Monday, March 1, 2010

Sunday afternoon at Irvine Regional Park


Sunday afternoon we had a play date with Maria and her son, Brandon. Maria is Sandy's coworker from the hospital. Sandy and Maria first met when they use to pump their breast milk on their lunch break. I guess you can call those two bosom buddies. Har Har Har. Anyways, Maria and Sandy became quick friends as they shared their bond of motherhood. We met up with Maria and Brandon at Irvine Regional Park. Its a great place for kids. They have a pony ride, a train ride, and a bouncy house. What more could a kid want?


I have struggled for awhile now trying to find the perfect "walk around" lens. I need a general lens to use when out and about with the kids. I tried many lenses including the canon 50mm f1.8 lens, the canon 70-200mm f4 IS and also the tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens. This time around I decided to bring the tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens. It worked out beautifully. A lot of times when you are at a public place like this, as a parent you need to stay close to your kids to watch them. You often do not have much of a working distance between yourself and the kids. Having a wide angle zoom gives me the ability to still get the group shots even when I don't have the room to backup like when I am waiting in line or when sitting on the train. Also having the max aperture of f2.8 gives me the ability to still get great shots even in low light situations.


Here I was taking shots while the kids were bouncing around in the aptly named bouncy house. I'm telling ya. Kids love bouncy houses. They could have stayed their all afternoon, they were having so much fun. I was just worried that some of them would collide together and hit their heads when they fell down. Sandy checked into renting a BBQ area at the local park for a birthday party and having a bouncy house. The city of Irvine requires that you have a million dollar insurance policy to cover accidents involving the bouncy house rental. After watching the kids go crazy in that thing, I can understand the logic in that policy.


For all of these shots, I stood outside of the bouncy house, but it looks like I'm right there inside with them. I figured out a way to shoot so that you don't get the mesh in the shot. I actually learned this from shooting monkeys at the San Diego Zoo.'re all the same right? Hahahah.


What you need to do is shoot with a fast aperture lens and open it wide open. I was shooting at f2.8 the whole time. It helped to blur out the mesh between myself and the kids and it also gave me enough light to freeze the action in mid bounce. That is another key thing. If you don't get enough light, then a lot of your shots will be blurry. I did not use any flash for these shots.


The mesh is filled with small squares of rope. I positioned my lens right in the center of the square opening very close to it. Then when I shot wide open, the ropes did not block my shot and if it did, it was nicely out of focus and not distracting. Tah dah! The kids have such huge smiles on their faces while they are bouncing around. It was nice to capture that moment. At the end of the day, the kids had a great time. They also burned off a lot of energy which helped to tire them out which is always nice for us parents.

7) I lined them up on a low lying tree branch to get a kids group shot. Ethan is trying to be funny.

8) Here's a close up of Megan while she hangs from the pony ride fence.

9) Sandy and Noah waiting to say hi to Maria.

10) Here is Sandy and the kids sitting on the train.

11) Waiting around in line for the train. Again there was no working distance between myself and Sandy due to the crowds. Thus having a wide angle zoom really worked out great.

12) A candid moment of Brandon watching the scenery go by as the train chugged along. Thinking back I should have tried taking a shot by sticking my arm out the side of the train and shooting a shot back at us inside the train with the widest angle setting. Also I should have sat in front of everybody. Then I could have turned around and taken more shots while we were riding the train. I sat behind Sandy and the kids which did not work well for taking pics.

13) Just Ethan and his orange balloon. I'm not usually a fan of wide angle shots, but I like how I can see the curve of the fence on the side of this shot.

14) Ethan and Megan looking all chummy and cute together. You should see what they really look like when they are fighting over toys.

15) Again with the tongue! I asked him to smile and this is what he gives me. What a joker that little one.

16) I like how you can see Brandon's eyes peeking up from behind the balloon. Too funny!

17) Rare shot of Daddy and all the kids together.

18) Time to go home. Yes I can carry a baby and balance a balloon on top of my head. Amazing!


  1. Very nice pictures! My fav pics were you and the 3 kids, you holding Noah, and you w/ Noah and the balloon on your head hahahaha.

    Must have been very bright outside, some of the backgrounds are washed out a bit.

    BTW, who's that other kid you took pics of?

  2. love to read the lines you typed along the each picture! and also the tips too. What mode đi you use, Tv, Av?

  3. Hey guys. Thanks for the comments.

    Gloomknight - The bright backgrounds was more due to my post processing. I played around with the contrast and tried to make the subjects pop more. However to do that it made my backgrounds lighter as well. I guess I need to learn how to use layer masks but that is more work than I wanted to do on this family pics. I just wanted to edit them quickly and get them posted.

    Me Peapod - Hiya. Long time no see. I see you found my new blog. Congrats on your son. It's it funny that we both chose Noah for our sons. LOL.

    K.C.Q. - I always shoot in AV mode.


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