When I sat down at the dinner table this evening I found this grin staring at me. How could I not get the camera out? I used my Canon 5D mkii with the 70-200mm f/2.8 — shooting wide open to blur the window frames and scenery outside as much as possible. I bounced a flash off the wall behind me. There was no posing, very little attention to what was in the frame, and only minimal attention to composition. I spent most of my efforts on catching my daughter’s eyes in focus. With the shallow DOF and my daughter’s constant motion it was tough and I missed it a lot. How could I not love the pictures anyway? I took 60-70 shots and ended up with quite a few keepers.
Editing was all done in Lightroom — white balance, slight crops, exposure, contrast, vignette, and a tad bit of noise reduction. I did none of the typical overdone baby skin stuff. In fact, I did no “retouching” at all (it would have been a lot of work to fix all those healing chicken pox marks anyway). No skin edits, no eye enhancements. They are cute enough the way they are 🙂
My daughter and I recently took up the task of doing a daily shooting assignment handed out by the folks at http://dailyshoot.com. I’m finding many benefits to this:
– Simple ideas that challenge me to increase my photography skills.
– A project to do with my daughter
– Accountability (sort of)
Regarding the last point, while I have an assignment so to speak, I don’t *have* to complete it if I’m not interested in a particular one or if other obligations rule the day. I can put as much or as little effort into it as I’d like. I usually make a sincere effort to put thought into the idea and execution of an assignment. This includes thinking about ideas before pulling out the camera. Sometimes I never get time to actually set up and execute my planned shot and settle for something quick, but I believe that even just going through the thought process grows my creative skills.
Today’s @dailyshoot assignment was to take a photo that illustrates the coming of spring (for those of us in the northern hemisphere). Immediately upon reading the assignment I knew that I wanted to capture an image with a redbud tree as they are in full bloom this time of year. Since I had to get up at dark o’clock to help the family get off to Colorado, I decided to head out before the sunrise to work on another photo project I have going. This brought me near the Capitol so I decided to use it as a backdrop for my redbud shot. The shot above is one of my favorites and I hope you like it too.
Another favorite shot was from the assignment to make an image of something being made or fabricated. For a while I couldn’t come up with anything interesting but suddenly I remembered the longbow I had been making. I arranged the bow and tools on my workbench and sprinkled some of the sawdust around. I played with different perspectives and compositions. A friend had loaned my a couple of lights so I even spent time working on lighting angles and balance. I ended up with a very satisfying shot — I made the bow, and I created the image from start to finish. Here it is:
Maybe you should consider some type of dailyshoot/365 project…