Ethan turned 3 this past weekend. We tried to keep things simple and only had the family over for pizza and cake. I normally shoot natural light only, but I wanted to work on my flash skills. A lot of times I will find myself in a situation where there is strong back lighting which messes up the exposure. Shooting with an external flash comes in very handy in those situations.
Our formal dining room has very large french doors which let in a lot of light. The head of the table is right up against those french doors. When Ethan blew out his cake candles and opened presents, he was positioned right in front of those doors and so was strongly back lit.
These are not very good shots but are at least usable thanks to the fill flash. I basically blew out the background but was able to get a decent exposure on the subject. I noticed that a lot of wedding/engagement photographers will do that (but with much better effect of course).
You will notice that I shoot a lot of head shots, basically chest and up. I find it hard to compose shots with a wide angle. When I do use my wide angle lens, the shots usually end up looking like I shot it with a point and shoot camera. *shrug*. I've been thinking about getting a fast wide angle prime like the canon 35mm f1.4, canon 28mm f2.8, or the sigma 30mm f1.4. Just a thought. Nothing written in concrete yet.
Then again I also fancy the canon 85mm f1.8 lens and the canon 135mm f2 lens. Those are such great portrait lenses. Not sure how it would work on a crop sensor body. I would imagine it would be very tough to use indoors unless I am only shooting head shots or standing way across the room. However for outdoor shots, low light just before sunset, I can just imagine all the creamy bokeh. A word of warning when it comes to using fast prime lenses is that if you are shooting more than 1 person, it is very easy to have one in focus and the other person out of focus if they are not both positioned equal distance from the camera. I was shooting with my canon 50mm f1.8 lens for most of these shots and I had to delete a few shots because in group shots one person or the other was out of focus. This happened even when I stopped down to f2.5.
Ethan is very much into Thomas the Train right now (if you hadn't guess already). So for his bday, he got a Thomas the Train cake and a lot of Thomas the Train gifts. Here he is saying hi to the Thomas the Train toy on top of his cake. Silly guy.
I almost forgot to mention that I have switched to using rechargeable batteries for my external flash, finally! For the longest time, I have been using regular disposable batteries. What a waste. They don't last long and as they start to fade, the flash recharge time slows down. With these Enelope rechargeable batteries, they give out a very steady output which worked out great.
Here we played the game of, lets pass around Noah and take pics with him. It was actually challenging to shoot because Noah kept on looking randomly around the room and would not look at the camera, let alone smile.
To date this is my best shot of Sandy's mom, Satoe. Usually most of my shots of her from previous events were not usable because she always and I mean always blinks when a photo is taken. No flash was used for this shot, just window light.
I like the juxtaposition of Noah's soft baby skin with Grandpa Ted's sun weathered face. Yes we have made much progress in getting Noah's facial eczema under control. It still flares up here and there but it is much better than before. I think now the eczema is worse on his hands and feet which he constants scratches or picks at.
Here's my mom holding Noah. Again, a bit of fill flash to even out the exposure due to the strong back lighting from the window. Not a great shot but usable at least.
Here's my dad with Noah. I have this great B&W shot of my dad and Megan that I was trying to reproduce with Noah. That original shot was taken back when I first started out with my first DSLR camera which was a Pentax K100D and 18-55mm kit lens. I have not been able to reproduce the same shot with the same sentimentality that I so love in that B&W. Again, Noah was looking off at someone else in the background which didn't help the composition.
The night before the bday party, we invited their cousins over for a slumber party. The kids have 2 cousins named Kai and Emi. Watching a total of 5 little kids for a sleep over was not an easy task even for 2 seasoned parents. I think Sandy grossly underestimated how challenging a night like that would be. Here is a cute shot of them right before going to sleep. We had them "camping out" in the play room. Noah definitely enjoyed the energy of all the kids that evening. Emi liked playing with Megan's toy stethoscope. Perhaps she will be the next doctor in the family. =)
Just a couple of shots from Friday night, which was Ethan's actual bday. Sandy bought him a small cake to enjoy after dinner. It was a Thomas the Train cake of course.
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