08/24/2011 4:43 pm
Welcome back photogs to another installment of what makes a photo great. Last week we covered #2 – color and how color impacts a viewers eye. This week we are pulling in the 3rd component, composition. Compostion in itself is a rather big subject in photography. Good composition its paramount, it separates the photographs from the snapshots. I could probably write 10 individual posts just about the different ways you can achieve good composition, in fact we have talked about some of them in prior posts so I will link back to them in case you want to go back. Today let’s simplify and I’ll give you my personal Top 10.
1. Leading Lines
Your eye will follow the lines in the photo taking them deeper into the scene even if its out of focus you can still lead.
Having the larger profile in the background face the opposite profile in the foreground gives a nice balanced feeling to the photo. This one also works for 10. movement to I also happen to think that the movement in the subject makes you wonder what is it she’s digging for in her purse? Did she lose something? I like to tell a story.
3. Negative Space
Use the vast empty space in a photo to draw attention to your subject.
4. Selective Cropping
Cropping a photo can bring attention to a specific area or help create a sense of scale.
5. Rule of Thirds
Imagine a grid overlay on this photo, 2 lines across and 2 lines from top to bottom this gives you 6 quadrants, the rule states that your subject or focal point should land in one of the areas where the lines cross one another. The leaf is off to the right while its stem leads your eye to the left, this is pleasing to the brain, and for some reason and you may not know why, you like it.
Your brain likes things to be balanced and even. Simplicity rules.
Make some one feel like they are standing right there next to you on that ledge. Lay down and shoot across an open field or (carefully) hold your camera off the edge, capturing a unique perspective makes for an outstanding capture.
Have things at different focal ranges, something in the foreground (grapes), something mid-way (vineyard groves) and something in the background (mountain range).
You can use outdoor elements like trees that line a road or something that provides just enough shape that it is recognizable like this rearview mirror. Setting the exposure for the reflection helped wash out the background framing and bringing in your eye to the girls face.
Showing a bit of blur in motion helps give the viewer a sense of what was happening at the time the shutter went ‘click’.
Have a photo with great composition? We’d love to see it in our Flickr Pool. Your photo might just even be featured here on OC Family.
See you next week when we look at 4. on our list (inspired by photographer Penny De Los Santos) camera angles.
08/17/2011 12:00 pm
Last week I talked about the foundation of a good photograph, Light. You need light in order to see what? Color. I am a huge fan of color in photos. Take a look at a few of my most recent phone photos. It’s obvious I shoot for color. In almost every photo I let color dictate the shot almost every time.
Some things alwasy stop me dead in my tracks (pun intended!) like bright orange crossing sign against the blue sky.
Its no surprise I like the combination as these two colors are what you call complementary colors. Complementary colors are opposite on the color wheel. Red and green, yellow and violet, blue and orange, are the three simple pairs of complementary colors. These colors always go well with each other, hence the term complimentary.
So assuming you have found the perfect setting with just enough light can you add a pop of color?
Even if your subject isn’t brightly colored try shooting in a direction that has color in the background.
Capture a rainbow in a different form.
Is your color featured in the dream-like bokeh (blurred background)? Even in the absence of light you can create color with colored lights.
This is a photo of a string of holiday lights on a table.
I switched my camera to manual focus and purposely shot out of focus to get these nice soft circles of color.
Have a photo with great use of light? We’d love to see it in our Flickr Pool. Your photo might just even be featured here on OC Family.
See you next week when we look at 3. on our list composition.
08/10/2011 2:23 pm
I recently spent a couple hours with one of my favorite food photographers Penny De Los Santos. She held two sessions at BlogHer (a blogging conference with over 3500 attendees). She spoke about finding inspiration and some of the key elements that are found in every great photo. I’d like to share some of those here on Modclicks so for the next five weeks I am going to cover the Top 5.
The elements remain basic and straight forward its how you use them that sets the good apart from the great.
We start of this week with what most people consider the most important : Light
You need light in order to see color, black is the absence of all light and really all color since black absorbs all colors, are you still with me? When you have good light you have better colors, take that one step further better light = better saturation which also means better contrast and details.
