Dakota

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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.

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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.

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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.

Craig Lucascol-8

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A new Flashgun…

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.Metz 48, Fill-in Flash Fill-in Flash Portrait on a sunny day

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.

Craig S Lucas

A Satisfying day with Sam McCauley’s…

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A very busy day at St Aiden’s Hall in Bunclody today, but very satisfying too. I got a lot of lovely photos and we had a good bit of dress up fun along the way.

A big thank you to the lovely Niamh for all the help she gave me during the day.

Here is a small sample of the images taken today, the The Sam McCauley’s photo-shoot was so successful we are already talking of doing another!

Craig Lucas

 

Eureka! The G11 Moment…

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.

Craig Lucas

 

Equipment checklist: Camera, zoom lens, old mattress…

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…

 

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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.

 

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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…

 

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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.

Craig Lucas

A day after the Communion…

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.

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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…

Click on the photo above to see the full gallery

Craig Lucas

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Communions in Bennekerry

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.

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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.

Craig Lucas

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Let sleeping kids lie…

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:

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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.

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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!

 

Craig Lucas

Sarah’s photo-shoot happens at last…

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I have been trying to arrange a photo-shoot with the lovely Sarah since October last year. Every time we have it organized something has come up and we’ve had to cancel for one reason or another; injury, sickness or most commonly bad weather.

Well, on Easter Sunday we finally got to go ahead with our shoot, the weather was lovely, and although Rathwood was busy with the Easter Egg Hunt, we managed to avoid the crowds of children running around.

There was a particular photo I was desperate to capture, involving Live View on my DSLR and a tripod. I have seen it done many times on the internet with sunsets and landscapes, but I really wanted the shot with a pretty girl on screen. I took the image with my old film SLR, the Canon AE-1, and it is everything I wanted it to be. Thank you Sarah for your patience… Doing something new always takes longer to set up.

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After Sarah’s photos, I met up with Sandra and Amelia. What a character! With a 2 year old as spirited as Amelia, there wasn’t much chance at planning my poses. All I could do was keep snapping and hope that something worked, which thankfully it did. We got some lovely ones.

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Well, I’ve been bitten by the bug again… I can’t wait for my next portrait session.

Craig Lucas

New Year, New Project…

I’ve read a lot recently about people’s New Year’s Resolutions, whether it’s to give up smoking, go on a diet or go to the gym more. We photographers tend to think a little differently.

I want a New Year’s Project. Something to get me out and taking photos more often.

I tried the 365 Project a couple of years ago but I found that I ran out of inspiration very quickly. For those who haven’t come across this before the 365 Project is simply one photo for every day of the year. It’s a kind of photographic diary. Unfortunately I found that on a day to day basis, I had very little time to put into my photography, which resulted in me running out of ideas very quickly. After two weeks of taking photos of my trip to work, I gave up.

The following year I went with a 52 Week Project. As you can guess, it involves one photo per week for a year. It was suggested on a blog I follow, and I signed up for it expecting great things. This time around there were themes involved. The blog host would give a theme for the week such as “Cold” and again I ran out of time and ideas.

I have since read about a project called “100 Strangers.” The idea is to take photos of 100 different strangers, in order to get used to interacting with people and to get over the shyness that a lot of photographers have with people they don’t know. This struck a chord with me as I really want to get into Portrait photography more but I have a shortage of willing subjects.

What I am going for, is a combination of the 52 Week project and the 100 Strangers. I will call it The 52 Portrait Project and I have the gallery started up under my Photo Gallery tab. Getting out to take photos of strangers, is not something I will be able to do every week, so I’ll go with anyone available; family, friends, strangers, anyone.

The first entry of the project is my own daughter Milla. It had to be really as her birthday is also the first week of the year!

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I hope you’ll come back soon to keep an eye on my progress. And please do get on to me if I fail to post!!

Also I’d love to know what projects you have planned this year, let me know in the comments.

Craig  Lucas

Just take the damn photo…

was trying to take a photo of my daughter recently. I wanted to get a close up of her eyes, focusing on her eyelashes.

All I wanted her to do, was to stand still and look at the camera.

But kids being kids, she fidgeted, kept bouncing up and down and kept pulling the most ridiculous faces possible. It was a little frustrating, but if a 6 year old is hyper, there’s no hope of getting the image you have in mind.

I could have told her off, and made her sit still, but I want to enjoy taking photos and that would spoil the fun.

I could have given up, and ended up with nothing.

Instead, when I realized she wasn’t going to listen to me, I just went with it,  laughed with her and took a few shots of her silly faces.

Once I got them onto the laptop, I saw I had something special and it wasn’t what I was after at all. So the moral is, whatever happens, just take the damn photo!

You may be surprised with the results. I know I was.

Craig Lucas

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