Category Archives: Kids

Kate Rose is doing fine!

From time to time I get asked for a follow up on the story of Katie Rose from people—both strangers and those I know—who remember how she was born. Katie Rose is doing just fine, which counts as a major miracle in my book, considering that she was born at one pound with complete cardiac and lung failure. She’s shown here via a recent iPhone capture in the playground.

Katie Rose in the playground via iPhone © Harold Davis

Katie Rose in the playground via iPhone © Harold Davis

For me, whenever things seem hard in the world or I am unhappy, I remember that miracles do indeed happen in real life—and Katie Rose is here to prove it!

Related: The Story of Katie Rose book; Katie Rose category on my blog.

Happy Fisheye Family

Every once in a while a photographic gadget comes along that is simply so silly, and such a kluge, that I have to try it! After all, photography is about having fun, and not just about making “serious” images. In that spirit, I ordered a set of auxillary lens for the camera in my iPhone from the always-fun Photojojo.

Mathew with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Mathew with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

The set of lens arrived via UPS in an envelope with a plastic dinosaur. I’m not sure what message the dinosaur was intended to send, but it was kind of fun—part of the point of the affair. The set comes with a telephoto lens, a wide-angle lens that unscrews to reveal also an extreme macro lens, and a fisheye lens. Note that the zoom facility within the iPhone itself is purely digital, and doesn’t provide any optical differentiation; hence, the desirability of a set of auxiliary lenses that do work optically.

Katie Rose with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Katie Rose with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

The way this accessory lens set attaches to the iPhone is that you stick a magnetic disk that has glue on one side onto your iPhone around the camera optics. If the idea of gluing something to your iPhone gives you the creeps, then this isn’t for you!

Phyllis with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Phyllis with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Each lens is magnetized and snaps onto the magnetic side of the disk. This works reasonably well. So far, I’ve had most fun with the fisheye lens, shown in these images. The kids wanted their iPhone fisheye picture taken while they mugged for the camera, and I used a tripod to make a self-portrait.

Who knew that the audio cable of an iPhone can also double as a cable release? Maybe you do, but I didn’t. To make this trick work, with the camera app active and the ear buds plugged in, press the “up” volume button on the ear buds wire (indicated by the + symbol).

Well, if this all sounds pretty jerry-rigged, it is truly not the sturdiest setup in town. But it is fun while it lasts, and look at it this way: they laughed when Leica first introduced the 35mm camera, and also called it a “toy.” In photography, toys have a way of sometimes outlasting “serious” gear.

Self Portrait with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Self Portrait with iPhone Fisheye © Harold Davis

Wonder whether I’ll be using these photos as blackmail when my kids are older? Me too. Here are some other fisheye shots of Katie Rose and the family from a few years back, shot with a conventional camera and the Nikon 10.5mm digital fisheye.

Katie Rose does Cuong Nhu

Here’s Katie Rose in her Tiger Team outfit, ready to take on the world!

Kate Rose does Cuong Nhu

Katie Rose is Five

Yesterday we celebrated Katie’s fifth birthday with parties at Step One (her preschool) and at home. Katie Rose is a charming, wonderful little girl—and living proof that there are miracles.

Katie Rose is 5 © Harold Davis

Katie Rose is 5 © Harold Davis

How time flies! Five years ago we were caught in that country where the boundaries of life and death come close. How reassuring it would have been to look forward those years to see her now.

Click here to read more about The Story of Katie Rose.

Katie Rose in Tiger Paint

Up at Step One, Amber face-painted all the pre-schoolers. Our Katie Rose became a tiger—not inappropriate for someone born with her fierce life force and will to survive. She’s also very sweet, at least when she gets her way!

Katie Rose in Tiger Paint by Harold Davis

Katie Rose in Tiger Paint © Harold Davis

I’ll miss Katie and her brothers very much while I am away—but I’m glad to know they’ll be doing well, and that I’ll be coming home to Phyllis and the kids.