Sometimes too much light can blow out a photo causing the image to lose precious details. The image to the left SOOC (straight out of the camera) was too bright, I reduced exposure in my editing software (Lightroom) and viola it automatically revealed what I intended on capturing, little bits of bright orange from emerging flower buds.
Even when you are indoors you can still find light whether its from a window.
Or an artificial as I used photographing this donut. Your subject (even ones covered in fine powdered sugar) need lots of light.
Sunlight from behind the subject can illuminate silhouettes like the fuzz of a bee while making the petals look translucent.
Use whatever light is avaiable and dial up your ISO on your settings to allow you to take photos in low light situations.
24-105 at 24 mm 4.0 | 1/20 | ISO 3200 /
If you do try a flash, make sure not to get too close to your subject. I actually had a diffuser on mine but it still looks washed out and a bit harsh even on a soft furry cat.
Better to shoot by the window and get some richness in her coat.
Nothing beats a setting sun. Try the a Golden Hour App for your smart phone that tells you exactly when the optimal time is based on your location for that ‘golden’ light.
Have a photo with great use of light? We’d love to see it in our Flickr Pool. Your photo might just even be featured here on OC Family.
See you next week when we look at 2. on our list color.
by Hector Godinez
08/03/2011 6:00 am
I bet that sounds strange to you The Bokeh and the Blur. You may not know what bokeh is but I already know chances are you love it. Inevitably when I am showing a client photos I hear the same thing, ooooh I love that part, pointing to the background. Sometimes they look at a photo, love it but they don’t know why but I do, the secret is in the blur or bokeh.
Bokeh from the Japanese word boke meaning blur or haze is the area in the photograph that is not in focus but enough definition you can make out shapes or silhouettes. There are many different ways to create bokeh and some people categorize bokeh by the type of blur, how much or the effect the bokeh has brought to the image. I use bokeh often to help focus on the subject. You can tell stories with people as your bokeh.
Make still life pop!
Bokeh helps give you depth of field.
Sometimes the bokeh is in the foreground.
Bokeh can help frame the focal point or at a touch of color.
and sometimes bokeh is just dreamy
Advanced Users: If you are shooting with a camera lens that allows you to adjust the aperture, open the lens up, meaning set the dial to the lowest number possible to achieve the highest amount of bokeh. Remember when you are using your lens at the widest point (that”s correct the smaller the aperture the larger the opening) you decrease the focal length and you lose a bit of sharpness. The “sweet spot” on a lens is usually a few stops up from it’s lowest (or widest aperture). For example on my macro 50mm 2.5 I usually don’t go lower than 3.0 to maximize sharpness.
There are lenses that create extreme bokeh like the lensbaby composer. This is a great way to capture the feeling of movement.
Don’t forget during the holidays to try with lights in the background – they make THE BEST BOKEH!
Come share your bokeh photos with us in our Group Pool Modclicks on Flickr we would love to see them and possibly feature it here on Modclicks. For more inspiration there are many bokeh groups on flickr, one of my personal favorites is bokeh people.
07/07/2011 1:30 pm
If you know me you probably could have guessed this post was coming. You don’t have to go very far into my instagram photo feed to find my furry four legged muse, Weebee. In fact she’s sitting on my keyboard as we speak making this post a little hard to finish.
Weebee has been photographed countless times, and she is not, I repeat, not an easy subject which makes her a challenge. She has a camera awareness that makes her shy away when I point this big black thing her way and apparently a camera is a camera because she doesn’t cooperate with phone in her face either.
An avid animal lover I spent my college years working as a Vet Tech at a local animal hospital. I have handled my share of animals from coiled snakes the size of giant tires to snapping toucans. Photographing them is sometimes harder than handling them actually. Recently I was approached by Momfluential founder, Ciarin to see if I would accompany her and Marly (photographed above) to a local shelter. Marly created a group on Flickr Pix4Pets where people can visit to view the beautiful pets currently up for adoption in Orange County. Here are some of the tips I shared with Marly that day.
1. Spend time getting to know them if they are not your pet.
I know this sounds remedial but remember they are like kids, some are social and some are shy. If you really want to capture an animal you meet make friends with it first, you are more likely to buy yourself more time with the animal and more time leads me to my next tip, overshoot.
