More baby photography!

Julie had her first Mother’s Day!
Reagan was oblivious, of course, but daddy took very good care of mommy.
What mom wouldn’t love a gift card for a day at the spa?

Last night, though, I really wanted to shoot some dramatic shots of my two girls. I’m designing a photo book of Reagan’s first few weeks for my Mom’s birthday and these were the last shots I needed to complete the series. This is the same type of book I create for my portrait clients but it’s even more fun when it’s your own!
I decided to keep it simple and just use my 2 Nikon flash units; one through a white diffusion umbrella and the other with a mini-softbox as an accent light. We were amazed at the results; I converted them to b/w using Adobe Lightroom.

Here is Julie and Reagan on the couch lit only by the umbrella from the right and slightly behind. I thought about setting up a reflector to bounce light back from the front but we usually have a very small window of cooperation from the little princess.

Here are two that I really love! This one is the dramatic look I was going for; umbrella about 24 inches away on the left and the other light above and behind on the right. I love the dramatic shadows and you can still see the detail in them.

Right after that shot Reagan got fussy again; we’ve learned to bounce her up and down for about 30 seconds then we have about 10 seconds to get the shot. Julie is sitting on a chair in our dining rooom and I’m shooting from the kitchen; I took this shot when she brought Reagan over for more bouncy-bouncy from daddy (yes, I said bouncy-bouncy.) Julie calls me the “baby whisperer” because, apparently, Reagan likes my bouncing better because she almost always calms down; I never would have envisioned that two years ago! Anyway, the lights were in the same spot and we loved that bright, blown-out background effect; she’s also lit from the front by the kithcen light.

Ten little piggies! I can’t believe I’m actually talking like this; somebody shoot me! 🙂

Finally it’s my turn to be in some shots. Julie is a natural with the camera; she doesn’t quite know how the equipment works yet but she’s got an eye for design and fashion. One day I’ll give her some basic lessons and she’ll probably surpass my skills in a hurry.

These are my favorite shots to date. In fact, the flash units were off and we’re lit only by the dining room lights; I added a little b/w effect in Photoshop and I think we have a winner!

Back to the lighting as before; Julie chose a great moment to capture this one.

Daddy’s little angel!

Trying out the new camera gear in Flagstaff

On Wednesday afternoon I took Rico for a walk around downtown Flag while Julie took a nap with Reagan; I needed sleep, too, but really wanted to play with my new lens. I just bought Nikon’s 70-200mm f 2.8 and was blown away. I played photojournalist and just captured a few shots of daily life around downtown. The lens focused super fast on these people playing hacky sack.

The afternoon lighting was perfect and the lens really captured the detail on this little dachsund, too. Black dogs don’t usually photograph very well but the D300 and new lens really nailed it.

Later, while Julie got ready for dinner I walked around at dusk to see how good the D300 would perform hand-held in low light; I was blown away by these shots of the Monte Vista where we were staying. This lens was the 17-55 f2.8; over the last several months I’ve really seen the value in spending the money on high-end lenses. The difference in image quality as well as shooting options is unbelievable. I’m able to get shots I could never get before.

Just before I met Julie for sushi I waited at the train station for this shot; now I’m using the tripod. I wanted to wait for the Amtrak but it was an hour away and we were hungry!

Cool night shots on the way back to the hotel; all handheld.

First road trip with the little princess!!

After 3 weeks of parenting practice, we decided it was time for a road trip. I was a little overwhelmed with work projects so I put everything on a brief hold and we left for Sedona on Monday. Our first stop was Alcanterra Winery near Cottonwood; their wines are outstanding and we bought a bottle of Viongier.

Julie’s dream is to own a winery one day. From talking to the winemakers, though, the reality is that it is a money pit and you’d better not quit your day job. Later in the summer, though, this winery will be harvesting and they invite (beg) their friends and patrons to come help pick grapes. We’re going to join in the fun; I guess that could be the next best thing to owning a winery. I’ll photograph the whole event, of course.

After we checked in to the condo we went to Oak Creek Brewery for dinner and microbrew or two.

Next day we went to the Javelina Leap winery near Page Springs. Very cute tasting room and I really liked their red Zinfandel so I bought a bottle.

On to Flagstaff; Sedona got boring pretty fast. Everything shuts down around 9pm; Flagstaff has a lot more action and even cooler climate. We stayed at the historic Monte Vista downtown; pet friendly for Rico!

I have another new lens for my camera so I’m going to walk around downtown while my girls take a much-needed nap. More pics to come!