Category Archives: Kids

My Son Julian’s Valedictorian Speech

My oldest son Julian graduated last week as valedictorian from Bayhill High School. If you are interested, here is the speech he made at commencement. We are very, very proud of Julian—and the hard work, personality, and perseverance that has made this possible.

Davis Family Startup

Now if only I could direct them away from Minecraft and Wizard 101 into something that pays…from left to right in our computer lab for the kids, top row: Julian, Katie Rose. Bottom row: Nicky, Mathew.

Davis Family Startup © Harold Davis

Davis Family Startup © Harold Davis

Katie and Mask

Katie Rose loves to draw and paint, and make things like the mask shown in the photo. If you ask her, she’ll tell you she wants to be an artist when she grows up.

Katie and Mask © Harold Davis

Katie and Mask © Harold Davis

Also posted in Katie Rose

My Easter Bunnies

Phyllis keeps the Davis Easter bunnies hopping, and a good time is had by all!

Davis Easter Bunnies

Davis Easter Bunnies

My Karate Kids

My Karate kids and Karate spouse, Phyllis, Julian, Nicky, Mathew, and Katie Rose are shown at the Rohai Dojo in Berkeley, California where my family learns Cuong Nhu, a Vietnamese form of Karate that blends “hard” and “soft” for a complete, well-rounded martial art.

Also posted in Katie Rose

Katie on the hiking trail

On a beautiful spring Sunday with glorious clouds and shifting light I took my four kids for a hike in Tilden Park. We parked a car near Lake Anza (Phyllis helped with the logistics), then drove to the trail head at Little Farm. We walked around Jewel Lake, ascended the Upper Packrat Trail, switched to the Memory Trail, crossed Canyon Drive, turned left on Selby Trail, and proceeded on Selby Trail back to the parked car. You can see a park trail map by clicking here (opens in a new window).

Katie on the hiking trail © Harold Davis

Katie on the hiking trail © Harold Davis

The route was probably about three or four miles, with plenty of up and down, and tired us all out. But the kids did wonderfully, with only a little whining from Katie towards the end, and only a little stick-and-sword play from the boys.

The image was photographed using my iPhone camera, and processed on my iPhone.

Also posted in Hiking, iPhone, Katie Rose, Photography

Katie Rose and the ice cream cone

What fun to pick Katie Rose up at her pre-school, and wander down the coastal range by footpaths, steps and stairs. To watch her pleasure at an ice cream treat, and to sit on a bench in downtown Kensington, California near the big ice cream cone as she enjoys every last lick and crumb!

Katie and Cone © Harold Davis

Katie and Cone © Harold Davis

She starts Kindergarten in a matter of weeks, and it is always appropriate to remember her beginnings, and to be happy with gratitude for her compelling life force.

Meanwhile, Mathew isn’t exactly happy with his braces, but he understand the necessity, bears them with surprising fortitude, and enjoys showing off their color coordination.

Mathew © Harold Davis

Mathew © Harold Davis

Also posted in Katie Rose

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.

Also posted in iPhone, Katie Rose Tagged , |

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.

Also posted in iPhone, Katie Rose, Photography

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

Also posted in Katie Rose, Photography

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.

Also posted in Katie Rose, Photography

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.

Also posted in Katie Rose

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.

Also posted in iPhone, Photography


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!

Also posted in Bemusements, iPhone, Katie Rose

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!).

Also posted in Photography