Meet Marlin, a neighbor cat of my sister. He happens to be very comfortable with strangers so I seized the photo op.
I met this Boston Terrier at the Great Park, the owner was happy to let me snap some photos, its always a good idea (good manners too) to ask first.
The cat on the left was very social unlike his roommate to the right who was very camera shy. They both reside at the Irvine Animal Care Center if you are interested!
We are free of development costs (most of use who shoot digitally) so the sky is the limit aim to shoot at least 25 of just one pose. You think that’s overkill but you won’t when you go back and review the images to find that only one gave you that ‘money’ shot, perfect lighting, expression, or capturing great catch lights in your pets eyes … do yourself a favor save the one and delete the rest (trust me you don’t want the computer clutter).
3. Get down on their level.
Much like children we must seem like gigantic looming monsters with big black boxes in our hands. Get on all four, lay down do what ever you need to make yourself as non-threatening as possible. You will be more likely to catch a more relaxed stance or even a yawn or a stretch. A lot of time I lay my camera on the floor and shoot.
4. Get closer. Go macro.
Getting in close with your lens or cropping the photo after usually works really well when you want to highlight a certain feature. Maybe its the dark soft pads of their feet or the ticking pattern of their fur. Close is always visually appealing, makes for a unique and interesting portrait.
5. Turn off your flash.
If you have flashed your cat you know the result, a funny and sometimes demonic-eye look. That glow is caused by a light reflecting layer just behind the cats retina that helps absorb extra light and aid in their ability to see at night. This is all well and good for the cat but bad for photos, so turn your flash off add as much natural light as possible or take them outside. I find that putting them by a bright window makes for beautiful catch lights (the little white circles) in their eyes.
photo: Marly Blumenfeld
In the dark cage coaxing them to come towards the light helps get the exposure right.
6. Catch them in motion.
You can roll around and run with the animal WHILE YOU ARE SHOOTING? Why not. Panning, taking photographs while you and your subject in motion can capture the subject in focus while the background is blurred. There is a great example on Flickr here.
7. Shoot at different times of the day.
If you have active puppies or kittens, play with them and then feed them as they quiet down for rest you’ll have plenty of time to capture their youthfulness. Afternoon is always a great time outside, the golden hour (the hour before sunset) is my favorite time, everything just looks better what can I say. Even though my cat is a warm color, the setting sun brings out the texture in her fur and the color of her eyes. Watch your background too. Its no accident I had her hop up on this orange lounger.
taken with my iPhone |Camera+, ShakeIt and qbro are a few of my favorite apps.
8. Use toys to engage them. Laser pointers are even better.
I remember having my Persian cat photographed by a well know cat photographer Chanan, he had a trademark look to his portraits. He was able to get my cat to strike the perfect “show cat” pose by slapping a feathered toy on the ground and whipping it straight above there head. It works on my Abyssinian too. My cat also responds well (that’s putting it mildly) to laser pointers, if I want her to look up, I can have someone point with the laser just above and behind me and she’ll lock it in hard and give me enough time to fire off a few shots. Every pet is different, my cat, especially her breed are very curious and respond quickly to anything darting around. Experiment with a variety of toys, the goal is to to stimulate not frighten.
Snapping my fingers with my free hand helped replicate the same pose as the her RRossman portrait.
I read a tip once about how a dog owner would save the squeakies out of ripped toys and stash them in his camera bag. When the dogs would lose interest he’s give it a few squeezes which was good for about 3 more minutes of shooting.
9. Use continuous shoot (or burst) mode
I shot the series below using Camera+ App Burst mode on my iPhone, I was able to create the triptych (using Diptic app).
Have any tips to share? We would love to hear them as well as see YOUR pet photos. You can post them in out Flickr Group (Flickr is free to join) or email them to Lindsey (at) themodchik.com Your photo may be featured here on OC FAMILY Modclicks.
photo by: Marly Blumenfeld
photo by: Marly Blumenfeld
photo by: Marly Blumenfeld
06/22/2011 5:50 pm
I am a long time fan of bands and their albums and consequently the concerts that lure me like a moth to a flame. Back in the day it was almost impossible to sneak a camera in largely due to the fact that compact still meant you needed a purse to carry it in. Nowadays I am amazed how lax security is as well as the artists themselves (Prince included) are about being photographed on stage. Sneaking in a pic used to be a covert operation that required the use of a spotter but nowadays everyone has a cell phone in pocket and no one really seems to care. Instead of lighters we hold up cell phones with the flashlight on.
