Category Archives: Kids


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!

Also posted in iPhone, Photography


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!

Also posted in Katie Rose

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

Also posted in Katie Rose

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.

Also posted in HDR, Katie Rose, Photography, Writing

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!

Also posted in Katie Rose, Photography, Writing

Katie Rose in the Garden

Katie Rose in the Garden

Katie Rose in the Garden, photo by Harold Davis.

I shot this photo of Katie Rose in the garden the other day with my new 35mm f/1.8 Nikkor lens. This is essentially a very high-quality prosumer lens, and surprisingly inexpensive (about $200 street price) considering its quality.

On a 1.5 sensor, such as the D300 I am using, this prime lens has an effective aperture of 52mm, roughly what we used to think of as a “normal” lens. The prime designation means that the lens does not vary in focal length (compared and contrasted to zoom lenses, which feature variable focal lengths). It does not mean that this lens is a cut of meat, or a number only divisable by itself or one.

To make this casual portrait of my daughter, I got low to the ground. I set the camera to aperture-preferred metering, with the aperture wide-open at f/1.8. I knew the wide-open aperture would let plenty of light in for a fast exposure, which would “stop” the motion of Katie’s jaunt in the garden. The flat depth-of-field would also contrast the in-focus child with the our-of-focus garden.

Then I focused on Katie’s eyes, and waited for precisely the right instant to release the shutter.

Exif data: 35mm, 1/1600 of a second at f/1.8 and ISO 200, hand held.

Also posted in Katie Rose, Photography

Happy Birthday Mathew

Blowing Out the Candles

Blowing Out the Candles, photo by Harold Davis.

Recently we celebrated Mathew’s seventh birthday. He is shown in this photo blowing out the candles on his birthday cake.

Mathew and this blog are close to the same age. You can watch him grow “virtually” through my back pages:

Newborn Mathew
Mathew in the Kitchen Sink
Mathew is One!
Kids! Kar! Krazy!
Mathew Playing
Mathew on His Third Birthday
Boy in a Box
Portrait of Mathew
Our Boys
Mathew’s Fourth Birthday
Annals of Parenting
Flying Dragon
Mathew and the iPad App
Blanket DNA

And, most recently, Mathew

Just in case you haven’t seen enough of my kids and want to give the others some equal time, here’s a link to the Kids category on my blog.

Also posted in Photography

Through a Glass Lightly

I took Katie Rose for lunch yesterday to Ikea. We both had Swedish meatballs and french fries. Then we started fooling around with my iPhone camera. Altogether Katie and I had lots of fun!

Through a Glass Lightly

There are some advantages to a really small lens: it is easy to stick inside a glass. With one of my hands holding up the glass and the other holding the iPhone it helped to remember that the iPhone camera app takes the photo when you release the button, not when you first tap it.

Also posted in Bemusements, iPhone, Katie Rose

Skinny on Fatherhood

Katie Rose

When Katie Rose was born she weighed less than two pounds. She’s still small for her age, and likes to fit in small spaces like the bathroom towel storage shown in the photo. Proving that size isn’t everything.

The biology of fatherhood isn’t everything, either. I occassionally joke around with Phyllis about our kids—“What did I have to do with them?” Being a DNA provider is often a brief matter and hopefully enjoyable. I keep in mind the Shakespearean conceit that if the parents had a good time conceiving, the child is likely to be of happier disposition. In King Lear the villainous Edmund therefore describes the “lusty stealth of nature” as providing more “composition and fierce quality” than a “dull, tired, stale bed.”

My point is that Phyllis did the tough work of pregnancy, and does a great deal of the grunt-and-scut work of day-to-day parenting around the house.

Fatherhood is more volitional. There are men who are great father figures to kids with whom they have no biological connection and—the opposite side of the coin—biological fathers who completely abandon their kids.

True fatherhood is a state of mind. Personally, I love being a father. It is the toughest job in the world—or second toughest after being a mother—and also the most rewarding!

Also posted in Katie Rose


Mathew is my almost-seven-year-old son. Sometimes he is a ball of energy and sometimes he is abrasive. Often he is full of love and affection and wonder at the world around him. I love Mathew very much.

It is a joy to me to have three boys (and Katie Rose). But sometimes I look around and say, “Who are these kids, and why are they calling me ‘Dad’?”

Each child is different, and each is wonderful in his or her own way.


When I made this photo, we were visiting a house with frosted glass on either side of the front door. I asked Mathew to pose for me looking through the glass. I knew I wouldn’t have much time with this mercurial child. I bumped my ISO slightly (to 250), set the camera to programmed automatic, and set the exposure adjustment to minus one f-stop to compensate partially for blow-out from hot spots where the sun was hitting the glass.

I was able to make four exposures before Mathew got bored, and only this one came out. There’s minimal post-processing involved, primarily spotting in Photoshop for dirt on the frosted glass.

Exif data: 200mm, 1/50 of a second at f/5.6 and ISO 250, hand held.

Also posted in Photography

Creative Landscapes

Creative Landscapes

Creative Landscapes, photo by Harold Davis.

In a family tradition, Katie Rose checks out my new book Creative Landscapes: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques.

Also posted in Katie Rose, Photography, Writing

Katie Rose Is Three

Katie Rose Is Three

Katie Rose Is Three, photo by Harold Davis.

My darling Katie Rose is three. She’s shown in this snapshot at her three-year checkup; check out Prize Specimen, an earlier visit to the same pediatrician.

Katie’s milestones remind us of how far she’s come from birth as 24-week preemie weighing less than six sticks of butter and resuscitated eleven times; check out The Day My Daughter Was Born and The Birth of Katie Rose for stories of her early days. She also has her own book that tells her story; you can find it on Amazon!

Also posted in Katie Rose, Photography

Blanket DNA

Blanket DNA

Blanket DNA, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

Picking compulsively at his beloved blanket, Mathew leaves these microscopic skeins of fabric everywhere. He and Nicky have dubbed them “blanket DNA.”

Also posted in Bemusements, Photography

Julian and Katie Rose

Julian and Katie Rose

Julian and Katie Rose, photo by Harold Davis.

Wherever you go, there you are. If you have an iPhone there you are with a fairly decent camera. A fairly decent camera with some interesting features. Great for photographing Julian and Katie Rose on our way down to the playground this evening.

Also posted in iPhone, Katie Rose, Photography

83rd Birthday

83rd birthday

83, photo by Harold Davis.

My parents, Martin Davis and Virginia Davis, on the recent occasion of a family lunch to celebrate my Dad’s 83rd birthday, taken with my Nikon P7000. Nice soft light coming in from the window, and nice smiles from the birthday boy and bride mark a happy time over Dim Sum.

Also posted in Photography