Posts

Seven

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My little girl (second from the left) turned seven years old on Sunday. It’s hard to believe. Just a few years ago it seemed like she was a little toddler.

So proud of her. She’s thoughtful, caring and cries during movies like her silly dad.

Can’t wait to see what the next seven years bring!

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Dancing

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Being away for 10 days in Africa was pretty tough. I missed my family big time. There is a weird kind of homesick you get when you realize just how far away you actually are from your wife and kids.

When I got back, I soaked up time with them. Did nothing for two days. Was wonderful. But of course eventually the storms came calling.

Lyla and I always chase together and a few days ago we found ourselves in southern Arizona on this little used road. I saw storms all around, but then I looked at the road and the light was awesome and realized…I just haven’t gotten any photos of Lyla lately and I need some new memories.

I wont ever forget this image. Hopefully we’ll have it framed in the house somewhere soon.

Ghost in the House

On our trip to Grand Falls back in August, we had a lot of waiting to do before the flash flood showed up. And it got dark. So as photographers of course, we can’t just stand around and enjoy ourselves, we have to take pictures of ANYTHING.

The stars came out and I rarely get to photograph the Milky Way, so I started taking long exposures. They were okay, but then I saw the little hut my daughter was sitting in, the head lamp she had thanks to our buddy Dee, and so I backed up a bit and included her in the frame.

She barely moved for 30 seconds. Incredible. But the little bit of motion she did have kind of makes her ghostly like in the shot. My wife said it was creepy. I love this.

A beautiful starry night with the orange glow of Flagstaff on the right horizon. And hey, the Milky Way up there…always fun.

I think I’ll treasure this one for a long time. It was such a spur of the moment trip, we camped out in the back of the truck and Lyla thought that was about the most fun thing ever.

 

Behind all the cute

I love to photograph my daughter, even though I’ve been doing less of it lately. I need to get back into that habit though, because usually I can find something worth treasuring forever.

Like this shot.

Lyla is a cutie pie for sure. Whenever I post pictures of her on Facebook or the blog, I almost always hear about how adorable she is. In fact, my good friend Jesse has told me his wife demands that he tell her anytime I post a new photo of Lyla. Wonder if she still will? (heh)

So today I thought I’d show the other side. The side we get to see. I don’t have any photos of the temper tantrums, or the crying, or the throwing of things, or the yelling “No!!”…but I do have this one.

I had pulled out the camera because she was sitting peacefully in this chair, playing with my wife’s iPhone. The light was perfect, she looked cute…so I thought I’d snap a few while she wasn’t looking.

And then she did this.

Maybe if you are a parent you’ll get why you might treasure a photo like this 🙂

Anyways, she’s still cute right? And for those that would rather be left with a nicer memory of Lyla, here are a couple more.

The moments

My daughter loves being outside. It’s been good for me actually, because my first tendency is to keep inside where it’s nice and cool and maybe where I can catch up on a few TV shows. But she forces me to expand myself and I love her for it.

This little series was shot back in May and are some of my favorite images I’ve ever taken of her. Not so much the photos themselves (although I do love them), but mostly the memory of that afternoon. I’m sitting on the front steps, she doesn’t want to go back inside so I’m checking mail on the phone while she just walks around.

Suddenly I hear her laugh and I look up and she’s standing by this puddle in our driveway. I had watered the grass earlier and there was a decent amount of water just chilling out on the cement, waiting for a kid to walk by. I kind of half-heartedly say “Don’t get wet okay?” And the next thing I know, she steps in it and then sits down.

So my first inclination is to go UGH, diaper wet, pants wet…she’s gonna be dirty. Her mom is going to be annoyed. Then I realized all that wasn’t true and didn’t matter.  Her mom isn’t like that. And so what? I’ll just give her a bath.

I mean, look at all the fun she’s having.

My  next thought (OF COURSE!) is to run grab the camera. And I just kind of laid down on the driveway with her (not in the water) and documented this little adventure of hers. I made her splash the puddle a few times so I could capture it at just the right moment. I laughed as she not only was sitting down, but then decided Why Not? and just went face down in that thing. Looking at herself in the reflection and laughing. Standing up, dripping wet and then just walking around in the water.

I don’t want to be a photographer that hides behind the camera, always snapping, never participating. It’s easy to do that. Anytime your kids do anything, you want to photograph it. It gets to the point that you aren’t actually being a part of what they are doing. I went through a phase of that but I think I’ve relaxed a little and found a nice balance. I wait for the important moments now instead of making everything a photo-op.

Of course…on the flip side…a day like this might easily be forgotten after a few years. Without a camera, you miss being able to capture those moments that make them who they are.

 

Happy Friday!

I can’t wait to hopefully see this face today. I’m flying back from Las Vegas mid-day only to rush off to an event shoot in the afternoon and then the First Friday showing downtown. I’m crossing my fingers that somewhere in all that is a brief moment to give Lyla a hug.

Not a lot of time today, busy, busy, busy…so I wish you all a happy Friday and hope you have a great weekend!