Concerts are usually in a venue that has low lights or in a huge baseball field with all sorts of strobe and spot lights. Not easy to photograph. Over the years my concert shots have improved dramatically, with anti-shake apps and filters galore I am able to get some pretty spectacular shots even from the cheap seats.
moths to a flame – U2 360 Tour
Shot last weekend with my iPhone from right field seats using only Camera+ app, edited with Camera+ (clarity), Black and White Conversion with Qbro App. Sharpening applied with PS+ app. You don’t have to be front row to get great shots.
U2 stage – ‘The Claw’
If you are using an iPhone you can download Camera+ they have an anti-shake feature you can apply and then take photos. They also have burst mode which lets fire off pics in rapid fire succession but note the photos tend to come out blurry in low light situations. There is also an editing option called concert that you can apply to your photo, this will increase the contrast, brighten the colors and soften the photo (reduces what we call noise).
Camera + App
Photos of Prince taken with my iPhone and edited with qbro and Camera +.
iPhone – the Steelwells (House of Blues) June 2011
Remember if you are up close TURN YOUR FLASH OFF, that’s a sure way to get your camera confiscated. If the lights are pulsing on and off try to sync your pressing the shutter release as the lights strobe on to use their lighting. Take lots of photos, make the odds work for you. one out of 20 is a win in my book. You aren’t going for crystal clear either, now is not the time to go for Pulitzer winning image, capture the excitement of the band and the concert experience itself.
Foo Fighters – the Joint (2008) taken with Fuji Point-n-Shoot
As you can see Dave likes to “talk” …. a lot.
If someone is standing in front of you just add a little vignette
(for more information click on my post about picnik.com)
Duran Duran – the Joint
You can add all sorts of effect to make up for the lack of clarity or exposure. So remember travel light, a phone or pocket point-n-shoot is all you really need, shoot quickly, remember turn off your flash and remember to ROCK ON.
Come upload your concert shots to our FLICKR GROUP and check back to see if we feature yours!
I love this one from Terry of Jason Mraz.
06/08/2011 6:36 pm
One thing people want to know is what program I use to edit my photographs. I can’t say that I use one program because I use several including Picnik, Lightroom and Photoshop. But when my shooting volume increased and the resolution of my photos became higher, I decided to primarily use Lightroom because of its ability to manage file organization and storage. Faced with many choices and varying levels of difficulty I know deciding on which software editing program is best can be hard. If you are ready to make that jump from the freebies like Picnik, Picasa or iPhoto, I personally think Adobe programs are a smart investment. One thing I like about Adobe is that future software updates are included, this doesn’t mean that newer versions are included but you do get a significant discount to upgrade for Lightroom it was $99 when they went from 2 to version 3 in the beginning of this year.
Your initial investment for the current version Lightroom 3 is going to be 299.00 unless you qualify for the student or educator discount. Here is my tip for you, if you have a child who is currently enrolled as a student (primary through college) you may purchase one software program (up to 80% off) every 12 months. I did this to purchase the latest version of Photoshop CS5 and saved about $300. The discount only applies to full version software not upgrades. The education version of Lightroom 3 is only 99.00.
One thing you will want to make sure you have is enough memory to run the program on your computer. I had to add add some more RAM because the program was painfully slow when I first installed it. The minimum requirements are 2 GB and 1 GB of disk space on the hard drive.
click photo to enlarge
One thing that Lightroom does fantastically well is keep you organized. I definitely recommend reading the DAM Book (Digital Asset Management) book if you are serious maximizing all the organizational tool Lightroom has to offer. I went through the book cover to cover in a week and attending a workshop lecture by the author Dan Krogh earlier this year. He also has a blog you can follow The DAM Show for more Lightroom tips. One thing he highly recommended is buying the LightRoom Lady’s Lightroom 3 The missing FAQ, even he admitted to consulting it daily. She also has a list of keyboard shortcuts for all versions of Lightroom on her site, I printed out a copy that I keep at my desk. You can download the e-book version (PDF) for around $25. I really recommend it.
