Hi, it's Anne here. Well, you all know Nick's been crazily busy lately and I'm excited to now announce one of the things he's been working on...
Did you know that, in addition to how-to photography books and DVDs, Nick is also the author (so-called "photographer-philosopher") of a special gift book about fatherhood? Actor Jack Nicholson was interviewed by several magazines about being a great father to his second round of kids and credited Nick's book as his parenting bible. "I recommend HOW TO BE DAD—it's one of the best..." While the book does offer practical advice it is really more a thoughtful exploration/celebration of what it means to be a father, shared through Nick's musings and anecdotes set to a collection of his photographs of fatherhood. And, as the mother of Nick's two youngest children and stepmother to his oldest, I can personally attest to Nick's qualifications on the subject. He parents, as he teaches photography, with wit and wisdom.
So now that June is here and it's time to start thinking ahead to Father's Day we're happy to release a special 15 minute DVD version of HOW TO BE DAD! Nick is filmed in various "fatherly" locations reading his poignant and sometimes irreverent words, incorporating his photographic reflections from the book. The DVD comes packaged in a unique self-mailer designed to look like a greeting card envelope on the outside and including a space to write your own personal message in the inside, so offers easy one-stop shopping for a great Father's Day gift and card all in one! (I'm not saying fathers aren't worth a little effort, but who among us isn't happy when we can save a few steps?) No need to buy a separate greeting card, wrap a gift, find a mailer or packing box... just fill out the attached card and envelope, fold, seal, attach postage and you're good to go. Not to mention your father will be both touched and amused.
I love my father dearly and wish I had a million great gift ideas for each birthday, Christmas and Father's Day but, let's face it, after a certain number of years don't you sometimes find yourself stumped for a creative gift idea rather than repeat the same old standards? So if you or your children are looking for something more meaningful than a tie or golf tees or the latest electronic gadget, Nick's HOW TO BE DAD DVD gift/card is the perfect solution.
OK, I have a swing in my basement office. I put it there a couple of years ago to play with/restrain Teddy. It's still there and both boys love it. (I really hope the guy who sold us our homeowners insurance isn't watching today. The truth is, when someone's playing "rocketship" in the swing the safest place in the room is in the swing. Believe me, I know.)
Anyway, Teddy was in the swing last night and was very smiley so there was picture potential, but as you can see the room is less than perfect in terms of lighting and background.
And here's how I tried to deal with the problems. I let Teddy swing. I used an exposure that would properly expose Teddy and let the bad background go way overexposed. The shutter speed was long—about a 15th of a sec. My ISO was 800. I panned the camera back and forth on Teddy as he moved hoping I would get lucky and get a few relatively sharp frames of Teddy and turn the distractions in the background to out of focus mush. I took 55 pictures. Here are the results:
Most of the pictures look like this—no big surprise. It's what you can expect to happen with a 15th of a second and a kid riding a rocket.
But I got about a half a dozen pictures that looked sort of like this. Oh, if this were sharp it would be a real keeper. I can put this in the almost department. It's sweet, though, isn't it? Do you see how the swing is sharp and Teddy's face is blurred. Ouch.
And this one is fun, too. Teddy was really cooperating. His face is out of focus, but if you used this picture small in a photo album or scrapbook it would be very sweet. I like to think of good, small pictures as little gems.
And, finally, this is the sharpest face I got. The moment isn't as great as the previous two shots, but it's technically a little stronger. You be the judge.
Anyway, the whole idea here is that I was trying demonstrate one way of dealing with crummy lighting and backgrounds by creatively using of a long shutter speed.
If you decide to hang a swing in your living room I will deny in court that I ever wrote this.
I'm always hammering on everyone to keep their backgrounds clean and simple—as a general practice it's solid advice and I stand by it. But as many of you know that if you do always do everything I say you will shoot yourself in the foot—no pun intended. So keep your eyes open and ignore me when you need to.
I love the fact that Angela included the crowd in her Kindergarten graduation photo. It really amplifies the pride and excitement that everyone must have been feeling that day. It would have been tempting to find a neutral blank wall to use as a background, but that would have been a mistake.
We can only imagine the feeling in that little boy's stomach as he went up in front of that cheering audience. And he has a smart, wonderful photo to preserve the moment.
Hi All, from Anne.
We're snowed in again on the east coast, just exactly the same as it was six years ago today when our baby Alexander was born. Here's a photo I took from my hospital bed as he enjoyed his first of many naps on Dad's chest. He was a beautiful baby (aren't they all?!) and has grown into an amazing 6-year old boy who loves all things construction, puzzles and mazes, Legos and more Legos, sledding and snow, reading and more reading...and shares Nick's passion for astronomy!
I know it's trite but boy, do they grow up fast. So I'm glad to have thousands of photos of the early years! Today Alexander enjoyed a new birthday book with an exhausted Nick who just arrived home from a week away--it took him 6 hours to cover the last 140 miles--so he'll check in with you all as soon as he's recovered.
Today is Teddy's third birthday, but for Anne and me January second will always be the anniversary of the big, scary day he arrived three months premature.
Teddy was a little over two pounds and spent his first three months in the hospital. He's at least two months old in the picture on the left—I know that because we didn't see him without tubes in his face for two months. I shot the other picture on Christmas Eve last week.
He's perfect in every regard except that he takes great joy in breaking his older brother's Lego creations.
As you can imagine, we are filled with joy today and proud of our beautiful big boy.
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