December 10th to our friends with bated breath. To our relief, both were surprised and delighted by the thoughtful gesture. The project was a lot of work but it was well worth it in the end.  My sister shocked Damian, Jessie’s husband, by including childhood photos acquired from his mom in Trinidad.

 

 

 

In case anyone would like to create their own photobook we used a company called PhotoBook Canada (www.photobookcanada.com). You download their software which allows you to create a unique book for any type of event. The software program is simple and easy to learn. It will even warn you when you are using photos with too low of a resolution. When ordering, we do recommend you add the extra expense of a slip cover, which gives the book long term protection.

One big project finally finished although I still have busy holiday’s ahead.  I have at least one photo shoot planned and possibly a second. For a hobby it sure is taking up a lot of my free time. Not that I mind too much.

Not sure if I will have time to post before the end of the year so Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

PS. For those who noticed that is not my normal writing style, Erica took over editorial duties tonight and added her own flare. Someday I will get her to write a guest post — Erica is an excellent writer (and editor) with a quirky sense of humour!

 

Musings of a busy mind (and at times confused!)

I have begun to realize how difficult it is to keep a blog up and running. Especially for me I find I get all my thoughts jumbled up and then I am unable to put anything on paper. My blog is more about my life in general, musings on my growing love of photography and occasionally a random blog post about anything that catches my fancy.  Just hope I don’t put anyone to sleep while reading my posts!

It has been a very busy time since I wrote last. Christmas in my family is a lot of crazy running around and lots of visitors. The holiday was also a great time to get some photography fun in. I was unable to blog earlier about a fun studio session I had with two girls of a family friend. We had done it to surprise their parents with some photos as a Christmas present. It was a tough session with a steep learning curve. Photographing a two year old and five year old is quite a challenge. Especially since the five year old was in an interesting mood the day we decided to do the photos. I used a white sheet as a backdrop and my 50mm lens. Literally my dad corralled them and I just took as many pictures as possible. Thankfully I got a few that captured their personality. The best photos to illustrate the day are the outtakes:

(Dad was trying to get them to sit with not a whole lot of luck)

(oldest girl had squishing down pat on this shoot!)

I also had a great time visiting Henry’s for a special sale. To make a long story short, I won my dad a $500 gift certificate which he put towards a new Canon Rebel T1i. A pretty sweet camera and one he is already having lots of fun with. He is insisting at the moment on keeping his five year old rebel but I am pretty sure it will be gathering a lot of dust soon. His new camera is far better for his creative and artistic drive when it comes to photography. Me I just bought a camera bag appropriate for travelling and a light weight tripod with a gift certificate my cousin gave me for Christmas through our family exchange. I got thoroughly spoiled, I also now have a small portable flash. It appears I am pretty outfitted with camera gear for awhile.

The next adventure was the debate on bringing my camera for a short business trip to Dallas. With the new security rules I was nervous on whether or not I could carry on my equipment. Thankfully the new LowePro bag I bought was the right size and made the hand check by security pretty easy. I just made sure I only had my camera bag. I am pretty shy and find it difficult to photograph in unfamiliar situations. I had decided to bring my camera to my division’s award night, mostly to just practice indoor shooting with my 50 mm lens and the new flash. I quickly got recruited to be the official photographer for the night and ended up taking well over 50 group shots. This was a huge challenge since I was using a stage which had large speakers in front, and roaming spotlights above. In hindsight I should have tried to get the spotlights turned off.  Unfortunately could not move the speakers so when I edited the photos tried to mostly crop them out. At this point I have the 100 plus photos edited but still awaiting instructions on how everyone wishes for them to be presented. I do know eventually I will have to create a photo presentation that will play on a very large screen at the next meeting in the spring. A new challenge since it is not something I have done before.

Sorry for the long post but I’ve had a busy couple of months. Next up is creating a cheet sheat for the functions of my camera, a cool idea from my camera club! I also need to spend some time learning the telephoto lens I bought in November before buying another lens. I also need to find a  good course on lighting and using a flash, a big problem for me technically.

