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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Location, Location, Location…

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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!

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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.

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Both the village and the High Cross are bursting with photographic opportunities, so I’ll definitely be heading back that way again soon.

Craig S Lucas

Make it fun!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Do you have any tips for photographing children? If so, leave a comment…

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

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

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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Ruth’s Photoshoot at Duckett’s Grove

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I had a lot of fun on Friday afternoon. A camera and a pretty girl, what more can I say?

My young friend Ruth agreed to come with me to Duckett’s Grove in Carlow for a photo shoot. It was her first time modeling, and she was fantastic. She was a little nervous to begin with but it didn’t take long for her to relax and enjoy the experience.

Thie photo above is my personal favourite. I had made a comment to her about the way she was looking at me, her forehead had wrinkled up slightly. She found this hilarious, and I got the most natural shot of her laughter. Totally spontaneous and easily the best of all of them.

Craig Lucas