 

Little Miss Sunshine

(click to see larger, crisper, with a nice dark border)

If you were to boil my life down to the basic things that are essential to my existence…the photo above represents all of it.

Before I go on about my two girls, today is Movie Title Wednesday so of course I gotta talk about the film for a bit. Little Miss Sunshine is one of my favorite movies from the last decade or so. A fun, hilarious movie with an awesome cast, great story and a VW bus that couldn’t stop honking. If you somehow missed this one, I’d give it a look-see. Can’t go wrong.

In reality, our little girl Lyla is indeed our sunshine. I don’t remember what I used to laugh about compared to what I do today. There isn’t a day, or an afternoon, or an hour that goes by where she doesn’t make me smile.

When you first have a baby, it’s amazing how badly you want to get to the stage when they sleep through the night and you can finally rest. And then when she’s almost 2 1/2, you are wishing that time would slow down because you already can’t bear the thought of her leaving the house someday.

The shot above was from Easter Sunday morning in our church parking lot. She had just seen my wife Jina twist her foot for a second, and so of course Lyla copied her and gave me a perfect little model pose.

Here’s a second shot below of both of them. These are probably two of my favorite pictures ever of them together.

Both shots were taken on my 5D Mark II with the Canon 50mm 1.4, at f/1.4, ISO 100 and a shutter speed of 1/8000.

 

 

Grand Falls: A short little video

(Make sure to watch the video in 1080p glory!)

As promised, I put together a short little video on Grand Falls from our trip this past Saturday. If you watch it on YouTube, you’ll see a lot of links to other Grand Falls videos, some of which really show the power of the Falls when they are at peak flow. I think this is probably the only HD video of Grand Falls out there, but I really hope to someday capture them going nuts like in some of those others.

The Falls are just amazing. I hope the video gives you a better impression as to the scale of them, because it’s not always easy to tell from a simple photograph. My daughter did her best impression of a foreground object and I think it helps a lot *grin*

Next year I plan on doing a lot more video and also hopefully a long time-lapse. This was the first time using my 5D Mark II for video and sadly there’s a nice dust spot on the lens (My Tamron 17-35mm 2.8), plus some herky-jerky movements. Hopefully it doesn’t induce any motion sickness for you all.

I have to say…I do love the quality of the HD video though…pretty remarkable. Can’t wait to dig into it more. Will be using it to document some of my stormchasing adventures this summer.

A few of Lyla with the 85mm

I recently got extremely lucky on Craig’s List and found a guy selling a Canon 85mm 1.8 for $225 after he used it one time for only a few shots. Retailing for around $400, I know he could have gotten $300 or so for it, so from the time he posted it to the time I bought it was around three hours. Was praying no one else offered him more money for it!

Anyways, I’ve had a few people ask me how the lens turned out and if I’m loving it or not. Definitely a fun lens. Compared to the 50mm 1.4 that I use almost exclusively for portrait work, this lens is quieter and faster at focusing. On my crop sensor Rebel XSi, it rocks to have a lens where I can be a bit further away from my subjects than the 50mm allows, plus still get that awesome bokeh.

So far I’ve played around with it while out with my daughter Lyla. She’s been dragging me to the park this past week for some “slides…swwings!” as she likes to say. A few of these are from there, a couple are from a recent trip to the Phoenix Zoo.

Hope you enjoy!

If my daughter grows up and loves playing basketball, I will have accomplished at least one of my goals for her *grin*

This one above was taken at the zoo…this is her famous pose where she looks back at you, holds out her hand and says “Mon Daddy! MON!” (come on daddy)

Outside

My daughter is two and she’s always wanting to explore the world, never satisfied with where she is right now. If we’re inside…of course she wants out.

“Daddy….owwwwtside!”

Once outside, she wants to do more. If she’s in the backyard sitting on the patio steps with me, she wants to climb the stairs to the guest house. If we’re on the side of the house, she runs up to the gate in the picture above and wants me to open it. If I open it and we go out front, she wants to run down the sidewalk. You get the idea.

I used to be able to give my wife a break by bringing Lyla with me on little photo excursions. Put on a DVD of Toy Story and she’d sit there, happy as a clam while I’d pull over, set up and take some storm shots, or whatever.

Now when I get out, she wants out. Makes things a bit harder. Because she wont just stand there watching a sunset with me. She wants to move.

It’s exhausting to say the least. The girl runs so fast, even a brisk speed walk on my part is not fast enough to keep up with her. She’s super-independent, would rather walk everywhere and anywhere instead of behind held or chained to a stroller. And I say “chained” because I’m sure that’s how she feels about it.

Is it frustrating? Yes. Would I change that about her? Absolutely not.

Even running down the street after her, knowing I need to give her a little talking-to for not listening to me yet again…I smile. I love who she is and the crazy desire she has to constantly be learning and moving.

I can’t wait to see what she does with all this energy someday…I bet it will be something amazing.

(Exif: Canon Rebel XSi, 50mm 1.4, f/1.4, ISO200, 1/800)