Sunday Sunbursts

I took a gamble last Sunday and tried an impromptu photo shoot with the kids after their friend’s 4th birthday party. They were on a cake-driven sugar high and had just spent the last 30 minutes literally racing the community center room with the birthday girl. So… would they continue the happy streak? Or could crash and burn in a tantrumy mess?

I won! I got happy children who had burnt off sufficient steam that they didn’t run away. At least E didn’t. One piece of great advice I learned on Clickin Moms is to just keep getting in front of your kids with the camera. That had been running through my head all weekend, and I’m so glad I took them out. And honestly, I was pretty determined because I had actually got them dressed in cute clothes–E prepped out in my favorite Baby Gap dress of the season + classic party shoes, and C wearing a shirt withOUT an obnoxious picture on it (we have a low bar… note he’s still rocking his spiderman shoes).

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This is back at our nearby park, where I’d discovered that the setting sun gives some beautiful backlight on the park path. I had intended to use that spot (above), but then asked them to go exploring through some tall grasses right next to it (basically an unkept field, but why not play?).

So. This next shot. They’re hugging. She’s laughing. Charlie could totally see that, but I think her captured expression looks sort of pained.

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Annnnnd then C went exploring, so the rest is all about E.

I’d played around with bright sun background before, and truthfully, I struggled. After reading up on it, I closed down the aperture to f/11 for this round. I’ve tended to shoot wide open with my new lens–being able to shoot at f/1.8 and get a beautiful bokeh is new and fun to me. But I’ve learned in the past few weeks that a) that is way too shallow depth of field to get challenging child subjects in crisp focus (f/2.8-3.2 is my better range) and b) you just have to close down with bright sun, or you just a big white blob.

There’s still some white blob-iness in the next, so consider it a practice shot (“city kid discovers grass”). But I do love how E appears to be reaching for that sun spot.

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I needed to tweak how much direct sun I was getting in the frame to get rid of that blob, which meant simply adjusting my shooting height. I’d been bending down to get more at her eye level, and by simply standing up straighter I could significantly cut the direct sunlight hitting my frame. And voila! Now we get the beautiful backlit glow and some pretty sunburst rays.

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That above one would have been really cool if I had closed down more–I’d get even more and longer rays, and less of that muffled glow over her head–so I’d love to get back out there and try at f/22 or something.

The next one is by FAR my favorite, and this look is so her…

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Playing with black and white conversion, so a post on that forthcoming…

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