Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays

Nikon D200, Lensbaby Composer for the main plant and 60mm macro for the center, combined in PS (because even on a tripod I could never get the center really sharp)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Just Playing

I have been playing with my new camera, a Nikon D700, and my poor dogs have been the subjects.  I wanted to see what the camera would do in low light so waited until after 5pm when the sun had just about set but there was still light...not enough for my old camera, but definitely enough for the new one.  That is exactly the reason I wanted this one --- to allow me to keep shooting in less than good light.  I only pumped the ISO up to 800, but never would have gotten a shot with no noise at that setting with the D200.  So, I'm happy! And looking forward to shooting in new situations in the new year.  I hope all of y'all have some fun and interesting things to look forward to also!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Larry mentioned that he would like to see a closer shot of N looking at her reflection in the Christmas ornament where the viewer could also see her face, so here it is.  The reflection in the ball shows a family friend and her mother in the background and I did remove myself although that area, near the branches, was dark and hard to discern much.  I did not spend as much time as I later wished I had, placing her and working the frame and I also wish I had taken some with her dressed in her Christmas clothes as I think that would have added to the shots.  But, it is something I will keep in mind for the future.  Again, the large sheet that I had the juice-diffuser shooting through lit her very softly and pretty evenly from camera left, much to my surprise. I had practiced the set up at home and then did not move it at all once I got it set up at their home, and it went together very quickly so is something I will use again.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ribbons and Bows

Little N really did have some darling clothes for her portrait session, and this burgundy dress was especially pretty on her.  However, when you are 5 months old and cannot sit up yet, it is a little difficult to see the outfit.  She enjoyed the texture of the fur so much that we spent quite a lot of the time letting her explore the throw.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

More Chubby Cheeks

When we went into little N's room to get some shots I did not take the sheet I had suspended from my reflector stand so it mimicked a window, I just took my SB28 with the juice diffuser on a tripod.  I extended the tripod legs so the flash and diffuser were about my shoulder height and it worked great to bounce the light pretty evenly around the room.  I was a little concerned about the white balance because her room walls are painted a light purple-lilac but the color balance in the files look fine to me, maybe even a little too warm since the whitebalance was set to cloudy. That is not the reason for the black and white version here, I just wanted to diminish the colors in the flowered pad she is laying on.
Nikon D700, 60mm macro lens at f4.8, 1/250th, ISO 400, flash with plastic diffuser at 1/8th power behind camera on the left.

Friday, December 18, 2009


This is one of my favorites from my session with little N.  She just could not be cuter than when she was exploring her feet.  Although she is too young to take part in all the holiday festivities this year, I know her parents are enjoying the gift of this precious little girl.
Nikon D700, 50mm 1.8 at f2.8, 1/90th, ISO 400, same flash set up as the previous post.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Wonders of Christmas

I got to photograph this precious 5 month old little girl recently.  She was a very happy and friendly baby and very easy to work with.   After we had taken some shots with the parents in front of the tree, and some of little N in some pretty holiday clothes, we took them off and put her on a fur throw in front of the tree.  She was attracted by the decorations so we put her closer and watched as she found her reflection in the large silver ball.  I love that she even explored the tree with her feet! It is such a joy to watch babies discover the world around them.
Nikon D700, 50mm 1.8 at f2.8, 1/90, ISO 400 and SB 28 with juice-fong, 1/8th power, behind a large white sheet on camera left

Monday, December 14, 2009

Different Species, Same Behavior

The lioness companion to Jonathon stood right in front of a group of photographers and vocalized to us for quite a long time.  Not really a growl but certainly not a meow either.
It bothered me, but Jonathon paid no attention at all, typical male.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I find it so sad to look at most of the animals confined in the zoo.  Here Jonathon's expression seems to reflect that misery.  Intellectually I understand the need for zoos as well as the education they provide and yes, in some ways the animals kept there have better lives than they would in the wild, but in other ways so much worse.  I wish there was a way to keep them for short periods and then set them free again...I know, how unrealistic of me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baby Miles

This little guy was pretty new, I think he had been born just a few days before our field trip on Feb 21. I liked a lot about this image but my focus must be off a little because his neck is very sharp but not the end of his nose....I probably needed a smaller aperture.