So now that you have Lightroom what will you use the most? If you are a professional photographer then I know you are going to add your metadata, copyright, keywords and possibly some adjustments, all during the import stage of your workflow but for the weekend photographer I suspect all you want do is upload and edit and be done. There are a few shortcuts in the editing process one of them is called presets. What is a preset? Well a preset is a set of commands or actions that modify your photo. They come all nicely packages as a downloadable file that you can import into Lightroom and save. Once saved you can go into Lightroom – in the DEVELOPING window and to your left you will see a list of presets. Lightroom comes with presets already, but if you are like me and you love a good shortcut then you will want to know where to find more! Here are a few of my favorite hunting grounds for good (and sometimes FREE) Lightroom Presets.
Matt Kloskowski’s – Killer Lightroom Tips (its now Adobe Lightroom Killertips) FREE
Totally Rad (paid) although there are some freebies
Kubota Image Tools (paid) Highly Recommend (has e-classes too on Lightroom)
The Coffee Shop Blog Free & Paid
Presets Heaven – Free but you need do a little searching within this collaborative collection of presets from users
Lightroomers (Tutorials, tips and training)
Lightroom Queen (home of the Missing Lightroom 3 FAQ book)
10 Quick and Easy Shortcuts for Lightroom – great tips including one of my favs Lights Out!
Jeffrey Friedl (when you are ready to try plugins – my favorite is the export to Flickr plugin)
Knobroom (download a free plug (The Fader) **Mac only** that lets you slide/adjust the amount of a preset)
If you want to read up on Lightroom I recommend 2 books, The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book. or
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers. Two great books, pick up a used copy for under $25 bucks on Amazon.
Lightroom is a very intuitive program and don’t let the official name of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom confuse you it is NO WHERE as complicated as Photoshop. Spend some time on some of the websites I listed, many of them offer tutorials. there is also a Lightroom Channel on YouTube as well as a Lightroom facebook page you can like to follow for updates.
For more information you can also read my post For the love of Lightroom Presets on my personal blog.
It’s Q&A time this week on Modclick. Instead of posting photos post your questions in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer. Anything is game so go ahead ASK ME!
06/01/2011 5:28 pm
When it comes to capturing children I have a couple simple rules; don’t ask them to smile, work quickly and give them something to do. If you ask a child to look at the camera they do one of two things, they either stiffen up and grin as hard, scrunching up those wonderful features or they run in the opposite direction, leaving your Kodak moment vanished. This is what happens (below) when I asked (pleaded) with my daughter if she could open her eyes just a little bit more. Sigh.
When your child is doing something they are engaged in quietly grab your camera (you can turn off the bells and whistles for super stealth bonus points) start snapping from a distance and move in closer if your subject doesn’t mind.
You can shoot from all different angles to capture and highlight what your favorite attributes. Maybe you love the way your child holds their pencil or the way they purse their mouth when they are concentrating deeply. Instead of focusing on trying to get the biggest Cheshire grin try to photograph details that show another side of your child. And if you can catch them at a moment of quiet contemplation go ahead and shoot because sometimes not smiling can be beautiful.
Another trick, ask them if they can see themselves in the reflection of the lens.
Please share your images in our Flickr Group we would love to see your portrait captures.
05/27/2011 8:48 am
On Modclicks this week I am sharing my experience photographing the tiny miracles at CHOC (Childrens Hospital of Orange County), I was part of a collaborative team of 12 from OC Family who got a glimpse of what life is like in a children’s hospital.
Every now and then an opportunity will present itself and I will have to make a decision, do I fit one more thing into my already over-scheduled life or do I pass. I usually go with my gut reaction, is this something that excites me or was that my stomach I just felt clenching. I knew the proposition to visit CHOC was a unique one. How many times are you going to get the opportunity to see the inner sanctum of a children’s hospital with a camera in hand. Not many. I try to live my life from a place of YES and I try to accommodate as many requests as I can. I wish I could be in ten places at once so its times like these where I rely HEAVILY on intuition. From the moment I signed on to be part of this collaborative project I had no clue which direction to take. It wouldn’t be until the very last frame, image 358 that I would realize exactly why I was meant to be there.
