I met this lovely young lady named Dakota, along with her younger brother back in October 2010. Recently, her mother came into the photo-lab, and told me the very sad news that she had passed away last September, after a long battle with Leukemia.
I often admit to being an emotional person at the best of times, but with children, I am a really big softy. The news affected me deeply. At first I thought it was because she was a similar age to my own daughter, but on reflection it’s more than that. I knew Dakota. I may have only known her for the half an hour while she was in front of my camera but as a portrait photographer, I like to have a connection with the people I photograph and I definitely achieved that with this little girl. My current sadness is one of the risks involved with that connection.
Looking at the images I took that day, I remember Dakota so well. At the age of four, she was quiet, yet confident, and although she didn’t say much, those beautiful eyes of hers spoke volumes. There was so much love for her little brother, although it also came with that “long suffering” look of all big sisters.
I met Dakota’s mother again yesterday, and she gave me permission to write this post, something I’ve wanted to do for a while. She told me that the photos I took bring some comfort, and that she looks through them regularly. I’m so very glad that they help, and My deepest sympathy goes to all of Dakota’s family and friends.
I have finally managed to shake off this recent bout of Flu, and with a fine spring day, we moved out into the garden this afternoon.
I recently purchased a Metz 48 flashgun and have been dying to try it out. So guinea pig number 2 (of course I mean daughter no2!), was out in front of the camera in the sunshine, so that I could try a bit of Fill-in Flash.
I’m very pleased with the results, and I’m getting very exited to use this set up at my eldest girl’s Communion in May.
As you may have guessed from my photos, I love taking pictures outdoors. I am always looking for new places to photograph, and locations for photo-shoots.
With a very hectic work and family life, I need places which are near to home, about an hour’s drive is about my limit, especially if I bring the kids as their patience runs out in about half that!
Yesterday I visited the picturesque village of Moone in County Kildare. The girls had a great time in the playground there, and we also visited the Moone High Cross, a place I’ve heard quite a lot about since we moved to the area eleven years ago, but I had never gotten around to visiting.
Both the village and the High Cross are bursting with photographic opportunities, so I’ll definitely be heading back that way again soon.
Back the hazy days of summer, you know, that good weather we had two weeks ago, we planned a barbecue for Sunday just gone. Well the weather let us down in a big way, so all the outdoor entertainment we had for the children was off the table.
Fresh from the Sam McCauley’s Photo Day in Bunclody on Saturday, I decided to arrange an impromptu mini photo-shoot at home. I had my bag of props still handy, mostly a selection of hats and sunglasses, so all I had to do was say the words “Dress Up” and the kids were completely on board with it!
Now getting kids to pose for photos can sometimes be a chore. It’s no great experience for the children who are being told to “do this,” “stand there,” “say cheese,” “do as you’re told,” and million other things we want them to do for the camera. And it’s no fun for us to be always telling the kids what the have to do, only to end up with photos which lack something, because lets face it, we can all spot a fake smile from a mile off.
Well all kids love to play, and dressing up is always a hit. It’s a great way to get some fun, natural looking photos which are a bit different. I usually throw in a few questions to distract them too, like “what’s your favourite TV show?” Or “what did you have for breakfast today?” That moment when they are thinking of their answer and not about the camera in front of them, is pure gold.
Do you have any tips for photographing children? If so, leave a comment…
I have a Canon G11 which I picked up cheaply a while ago. I’ve never been particularly impressed with the results. No matter how I set it up I’ve always been disappointed with the final image.
We went to the beach recently and I decided to bring it along as I didn’t want to risk my DSLR getting sand or sea damage along the way. The G11 being a camera I thought I could afford to lose if the worst did happen.
While were out, I had my “Eureka” moment.
It occurred to me that I had the wrong attitude to the camera. I had been using it as a smaller version of my DSLR, and was trying to obtain results of a similar quality. In fact, I needed to think of it as an advanced Compact camera.
I adjusted my settings according to that mind set. I left the camera in P mode (Programmed Auto), although I still shot in RAW so that I could correct things later if they went wrong. Then I just kept snapping, My Dad called it “the machine gun approach,” fire enough bullets and you’re going to hit something.
I was quite pleased with what I got out of it in the end, the G11 is not the lost cause I originally thought.
Recently, we decided that our youngest daughter was getting a little too long for her junior sized bed. We also noticed how the springs on our eldest girl’s mattress were in danger of coming through the cloth in the not to distant future. I’m surprised she was able to sleep at all with all the lumps and bumps in her bed.
So there was a fairly complicated shuffling of beds, with our elder daughter have the new bed and a redecorated bedroom, and the younger, inheriting the older bed but with a new mattress. Both girls are now sleeping better than ever, which gives Mummy and Daddy a lot more peace in the evenings…
The question is, how to get rid of a knackered old mattress? Well, we didn’t. We threw it in the garden and let them jump on it. It’s a very cheap trampoline. Also a great photo opportunity, as you can see the effect on hair is pretty amazing if you capture it at the top of the jump.
I simply put my long zoom onto my DSLR, switched to continuous, kept my distance and started snapping. After about 400 photos I went through them all to find a few hidden gems…
The best part of of doing this was watching the kids have so much fun with something so simple. I can’t wait for the next time.
Eileen asked me a month ago, to take photos at her son’s communion, but as I had already committed to another client for the Bennekerry communions on the 10th May, it was out of the question, I only get one Saturday off work per month you see.
She contacted me again recently to see if I could manage the Sunday instead for a photo-shoot and this time I was available.
The photo-shoot was held at her home, and I found it far less stressful, and much more relaxed than trying to get everything done after the ceremony, at he church, when everyone just wants to leave and go back to whatever celebration has been organized. I think in future, this is the way to go…
Saturday 10th May, and the weather was rotten. The dry weather we’ve had for the past month didn’t fool me, and I had been purchasing umbrellas at every opportunity. I chose plain but bight colours thinking I could make use of them as a feature of the photos if necessary.
I arrived at the St Mary’s Church at 11:30am plenty of time to scout the area, and get a few snaps of the church.
Just as the communion finished and everyone exited the church, the rain eased off and we had about half an hour of breezy dryness. Two of my clients for the day were photographed in the churchyard, before the rain began again in earnest.
A quick visit into the National School to finish up. This Link will take you to the full gallery: http://wp.me/P3XBcM-70
Only one of my umbrellas was used, and that was only for the effect! Were the others a waste of money? In Ireland, I very much doubt it. I’m sure I will have plenty of opportunity to use them the next time.
Today I collected my youngest from pre-school, then went straight into town as I had a few things which needed to be done. Killing two birds with one stone as they say. I always try to time my trips so that I’m not double tracking. The only thing worse than wasting money in my mind, is wasting time.
When we got home she went to watch some TV and play, while I went to make myself a cup of coffee. I returned to this:
So I did what any self-respecting photographer would do, I grabbed my camera and fired off a few shots, then posted them here for the world to see.
I don’t care how you feel about puppies, kittens or baby hedgehogs. There is nothing cuter than seeing your own child sleeping.
She gets half an hour and I’ll wake her. As cute as she is, we still want to sleep tonight!