Sunday, August 24, 2008

Perpetual Motion Machines

Or, as most people refer to them, "Toddlers." A co-worker of mine asked me to shoot pictures of her daughter, who'll be a year old next month, for the birthday announcements. I took her birth announcement pictures, and apparently she was pretty happy with those and asked me to do it again. "Why not?" I thought.

Well, this year we took the pictures at Grandma's house. (Grandma has a really nice back yard.) I wanted to start early, both because the light is better before the sun is too high, and because I don't like being hot. :) After bravely navigating the path to Grandma's (my co-worker's directions had a MAJOR error that I only avoided because I knew roughly where Grandma's house was already) I waited the half-hour that I knew I would wait* and they arrived...

Surprise #1. Another couple, with a baby about the age of my co-worker's. Huh? When did I agree to shoot two families?

Surprise #2. They brought their dog. Their very large, extraordinarily slobbery dog. This dog nailed my lens with goo from ten feet away. Impressive.

Anyway, into it we went. One of the great "secrets" to child photography is to get down to their level. Pictures of the kid looking up at you - and I'm over six feet tall - are not very interesting. However, the getting up and down is wearying when you also weigh over two hundred pounds. And up and down for two kids. Whee!

Her kid is just adorable, and was very cooperative for a one-year-old. I can't complain, really. The dog was not. There were just too many people running around and he couldn't stay put. Oh, well. You do the best you can with what you have where you are.

Used quite a bit of fill-flash until the batteries in my strobe died (some knucklehead forgot to swap in fresh batteries.) It helps a lot, especially in direct sun. The yard had lots of shade and lots of sun and the kid was constantly running between, which made the exposure work fun. I did go two-gun and wear a camera with a zoom lens and one with a fast prime.

My favorite pictures, by far, were from the prime. I shot in AV (Aperture Priority) mode with the lens opened way up. I got quite a few pictures that were a little fuzzy (although I have auto-focus on a priority button and switched to Servo mode, so not as many as you might think.) But the ones that were good were great. Soft, buttery backgrounds with lovely circular highlights. And with a lens opened to f2.2 or so, even in deep shadow and at ISO100, I got shutter speeds low enough to freeze the kids and the dog. In direct sunlight I was almost maxing out the shutter! (Fastest shot I saw was 1/4000.)

Here's grandma's backyard with the prime opened way up. (f1.8 for lighting test, lens's max aperture is f1.4.)

Darn, I just love a fast lens. I only shot a few lighting tests without anybody in them and my co-worker hasn't given me permission to post any pics with people, so that's all I got for now. I'm out.


*My co-worker is hardworking, intelligent, and talented, but amongst her many gifts, "punctuality" does not lie. Her husband, so far as I can tell, is even worse.

1 comment:

jimmyd said...

Hey Marc-- Not a comment but I don't see an email for you so I'm using this.

A small favor: Do you have a link or something for instructions to put the "more after the jump" thing into the blogger HTML? I've been to the "Blogging for Dummies" site (or whatever it's called) and it has directions but they don't seem to work as they call out code to place new code in between the but the code they're talking about doesn't seem to exist. Any direction you could provide would be appreciated.