|Stephanie and Melissa|
This Thanksgiving we celebrated, and ate, with a large contingent ofSusan's family all gathered at her nieces'
house west of Boston. The decision to assemble at Rachel and Michael's home was largely logistical, since they have the two young children. It was a chance to see how fast our great nieces have grown. It was also a precious opportunity to visit
with our children, together, at the same time;
Abigail from Washington DC and Jeremy
from Somerville, outside Boston. On arrival I had every intention to avoid the family photo assignment. There were a number of excellent photographers in attendance with more recent experience in family photography, especially Stephanie and Melissa's grandfather who strives to record every noteworthy and mundane event of their young lives. Also I have a mass of editing to do and no need for added work.
I did admirably for the first half of the afternoon, but I became increasingly aware that I was surrounded by numerous attractive, neatly dressed models. The kids were irresistibly cute, Abigail was gorgeous, and my son found himself in a social environment which
made him less inclined to give me the finger whenever I
tried to take his picture. I couldn't resist. I grabbed my 85 mm f 1.8
trying to record incessantly moving children in low light. Shooting at ISOs ranging from 1600-6400 I still needed to use all the light gathering capabilities of my fast lens. The young kids were probably less camera shy than my adult children, but they had absolutely no conception of what posing for a shot entails. Since the worst expressions always followed instructions to "smile", all I could do was follow them around and try to anticipate fleeting moments of spontaneous joy. My own children have learned over years of painful experience that I will not get out of their faces until they give me a reasonable shot. Happily, I discovered that, after dinner, as the Tryptophan induced coma settled in, everyone became much more open to my efforts.
and let the others drift off. Despite the difficulties, it is almost magic that a largely fuzzy image can seem sharp as long as the eyes are in focus.. As a landscape photographer my goal is usually to get the maximum depth of field, but in these situations I just have to let it go. It is remarkable how much selective focus can add clarity and impact to the right subjects.
|Stephanie Blurry Eyed Uncropped|
Despite my complaining I couldn't wait to get home to start working on these images. In general there was little manipulation required. Camera RAW did a nice job suppressing the high ISO noise. A quick tungsten adjustment got me close to natural looking color balance. I removed a few zits and softened the occasional harsh shadows. I spotlighted the key subjects, cropped and I was done. One interesting challenge came with an adorable picture of 3 year old Stephanie sitting pensively on her grandmother's lap. I only caught one good expression and in that image it was her
With each opportunity to shoot events I find that I increasingly zoom in on the faces. I have to stop this before my fascination with candid portraiture entirely replaces my long term commitment to rocks and trees.