Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Vacation Part 2

As promised, here is part 2 of vacations. You'll notice some similarities between this set and the last, partly due to the fact that this is the same cabin as last year in the Smoky Mountains. Same drill as last week, some shots with some explanation. You'll see a little environmental portraiture in this which is unusual for me.

On the way home, we spent several hours at the Knoxville Zoo, also in East Tennessee. Those shots are interspersed into this set.

Gonna go ahead and get the environmental portraits out of the way.

As much as I dislike the 5d2, I have to admit live view and iso 6400 are quite handy (and clean). This shot was actually taken at dusk at iso 12800 f/1.4 1/30. The goal is to get the shot. Worry about noise and technicals later.

In these next two, you'll notice another recurrent theme, which is basic layering. I frame my boys using both foreground and background elements when there are no other natural frames available. Rather than follow the trend of automatically incorporating tons of negative space, I choose to complement my subject with context. Both can be effective, but negative space rarely tells a story. You'll also notice that I love to capture my boys during a contemplative moment (i.e., lost in thought, distracted, etc).

Again, very basic framing, using the bucket to provide context. To me, the bucket sits there quietly, unused, while the boys dance as the bucket's background.

I love 50mm. I took an angle that allowed the railing to run through the frame diagonally. Even simple compositions such as this can benefit from leading lines that are subtle yet effectively draw the eye to the subject.

As much as I like to layer (and usually do), sometimes I go for symmetry and simplicity instead. In this shot, I liked the animals on the wall and used them to frame my son.

What I like about this is the dynamic of Henry looking across and out of the frame. I framed it and waited for him to do something like that. If he were looking out toward the rhino exhibit (to camera left), his gaze would have led out of the frame along with mommy in the background. Because he's looking back into the frame while she's looking the other way, there is a slight tension to the image and the eye is able to bounce around the frame without ever being "led out" of it.

Simple example of natural framing, using the doorway and the light's rapid falloff which I love.

I like the complexity of this image. If you like complex and dense (but visually organized) street photography, check out Alex Webb. He shoots for Magnum Photos and is an amazing talent. This shot has that type of complexity, while maintaining separation between the multiple subjects and their movements. Also notice that while everyone is moving about, Isaac's eyes are on the camera.

I thought I saw A LOT of shots while in this toy store. There seemed to be myriad opportunities but I never could make it work. I was a little frustrated at my failure. As we descended the stairs, I noticed the spiral from above, quickly framed, guessed exposure and snapped a shot.

Here is another example of a series I tried to shoot and felt I was failing. Carousels are frustrating to shoot because they're so visually busy and during the day, your sensor can't register the dyanmic range between the shadows and highlights. I finally knelt down and tried to simplify things, eliminating many of the issues my other shots were having.

These next two show two ways I approached a similar shot and angle.

A lot of pictures but a busy few days. So, be encouraged to bring your camera more places. Think through your shots and exposures and capture something unique. I'm excited for my boys to look back on these shots in 10 or 20 years from now. Thanks for stopping by, guys.



  1. Gorgeous set of images. I particularly love the last bed shot and the "street photography" one is simply inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Beautiful images. The 50mm f/1.4 is such a great lens. I think that it might be Canon's most used lens. It is usually the lens that they use when featuring their high-end cameras. Fun it is never the f/1.2L series. Thank you again for sharing and info.