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Of Flowers and Flames

So I’m about two weeks into my daily photo project. Because of my hours at work, I’m only really able to shoot at night during the week. One of my frequent subjects has been a poor daffodil (?) that I’ve abused a number of times. I’m not super crazy about these shots, but since I don’t photograph flowers often, I guess I kind of like them. And since I’ve got a theme running, I might as well share the collection.

If you’re interested in reading a little more about each shot, click the photos for the full-size in the gallery. You can also find the latest dailies near the top of the page.

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Los Branquias a la Playa

(The Gills at the Beach :) )

Edit: More shots are available here.

I met the Gills at Corona Del Mar for some shots in celebration of Danger’s 9th month. We lucked out and had pretty good light, although it would have been much better without the incoming storm blocking the sun.

Here are all the shots I have in the gallery for now. Click away to see larger versions.

So, the idea for the shot on the left was that dad (blue) + mom (yellow) = Danger (green). As soon as blue and yellow walked away into the background, green went straight for the sand. He looked thoroughly annoyed that he had this sticky stuff all over his hands, but he went for it time and time again. Too funny.

Edit: I’m pretty sure the photo on the right was shot by Becky, so kudos to her!

A parting, contemplative shot for you.

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Danger Gill

I travelled to the far-off province of Fullerton tonight to shoot Declan “Danger” Gill as he approaches his 7th month. As you can see here, he’s a cute kid and is a lot of fun to hang around. Since his mom hasn’t seen the full set yet, I’m only putting up a few samples in the full gallery. Enjoy.

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Secret Agents

Kids are like secret agents. You might see one on the street and say “hello Gary”, and they’ll just keep right on moving because they have a mission they need to accomplish. They don’t need to tell you why they need to do it; they just know they have it, and it’s going to get done.

I had the great pleasure of meeting and photographing the Riley family today, and their two-year-old son Jack fits this secret agent thing perfectly. Several times he looked right at me, and you could tell his eyes were saying “hi Mr. Cameraman. I see you and your big fancy camera, but you know what? I have GOT to play with this toy train right now. Nothing personal, it’s just that if I don’t get this train moving, the lima beans aren’t getting to market, and I’m not going to let that happen. So you and your camera can come back later.”

In other words, kids have priorities, and your camera isn’t it. It’s what makes shooting kids so much fun. Below are some sample pictures from this immensely enjoyable shoot. A larger set, as always, is available in the gallery. As I write this, not all the gallery items are up, but will likely be up by tomorrow night.

A big thanks to the Svobodas for letting us shoot at their house!

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Sonja’s Birthday Bash

Meet Sonja K. It’s her birthday.

I had the honor of shooting her at the Melting Pot in Brea for her celebration. Seeing as how I’m a gentleman, I wouldn’t ever give away a lady’s age, but suffice it to say she’s old enough to buy her own alcohol now.

Here, Ben does his husbandly duty and delivers the birthday spanking. His hand was so sore after all those swats that we had to amputate his arm. Poor guy.

Sonja had custom M&Ms made for her party. It was a really cute idea, but I think it would have been funnier if they had been peanut M&M’s. The variety of peanut shapes would have made for some great mods to the pictures. ;)

As always, more pictures are available in the full gallery. As I write this, I only have a few up, but will continue to add more. Even so, I thought this picture was worth sharing as part of the initial batch. I have no idea what’s going on.

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Declan Redux

I got together with Mr. Declan Gill and his parents again tonight. He was alternately cranky and happy, but a pretty good subject either way. Even shooting with my sublime 50mm f/1.4 lens I still had difficulty getting a fast enough shutter speed to freeze him. Next time we meet for a shoot I’ll explain the finer points of shutter speed and aperture. Maybe then he’ll sit still for a bit. ;)

I’m still working on getting a larger collection together, but I’d though I’d post some samples until then:

D with his momma:

D and me, shot courtesy of Trevor:

We tried to get a nice, calm picture of D resting in his dad’s hands, but we tried to do this upfront when he was hungry and all shaky-like. As you can guess, it didn’t work out all that well. :) Here’s one of the better ones:

Gear used: Canon 40d with 50mm f/1.4 lens, Expodisc warm balance filter, Smith Victor basic light kit and Port-a-Stand background stand.

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Solution: “Stuck” Canon Flash Problem

The built-in flash on my Canon 40d has not been cooperative lately. It refused to pop open and play. Ordinarily, this isn’t a problem, as I use my Speedlite most of the time. But alas, the one time I needed it, it refused to open. I’m writing this post so that anyone else searching for this same problem can get the flash working again.

The symptoms of my problem:

  • Pressing the flash open button wouldn’t open the flash.
  • Putting the camera in any of the basic zones in dark lighting would not open the flash
  • Under the “Flash Control” menu option, going to the “Built-in flash func. setting” would return an error stating “This menu cannot be displayed. External flash is attached” even though no flash was attached.

The problem, as it turns out, is related to a switch located under a plate in the hot shoe. The following picture is from this Flickr thread:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dougpardee/133066175/

That little ‘External flash detect swith” is tiny (on the 40d it’s black, not silver), and from what I understand, is found on most of the Canon SLRs. If dust or sand or something gets in under the metal strip, it can hold the switch down, which makes the camera think a flash is attached.

In my case, it was an easy fix. I used the end of a finger nail file thing from a nail clipper, slid it in there carefully, and kind of blew air in. That cleared the obstruction and the switch popped back up. The camera was then able to pop open the built-in flash.

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Casino Point, Catalina Island

Note: if you hear sound, scroll down to the bottom of this post and press pause. Chances are the video is autoplaying when it shouldn’t be. That said….

I, and my friends Ben and Sonja took the Catalina Express over to Avalon Saturday to do some diving at the Casino Point dive park. The morning started out a little cold and overcast, but within a few hours the day turned beautiful. The diving was just as good, with excellent visibility, no current, and decently warm water. Alas, I don’t have many photos to share, but here’s a sample.

Here’s me with the Jacques Cousteau honorary plaque:

Sonja, apparently napping on the bottom:

I found this nudibranch on one of the wrecks. He was around 1 inch long. Not sure what species it was, but it was beautiful in person.

Ben and Sonja work their way through the kelp:

A juvenile garibaldi, with its opalescent spots:

Ben and I after a veeeeeery long day in Catalina:

This video isn’t particulary interesting, but I put it up so that you can see a sample of what diving in the park is like. Lots of kelp and sunshine. I’m holding the camera, and that’s Ben’s rear in the lead. If you want to download the whole video, or just want to open it in its own window, click here.

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Mr. Declan James Gill, Lady Killer

It took him a while to arrive, but Becky and Trevor’s new son is finally here. They needed a photo for their birth announcements, and I was only too happy to oblige. I think big D was about a week old when we did this.

Much to my surprise, Declan was actually one of the hardest subjects I’ve ever photographed. I haven’t been around a newborn in years, so I had forgotten how active they were. Declan was full of energy, and despite promises of money and candy, he didn’t stay still much. Cute kid, but he doesn’t listen very well.

Two more, experimenting with Becky’s rings on his feet. I’m not sure where she got the idea from, but I think it’s rather cute.

The screen door was used as a gobo for this shot, adding a little bit of crime noir to the scene. ;)

The poor guy was having a tough time of it in the warm blanket and Trevor was in a hurry to get to his soccer game, so we cut it short. As much as Becky loves this child, I suspect that we’ll be doing quite a few more shoots in the future.

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