Hard light portraits

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I’ve been thinking about some Yousuf Karsh pictures lately. He has amazing portraits done with hard light. I know that we’re “supposed” to use soft light, but I think that some hard light portraits might be a nice change.

In order to kind of dip my feet in the hard light water, we quickly got some pictures of Norah. This was taken outside on a partly cloudy day. The sun was moving in and out of the clouds, and judging by the shadows in the picture, it was probably overcast when the picture was taken. I used a small speed light on a light stand, camera right, as my main light. If I remember correctly it was set for 1/4 power. I shot at f/5.6 @ 1/100 sec.

Aesthetically, I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. You can see the hard line of the shadows under Norah’s arms and on her legs. I’d say the she could be sharper, but she was very antsy, so I was lucky to get what I got.

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Turning around, we decided to put Norah on our wooden bench. The light is now camera left, and behind Norah. You can just see a bit of rim light on her right side. It’s a bit of a deviation from what I had originally set out to do, but not too bad. I wish that I had thought to bring another light with me in order to get a catch light.

Overall not too bad. I’ll have to try some more standard portrait work with the hard lights and see what I can do with that.

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Norah on her Birthday

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Norah climbing

She’s definitely a climber. Norah likes to climb everything she can. I grabbed this picture of her on her 1 year birthday as she was climbing onto her sister’s table.

She’s also got that “I’m being naughty, why don’t you try and stop me” grin. She’ll walk into the street and look at you with that grin, waiting for you to run after her.

Arrgh.

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It’s been so long….

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Lucy on Victoria

Things have started to settle down a bit with my new job, and I really feel like I need to start being more active with my photography. I’ve been on a bit of a break for several months now.

Last weekend a family that we met in Arizona stopped by on a cross country trip from Oregon to Maine. They brought their dog, Victoria, and our kids absolutely loved her. Except Stella. But that’s another story entirely. Victoria was a fantastic dog. Very well behaved, quiet, and good with the kids. They were sad to see her go.

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Broccoli Shoots

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I’ve been attending weekend gardening seminars. One class was cool weather crops. We were taught that broccoli can be planted before the last frost. So, I started some seeds. They’ve been doing well. It’s been about 10 days, and I will need to move these into larger peat pots.

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3 plants at different sizes. They’ve all been in the jiffy pot for the same time, but some have just taken longer to germinate than the others.

I’m getting pretty excited about the garden this year. We’re planning on putting in a new raised bed and I’m anxious to start filling it. We haven’t figured out exactly what to put in it yet, but we’re working on it.

The next seeds planned are tomatoes and some herbs. We’re planning 3 types of tomatoes with different maturity dates so we’ll hopefully have ripe tomatoes most of the summer.

There will be a lot of learning this summer, but I’m excited to get into it.

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Weekend Favorite

This is, without a doubt, my favorite picture from this weekend. I’ve been trying to get a satisfying picture of that piano for quite some time. Turns out I had to put a little girl in front of it. Go figure.

A bit unusual for me lately, but no strobes used. It was a bit later in the afternoon so the sun was giving us the nice long shadows. I used a diffuser to soften the light on Stella.

Another one I like of Norah:

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Stella’s Birthday Picture Progression

It’s been a slow month of shooting for me. I’ve been in the doldrums photographically speaking, and it’s been cold and snowy. I’ve been trying my hand at printing lately and that’s been okay, but doesn’t provide much in the way of new output.

We do try to get a birthday picture of each girl, so we’ll have a running memory when they’re older. Stella turned 3 on January 1st, and we need to get to snappin’. I had an idea to try and bury her in all of the girls stuffed animals (well, all that were available in the basement anyway).

Here was my first trial picture:

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Zoomed in a bit to remove the carpet and get a bit closer to what I’d had in mind:

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That was it for the day. I mulled it over and decided to pursue it just a bit more. So, the next day I tried a slightly different approach, with her against the wall and the animals all around her:

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Then we went to lying down horizontally and again covered her (Please forgive the saturation, if that type of thing bugs you):

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I thought things were going okay, but then Norah got involved:

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I did manage to get her stabilized just a bit for a quick picture:

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I’ve not settled on whether to continue with the stuffed animal approach or not. I think that I’d have to get a few more animals, and it would probably be good to put her on either the pink seamless or a white background. Really just something other than carpet or wall so that it looks a bit nicer if the animals don’t cover everything completely.

Winding down

Well, the holidays have come and gone. Now we’re winding down and easing back into normal life. We got our first snow storm, and the girls had fun playing outside…

…but only for a while.

We spent one night in Chicago and stayed in the Trump Tower. Very fancy-schmancy.

We had another Christmas at my parents house. The girls were pretty happy.

I got in a few pictures of the decorations around my parent’s house.

Norah had a good time on her first visit to Naperville. We stayed for New Year’s and had fun at my sister’s house. She was hosting the annual “table of crap.” We all get to pig out on all the junk food accumulated over the holidays.

We all had a great time, except her dog….

On to Milwaukee (just outside of it, actually) to have yet another Christmas. Yeash!

At least Norah was still holding up….

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