Nikon D200, 70 -200mm 2.8 at f2.8 and 1/500th, ISO 320

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sleeping Flamingo

When I saw this solitary flamingo sleeping in the shadows with the light softly falling on it, I thought that except for the band on its leg, it could be sleeping on some tropical island somewhere.  It seemed to glow against the dark foliage. I did very little post processing to this image other than develop in ACR and then I darkened some white feathers in the background that were distracting, and darkened the band slightly with a Curves layer, then sharpened the image with Smart Sharpen.  I deliberately left the image dark, because that is the way the scene looked but it may be a bit too dark on some monitors. 
Nikon D200, 70 - 200mm 2.8 lens at f2.8 and 1/3000th, ISO 200.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Flamingo Curves

Must be a different bird than yesterday's post, this one didn't mind being a model.  I was drawn by the curving lines and the edge light.
Nikon D200, 70 -200mm 2.8 lens at f2.8 and 1/2000th, ISO 200

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What Chu Lookin' At?

From the archives, as they say.  In looking through my files for an image to submit for our final photo club judging of the year in the assignment category (it had to come from a club field trip), I found some from our field trip to the Houston Zoo back in February.  None are good enough to waste ink and paper, but thought I would post a few.  I think Doug coined this "giving the stink eye"... I can't say I have ever heard that term before, but it fits!
Nikon D200, 70 - 200mm 2.8 at f2.8 and 1/1600, ISO 200

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dolly Needs a Home

This little female Chihuahua mix, about 3 years old,  ran out of time at the Friendswood Animal Control facility and was about to be euthanized to make space for the next round of strays but she was lucky enough to be one of the very few dogs chosen to be fostered by a volunteer and really needs to find a forever home. She was a little timid and shy for her photo shoot at the park but had a total personality change when I saw her in her foster home --- perky and friendly, she could not get enough petting.  She probably needs to go to a home with older people and no young children, so if you know of anyone who would love a small, sweet, well-behaved lap dog, tell them about Dolly.  She has a Doberman Pincher foster sister and a feline sibling at the moment and they all get along fabulously, so other pets are not a problem.  I would take her in a heartbeat if I could!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

This Is Serious Work, Being a Model

Taken on our hike, at the beginning of the session.  I realize the soccer uniform looks out of place in the woods and I wish he had been wearing jeans when we started, but we had plans to take some shots on the soccer field as soon as the sun got lower, so I didn't want to ask him to change just as we met.  But I do think walking back on the nature trail was a good way to get comfortable with each other and we all enjoyed the hike, so having some kind of an ice-breaker activity to do with kids is something I want to keep in mind for the future.  Does anyone have some things that work for you?
Also, I have been trying a new (for me) method of boosting color by converting to lab mode and then doing a curves adjustment layer on the a and b channels, very slightly moving in the sliders on both ends of the curve, sometimes one end more than the other, to my liking.  I just occasionally want a little more color pop and read that is a way to do it subtly.  Here I masked it off of J's face, but wondered how it looks on others' monitors
--- OK?  Don't bother?
Nikon D700, 70 - 200mm lens at 200mm, f4, 1/125th, ISO 200.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Seven Going on ?

Can you believe this kid is only 7 years old?  And that he really wasn't thrilled about getting his picture taken?  This shot makes me think there are going to be a lot of girls texting him in the near future, I hope his parents have a good cell phone plan.  And he is just as sweet and smart as he is good looking.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Meet J

J is the son of my sister's friend and he agreed to be my model recently.  He did such a great job!  We met at the park and went on a hike down the nature trail where I learned how to look for moss on the trees so I could find my way out if I ever got lost.  He is very smart and interested in all things science or sport-related, especially soccer and basketball.  It was so nice to get a chance to photograph a child who stayed where I directed him, posed fabulously, and had a great attitude while doing so.  I used a softbox and sometimes another flash with the juice-Fong, and I think both were used here as it was almost 5 pm with the light fading. This was my first shoot with my new D700 with the full frame sensor and I was very surprised to see more depth of field at various apertures than when I use that same lens on my D200 with the smaller sensor.  The reason for this was explained to me, but didn't quite compute so I have to just believe it works that way.
Nikon D700, 70 -200mm VR lens at f4 and 1/320th, ISO 200.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Tiny Flower

Again I cannot identify this flower.  It is another blooming ground cover about 1/2 an inch in size.  The petals are closed on all the hundreds of blooms I saw so evidently they do not open but do turn whiter as they age.
Nikon D700, 60mm macro lens atf 5.6 and 1/160th, ISO 200

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tiny Australian Violet

This tiny flower is blooming in a ground cover at my parent's house. The bloom is only about half of an inch in size and looks like a violet to me, but I am not sure.  My mom is out of town or I would ask her!
Nikon D700, 60mm macro lens at f7.1 and 1/125th, ISO 200
Frame added as a layer and masked off of the center.