Till I write again!

A Whirl of a September

It has been a very long time since I posted but it has been super busy!

This month joined a local camera club. Already met a few really interesting photographers. One who is named Pavel and does these incredible landscapes. Pavel is one photographer I really want to learn a few things from. The other gentleman is an incredible HDR artist. His website is at www.garyjcarr.com. At times I find it hard to distinguish his regular photography from his HDR work. I will die a happy woman if I can have just 1/16 of their talent! This Sunday will be a workshop to Dundas, ON if the weather holds out. Will post photos if any work out.

The other event of September is we took the two girls we look after occasionally to my cousin’s cottage. We try to take them at least once a year. It is one big adventure for them and very tiring for those trying to keep up with them. The youngest is two and the oldest is 5. Both girls are aware that I normally have a camera and at one point requested I take some photos. Unfortunately I struggled with lighting and taking photographs of two girls who don’t stop moving. The photos below reflect the mood of the shoot but I clearly needed a bounce flash or figured out how to get the lighting just a tad better:

Girl One Photoshoot

Girl Two Photo Shoot

The next day was a bit better since we were outside but again it was tough getting good shots of two very active girls. I got a few though that were super cute and reflected their personality:

Girls in the Backyard

Peek a Boo

I also had a bit of fun and followed the river for awhile. Took a few creative photos just for fun and to play with aperture and shutter speeds:

Trees start to Change

Water Rush

Fun with currents

Hopefully my next post with lots of photos with be sometime next week!

Moments In Time

After a very busy few months shooting everything that I can and being volunteered for a few events like a charity boat cruise and my cousins wedding have begun to realize my best photography occurs when I do candid type shots.

My personality is best described by a friend, as an introverted, geeky but cool girl. Still not sure if that is a compliment. I am just not comfortable with attempting to get people to pose and corral people for group shots. I prefer to blend in and make myself as unobtrusive as possible. I am still a long way from mastering the technical aspects of a camera but I am getting comfortable in capturing that one moment in time that are fleeting and sometimes hard to capture unless you have some patience. A strange concept for me, I never normally have a lot of patience but put a camera in my hand and suddenly I can sit still for an eternity trying to get just that right shot. Only problem with my style of photography I take a lot of photos.  Poor Dad, who assembles the photos with his video for the events we have attended, has to sort through hundreds of photos. For the wedding I even was using his camera since it had a flash and added a few more on his camera!

These are some of my favourite photos taken this summer from the various places and events I have been to:

Little Boys Fascination

This was a great moment with the entertainer on the charity cruise (a female impersonator who is wicked good). Little boy was in a lot of my shots he had quite the personality. Also loved the blue in this dress.

First walk as a couple

My first attempt at a classic wedding shot. I was parked at the end of the aisle and was just trying to catch the couple walking through the bubbles. Capturing bubbles on camera in bright light is a challenge. This is where I needed knee pads.

Craig a sweet cherub

This is my favorite photograph of the wedding weekend and the favorite of my family. This happened after several attempts since Craig never sits still. At this moment he was trying to get over a door mantle and he happen to look up just as I said his name. This spot also had that perfect amount of natural light.

The next big decisions I need to make it what I want to buy next. I have not been able to decide if a lens or flash is more important to my needs. I have an event coming in October that will be indoors but I can use my Dads camera if necessary since he has some pretty nice flashes and lenses. His camera is not my favourite in the world it can pretty heavy fully loaded. Decisions, decisions!

I am also looking forward to the fact Dad and I join a local camera club in September. This will be very interesting since the club appears to have a lot more advanced photographers then novices (ok advanced novice) like me. I suspect I will be listening to a lot of people speak Greek when it comes to the technical terms.  I love to learn so this will be a great new adventure for me, I love a challenge.

Thank god it’s Friday! Everyone enjoy the weekend.