Monday, December 16th, 2013

Some people think it’s cold in the house.


Sunday, December 15th, 2013


We got some snow.




Martin got to use his snowblower.



Saturday, December 14th, 2013

H. Family

I went to my friends’ house to take their Christmas photo. I know, I know: Christmas photos should be in color. Whatever. Anyhow, it was really hard! First off, we broke the cardinal rule of “always photograph toddlers in the morning.” Luckily, we were working with an unusually good-natured toddler.




Then, I had such trouble figuring out the light. Sitting-on-the-floor: window is to the right, flash is to the left. Unfortunately, it is unclear which is the main light. I also think that the flash is too far back: almost next to my subjects instead of in front of them, leading to some unfortunate shadows in people’s eyes and to the reflection of Mommy’s red sweater onto Daddy’s face. This is not so noticeable in monochrome.




For the window photos, I started photographing when it was still light out. As the session progressed, the sun set. I prefer the photos that I took after the sun set. However, the darkness introduced some complexities: only one source of light to work with and frightening reflections off the window glass. I could have moved the flash so it shone through the Christmas tree. That way, my subjects could have all looked at the tree and had their faces illuminated at the same time. It still might not have looked so good…




Then, there was the issue of my tripod. An important part of it somehow accidentally ended up in California. The lack of a functional tripod prevented me from putting the camera in a stable location in order to give my full face and attention to my friends.




In conclusion, I learned that I have way more to learn than I dreamed of. The above photographs are my favorite. I do not assume this is how my friends would like to be portrayed for Christmas, but this is how I see them: loving, silly and cute. And patient. With me.






Monday, December 9th, 2013

The window is not in the picture

I joined the clickinmoms forum.

It calls itself “a vibrant resource for artist, hobbyists and professional photographers.”

It is. I love it.

I glean ideas and vast amount of advice from the threads. I want to work with this one for a while:


“…Try shooting just in the light of the window. Put the actual window out of frame.

Turn all the lights off in the room and close the door. Expose for the light on their face.

Place your subject where the light falls on the floor. Have them look out the window.

Get the catchlights in their eyes. Have them turn, get those deep, dramatic shadows across their face…” Kate T. Parker


Here is my first attempt:







I realize she was neither looking out the window nor sitting where the light falls on the floor.

Now, to once more coerce my friends into sitting for me..


Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Gieves&Hawkes 100% Pure Cashmere Upcycle

Iris & I went to the Winter Festival at the Waldorf school yesterday. We got there at 2:30pm and, unfortunately, it ended at 3pm. We dashed in and out of some rooms filled with fantastic crafts. In one room was a woman named Selene Lutschg who makes upcycled baby and toddler clothing from old sweaters and sells them at her Etsy shop, Berchta’s Belly 1. Delightful! I looked and touched for a few minutes— and I here apologize to her for not purchasing anything— then I wandered off to the sound of drumming. Iris and I spent the rest of our time in a room full of drummers, following the rhythms of a man in a yellow Nelson Mandela T-shirt. Good fun was had by all.


After Iris went to bed, I shrank a couple of my less-favorable sweaters. I looked all over the internet for a pattern I liked but found nothing good. So today while she was napping I said what-the-heck, took out some scissors and went snippity-snap, sewed a few seams, added some buttons, and ended up with (what I think is) a cute little upcycled sweater dress.






I have enough material left over (the sleeves) to make matching pants, but Iris doesn’t really need matching pants.

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Window seat

I am studying the light at the K. house. I did not set up my flash.

The light in the front window is beautiful when shot from an angle.

I like it best with my subjects slightly to my left.




Shot straight-on, it is evident why I might want a second light source: a flash.

This is, essentially, a photograph of toes.




Aargh! I can’t believe I chopped off Iris’ toes in the peek-a-boo picture!!!

And such round, cute squishy little well-lit toes…




Upstairs, there is also some nice light.

It works because of the angle I’m shooting from.

I mean, I like the photo.




Then it was nap time.




Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013


I set up the flash again. Given that I have no light meter, I really have no clue how to figure out exposure. Granted, I have no clue how to use a light meter, either, but it seems there would be a logical set of steps to follow in learning. Currently, I am using what is known as the “chimping” method of exposure determination: take a photo, review the photo on the LCD to determine quality and go “ooh, ooh” if it’s any good. I don’t find this a good method at all. My flash photos are underexposed by a little to a lot. I tend to err on the side of underexposure anyhow, so this is really excessive. Nonetheless, I do happen to like this one photo of Heather holding Mesa. I admit it was a total accident, and not a terribly good accident at that, but I like it.




This next photo utilizes both flash and natural light. You can tell how much harsher the flash is by the quality of the shadow on Heather’s chest and under her legs. The window light has a nice feathered edge; the flash is straight. The original photo was terribly underexposed. I could have used a longer exposure and a lower percentage of flash to make it that the window lighting was dominant, tho this wouldn’t have eliminated the harsh edge on the flash’s light. I was goofing off with shooting through the umbrella vs. bouncing the light. I think my conclusion was that shooting through the umbrella seemed to produce a harsher light, but of course I didn’t take any notes so I failed to learn anything.




Then I went to check out the window in the back hallway. I like the light from this window, tho there is very little room to place a human in a photo in this location. So I used a very little human. The photo is underexposed again, but, again, I like it.



Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Whipped cream

I made more pie.




It called for more whipped cream.




Licking the bowl was a family affair;




Iris crawled right in.




Compare these shots to Thanksgiving Night, where the light was off in the living room in the background.



Saturday, November 30th, 2013






Friday, November 29th, 2013


Iris & Mami do some coloring.




It is not easy to get the caps off of markers.




Big people have trouble, too.




Serious scribbling.