Photographing your kids

Pity the poor children of the shoemaker—who go around perpetually down at their heels. Although photographic projects, clients, flowers and more beckon, such is not the case for my kids when it comes to imagery. Like every proud Papa I love to photograph my four kids, and I get the opportunity to indulge in photography of my kids in their casual moments. Oddly, my first job as a professional photographer was making formal portraits of kids, with backdrops and lighting—and I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I do photographing kids spontaneously and casually.

For example, here’s a casual “grab shot” of my wonderful eight-year-old Mathew enjoying his bubble bath.

Mathew in the bath by Harold Davis

Mathew in the bath © Harold Davis

If you want to take casual shots of your kids—or anyone else’s kids—the key is to keep things spontaneous and fun. If you interrupt the flow of what the child is doing to bring out photographic equipment, or make them pose, the moment is lost. What better way to be spontaneous than to involve your kids in the process of photography by showing them on the LCD how cool they are, or, if they are making funny faces, the humor in the photos?

Katie Rose by Harold Davis

Katie Rose (iPhone photo) © Harold Davis

Spontaneity means acting on the spur-of-the-moment. My iPhone is the camera I always have with me, and perfect for these impromptu times, when dragging out the DSLR would ruin the flow of play. Remember that the goal of this kind of photography is not to achieve technical perfection. It is to capture a snapshot of your kid in the moment. Mobile phone cameras these days are certainly good enough for most kinds of casual photography, as you can see in the shot of Katie Rose above.

You’ll find more about photographing kids (and grown people too) in my book Creative Portraits: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques.

Encapsulation

When you have four kids like I do, shopping for food occurs frequently. The one thing you want to do when you take the kids into the supermarket is to encapsulate them to prevent general madness, mayhem, and terrorizing of the civilian population.

Kids in a Shopping Cart by Harold Davis

Kids in a Shopping Cart © Harold Davis

What better way to encapsulate them than in a honey trap, like this shopping cart? Katie Rose and Mathew are shown in the “cab” and Nicky is riding on top.

It’s times like these that I am grateful for my iPhone camera because it is the camera I always have with me!

Nicky in a fedora

We recently celebrated Nicky’s eleventh birthday. The fedora hat shown in this photo was one of the birthday presents he had requested. I don’t know where he gets his sense of sartorial style—it is probably not from either of his parents.

Nicky in a fedora by Harold Davis

Nicky in a fedora © Harold Davis

For more images of Nicky, see Nicky and Friend and Nicky is Nine (I seem to have missed number ten!).

Teaching Katie Rose to play chess

I am teaching Katie Rose to play chess. She gets the basic moves and is learning some openings—although she sometimes wants to jump all the pieces over each other the way the “horsies” do.

Katie Rose chess player

Katie Rose chess player

Phyllis snapped this iPhone photo of the two of us playing. It is amazing for a four-year-old how much she concentrates! A bit over four years ago, the day my daughter was born, this would have seemed such a miracle.

Julian Graduates from Middle School

My oldest son Julian graduated today from Middle School at Star Academy. We are very proud of him—and very appreciative of the work the school has done with him to make this possible.

Julian Graduates from Middle School

I shot this image at the graduation ceremony with my iPhone camera—like everyone else. As time goes by, mobile phone cameras have become the camera one always has with one, and “good enough”—the 110 Instamatics of our time!

iPhoneography

The best camera to use is the one you have with you, and the camera I have with me all the time is my iPhone. So most of the photos I take of my kids when they are out and about is with my iPhone camera—including this shot of Mathew with his new dragon tattoo, courtesy of end-of-school-year festivities.

Mathew with a dragon tattoo by Harold Davis

Mathew with a Dragon Tattoo © Harold Davis

The other thing about iPhoneography of course is that it is instant. I shot this photo of Mathew in the school gym, showed it to him, then quickly processed it in the Plastic Bullet app on my phone. People tend to a certain raised-eyebrow attitude when a “serious” photo is “Photoshopped.” Why is manipulative post-processing of iPhone photos via apps like Plastic Bullet (or Instagram, or whatever) socially so acceptable? Whatever the reason for this disconnect, it is certainly fun to play with all the apps!