These rare glimpses into something that is bigger than you or I, reaffirm what I already knew inside and that is that everyone has a story to tell. It’s during these moments when I am photographing a child whose future is uncertain that I know with every fiber of my being I am doing exactly what I am supposed to do, standing where I need to be, looking through a lens, capturing a moment.
I knew going in I would have a problem with this. Originally I was scheduled to shadow someone in the ER, but due some last-minute changes I was reassigned with Noel Besuzzi (one of my favorite local photographers) to the NICU. I could not tweet or update my facebook status about my whereabouts without getting weepy. As a mother of two I know what it is like to hear the cry of a newborn. There is something in our DNA as mothers that makes our ears hone in on the source of that cry, compelling us into action. I knew that seeing babies in distress would be worse but that is not what I saw at all, in fact all the babies I saw were swaddled and surrounded by a staff that I can best describe as stand in parents. They hovered, they adjusted, they stroked and they shushed. You could clearly see the love and devotion they have for each and every baby in their care.
When I was invited to bring my camera inside the NICU I knew from a photographers perspective the shoot would be technically challenging. The NICU has very low lights and obviously using a flash is strictly not allowed. I brought the fastest lens I could and set my ISO to 6400 (which photographers know is an extreme setting). I let go of the idea of getting a perfectly crisp shot and went for emotion and perspective and I got exactly just that.
I walked rounds with Dr. Dhar and CHOC representative, Denise Almazan, CHOC PR. Dr. Dhar is the Medical Director of the CHOC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. To say I was in completely over my head (medically speaking) would be an understatement. I equate it to the feeling of a being a first year medical resident where all you can really do is observe and try to absorb every term and technique that comes flying at you. When Dr. Dhar asked if I knew what extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation was, I couldn’t even remotely pretend I had the slightest clue and like a true teacher he explained exactly what it did (oxygenates the baby’s blood until their lung function has sufficiently recovered to maintain appropriate oxygen saturation source) and why it was so important that CHOC remains one of the 72 hospitals in the country to have a ECMO machine. Tell me more I thought.
We continued on to each patient. I watched him examine each tiny baby while simultaneously questioning residents. He would present symptoms and my eyes would dart over to the attending resident who without as much as a slightest hesitation would throw back a list of probable causes, this was hands on learning at its finest and on limited sleep. Residents amaze me.
We moved through double doors that lead us to an area where the babies who have received treatment are recovering and stay until they are ready for discharge. These baby are noticeably larger (and louder) and with fewer constraints like tubes and wires. We watched as a baby was prepped for abdominal scope procedure that took place as we were there.
The noise level only allowed to rise to a muffled hush is constantly monitored by a lit sign in the shape of an ear above the row of bassinets. It’s very easy to forget to use your “library” voice when you are in the presence of doctors, nurses and staff buzzing around you. I tried my best to be a wallflower until I met the most wonderful couple and their son. They have taken up residence in the NICU for the past several months hoping to get the chance to take their first child home to his own crib that has been waiting for him since January. They welcomed me within their inner circle and allowed me to photograph them and sweet Brandon.
Brandon has Down’s Syndrome and was born with a life threatening condition, his esophagus was not attached to his stomach. The parents know no other life with a newborn then spending their days at the NICU and nights across the street at the Ronald McDonald house.
When I asked the parents how long they expected to be there, I immediately wanted to recant that question. What was I thinking. I don’t think anyone asks that question. I quickly learned you take each day as it comes and deal with what you have to on an as needed basis. When it is time to make decisions on the care and treatment of the child I sensed a very integrated approach with complete parental involvement. What a collaboration in care for these little miracles, every baby should be so lucky to be cared for the way they do at CHOC.
