Category Archives: Kids

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

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.

Also posted in iPhone, Katie Rose

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!

Also posted in iPhone


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

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

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