Pout

Katie Rose has learned that the pout can be mightier than Mom and Dad, mightier than the sword, and mightier than this blogger. She is persistent and remorseless in getting her way—if not quite as devious as she thinks she is.

Pout by Harold Davis

Pout (Katie Rose) © Harold Davis

We love our Katie Rose dearly, and are glad she is here to beg, wheedle, insist and pout. She also gives good hugs!

Katie Rose is four!

Recently we celebrated Katie Rose’s fourth birthday. As you can see, the birthday girl had a good time.

Katie Rose's fourth birthday © Harold Davis

To see her today gives us a big smile, and it always moves us to remember how unlikely her chances seemed four years ago, and how small she was then (she weighed a good bit less than two pounds).

Some background regarding Katie Rose:

It’s hard to have her living so joyously and happily without believing that miracles do happen. Her whole life is a miracle, and a blessing to us.

Let her eat cake

Let her eat cake © Harold Davis

Advance Copy: Creating HDR Photos

Yesterday we received an advance copy of my new book Creating HDR Photos: The Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Photography published by Amphoto. In keeping with family traditions, this morning I photographed Katie Rose perusing the book. Katie Rose is sitting on our front steps; big brother Julian is helping her hold up the book.

Creating HDR Photos: The Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Photography

Advance copy: Creating HDR Photos © Harold Davis

Creating HDR Photos definitely has a different look-and-feel from my previous books. I like the way my photos came out. My book is packed with information you can’t find anywhere else. How I would have loved to get my hands on this book a few years back when I was just starting to figure out HDR!

Presumably the bulk of the copies of Creating HDR Photos: The Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Photography are in containers on the proverbial slow boat from China. My book has a publication date of July 24, 2012. I am looking forward very much to sharing my techniques and insights related to this exciting photographic subject with you when it is available.

Photographing Flowers: Advance copy arrives

Photographing Flowers Advance Copy

In keeping with family tradition, Katie Rose is shown here with an advance copy of Photographing Flowers: Exploring Macro Worlds with Harold Davis from Focal Press. The bulk of the books are on the proverbial “slow boat from China,” but should be in stock at Amazon and other bookstores well before the official publication date of October 15 (you can pre-order the book from Amazon now).

We are very excited about Photographing Flowers. Paging through this book I can only say “Wow!” because it looks so spectacular. I am very happy with the design and production, and think it is one of the best looking of any of our books so far. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Here’s more about my new book: I love to photograph flowers, and it is very special for me to have a book devoted just to my flower photography. I think you’ll enjoy my photos in this book. If you are interested in photographing flowers yourself, you’ll also find ideas, techniques, and inspiration!


Photographing Flowers: Exploring Macro Worlds with Harold Davis

Here’s the description of Photographing Flowers: Exploring Macro Worlds with Harold Davis:

Capture stunning macro floral images with this gorgeous guide by acclaimed photographer Harold Davis. You’ll learn about different types of flowers, macro equipment basics, and the intricacies of shooting different floral varieties in the field and in the studio.

Harold also shows you techniques in the Photoshop darkroom that can be applied to flower photography to help you get the most out of your images.

Beautiful and authoritative, this guide to photographing flowers is a must read for every photographer interested in flower photography. Photographing Flowers will also win a place in the hearts of those who simply love striking floral imagery.

With Photographing Flowers: Exploring Macro Worlds with Harold Davis, you’ll get:

  • An authoritative guide to capturing breathtaking flower images
  • Tips and techniques from master photographer Harold Davis
  • Stunning photographs to inspire your creativity and give you ideas for your own flower photos

By the way, I am away the coming week leading a photography workshop east of the Sierras. I’m sure I’ll be posting photos from it, along with night photography adventure stories, when I get back!