I stood there and looked around me sleeping babies everywhere, they looked so small and so peaceful I snapped a few more shots of these cozy little bundles and resisted my strong urge to cuddle them. I put my lens cap on and entered yet another labyrinth of hospital hallways and secured doors I was excited because I was about to get a peek at CHOC’s Small Baby Unit. I swallowed hard, I absolutely wanted to go but I wasn’t sure what I was about to see. Clutching my camera like a security blanket we tip toed in. Voices were lower, lights were dimmer. It was very quiet. Occasionally the sound of a muffled alarm would sound, heads would pop out of doorways to see who’s light was flashing. The Small Baby Unit was created a little over a year ago in hopes of providing those babies who arrive before 28 weeks and weigh less than 1000 grams. The idea was to provide an environment as hospitable or as close to as humanly possible to the feeling of being back in womb, after all most the babies in this unit should have been developing in utero for 3 more months.
We met with the head of the Small Baby Unit Dr. Hillyard, he sat down and talked to us about their approach to work closely with each baby and their parents and how crucial it was to the babies rate of improvement.
Each baby lives in what looks like a pod that lies within a cubical space. Each space is decorated with personalized name tags, signs and toys. Most of the babies were sleeping, as you can imagine. Some where close to or approaching what they call their zero birthday, the day they would have been full term. That is a big milestone. Most of the time that leads up to that is spent getting them to feed on their own. Even though they may seem like full term babies, albeit small they have not developed the ability to feed themselves and many of them will be released when they are able to remove the feeding tube and they learn to suckle.
The nurses were so friendly and willing to share a little about each to me. Some babies were there as a result of the mother becoming ill to the point of it being life threatening to either mom or baby others born with congenital defects that required an early entrance into this world followed up with future surgeries with robotic precision due to their size. The CHOC robotic surgery program is the second largest in the United States in freestanding hospitals. Amazing how much greater a chance these preemie babies have then they did a decade ago. Even with all the technology available to us there are still those babies who are born too soon and can not thrive. It breaks your heart to hear there is a baby in the unit in that very situation. What happened during the next hour will always stay with me.
Even though I was allowed to bring my camera into the hospital, strict patient confidentiality rules understandably prevent me from publishing what I captured that day. My intention was to take photos of the experience and share individual images with the parents so they had these moments documented. Some families we met were willing to share their experience and they have been included above. Others I have not met but I hope the images they will receive help them in some little way. Through my visit to CHOC I have found a way to give back. Spending an hour with a couple and their precious baby on life support was something I will never forget. To be in the presence of this child and the parents who showed grace and strength beyond their young years reaffirmed that I was supposed to be there that day. Everything led up to that one perfect frame, my very last image shot, #358 a tiny hand wrapped around the tip of the fathers index finger.
I would like to thank Dr. Dhar, Dr. Hillyard, the friendly NICU nurse staff, Denise Almazan, Suz Broughton and the parents for allowing me the opportunity to be in the presence of true miracles.
05/11/2011 11:59 am
One way to add effect to your photo is to selectively crop out a significant part of your photo. Similar to last weeks article were we talked about achieving the rule of thirds through cropping, this time we are going to crop out a large portion of your photo to enhance the focus.
This is a large overhead awning that covered a long corridor. I wanted the focus to be on the strong geometric shapes as well as the contrast with the sky. Instead of shooting from a a wide angle and capturing the entire awning which would result in a snooze of a photo, I moved to the end of the awning, zoomed in and captured the strong edge against the sky. These were shot and edited on an iPhone.
Selective cropping can also help you tell a story.
Here are a few photos I shot to share a glimpse into life with my cat. Her breed in particular (Abyssinian) are most happy when they climb, the higher the better. We feed ours on top of the refrigerator, so a good part of the day I stare at her little fuzzy feet. I love her little lioness like paws. To capture this I only wanted to show her feet so instead of cropping down a full body shot I physically got very close and cropped with the lens.
This shot captures her feet and more of the refrigerator telling a more complete story and adhering a little more closely to the rule of thirds.
Try highlighting something about your subject by selectively cropping when you shoot. I think my cats eyes are a thing of beauty.
Cropping can bring attention to specific detail about your photo.
To see more examples visit out Flickr Group http://www.flickr.com/groups/ocfamphotospeak/ feel free to join and add photos of your own, who knows they may just be featured here on Modclicks.!