Search Results for: mathew

Davis Family Portrait

I gathered the family for a portrait in our backyard, with the camera on a tripod, and using the self-timer to get me in the group. I’m often asked when I am traveling about my family, and since I have some exciting travel later this year I wanted to have something recent to show people. Besides, the years go by so quickly, and it is good to make some images of the kids as time passes.

Davis Family Portrait © Harold Davis

Back row (from left to right): Phyllis, Julian, and Mathew.

Front row: Katie Rose, Nicky, and Harold.

Posted in Kids

A Palette of Petals

On Christmas Day, the guests had left. The presents were unwrapped and enjoyed. OK, I admit I’d heard the yodeling pickle (a gag gift that Julian got for Mathew) one too many times. The chocolate coins had been unwrapped and demolished. The kids headed for their headsets and computer games of galactic conquest.

Floral Mandala on Black © Harold Davis

In the peace that descended, I got out my light box and placed it on a low table in the living room. Phyllis helped me work through two bunches of Alstromeria, gently taking the petals off the flowers, and separating the petals into four categories.

Floral Mandala on White © Harold Davis

With my “palette of petals,” I arranged the mandala shape shown here. Nicky and Mathew helped me carefully lift the light box to the floor. With the added height I was now able to obtain, I photographed the composition with my Zeiss 55mm Otus using my Nikon D850, and processed a blend of photos for high-key HDR. The white floral mandala that resulted is shown immediately above.

Taking the image on white, I used an L-channel inversion in Photoshop’s LAB color to place the mandala on a black background, as shown at the beginning of this story.

Happy holidays to one and all, and may good will reign privately and publicly!

Posted in Flowers, Photography

106 Birthday Candles

Yesterday was Phyllis’s mom Barbara’s 90th birthday, and our son Nicky’s 16th birthday. So Phyllis baked a cakes, and as you see in the photo put 106 lit candles on it (because 90 + 16 = 106, count ’em!). As Mathew put it, “Dad, Mom—do you have a fire extinguisher handy?” No, I replied—only my camera.

106 Birthday Candles © Harold Davis

 

Posted in Photography

Tulip Blast

In a week full of family activities and graduations (Julian from high school, Nicky from middle school, and Mathew from elementary school) I managed to take some time out to photograph this lovely tulip. I backlit the flower, and got close to using a macro lens and my dedicated “low boy” tripod. To view the image, I slithered down on my belly. I think of this as Yoga: the Photographer’s pose!

Tulip Blast © Harold Davis

Tulip Blast © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography

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

Posted in Kids

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.

Posted in Katie Rose, Kids

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

Posted in Katie Rose, Kids

Playing with my boys on Point Reyes

On the Friday of the Thanksgiving weekend I drove out with my boys—Julian, Nicky and Mathew—to Point Reyes. Nicky’s friend Tamen came along too. It was a balmy, almost summer-like day. As I told people on my recent trip to Japan, we are lucky to live so near such a beautiful, spacious and wild park as Point Reyes National Seashore (many of them couldn’t believe my description in terms of the sheer amount of wild land with so few people near a major city like San Francisco).

Waves on Drakes Beach © Harold Davis

Waves on Drakes Beach © Harold Davis

We parked at Drake’s Bay, and walked along the beach under towering bluffs at extreme low tide until we reached the Drakes Estoro inlet to the Pacific. We rested a while, built a fort, and the boys splashed in the cold waters of the ocean.

On the way back, at sunset, I stopped to make the images of waves, camera on tripod for long, slow exposures. Meanwhile, I kept a weather eye out to make sure the boys didn’t kill themselves trying to climb the unstable cliffs, or whack each other too hard with driftwood from the beach.

In other words, a good time was had by all, each of us in our own way!

If you are interested in Point Reyes, you might like the Point Reyes category on my blog and Point Reyes and the Marin Headlands, my postcard book. The postcards in this book show scenes from Point Reyes, Drakes Bay, Mount Tamalpais, the Marin Headlands, the Golden Gate, and more.

Point Reyes and the Marin Headlands by Harold Davis

Posted in Landscape, Point Reyes

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.

Posted in iPhone, Katie Rose, Kids, Photography

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.

Posted in iPhone, Kids, Photography

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!

Posted in Bemusements, iPhone, Katie Rose, Kids

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!

Posted in iPhone, Kids, Photography

Flowering Quince on My “Bucket List”

Most photographers have bucket lists of things they’d like to photograph before they die. Flowering quince—because of the lushness of the blossoms contrasted with the sparseness of the stems–has long been on my bucket list of things I want to photograph before I “slip this mortal coil.”

I know that as “Bucket List” items go flowering quince isn’t all that dramatic—I have some dramatic bucket list items as well—but modest pleasures are important too.

What’s on your “bucket list”? Feel free to add a comment telling me what you’d like most to photograph!

Flowering Quince by Harold Davis

Flowering Quince 1 © Harold Davis

You don’t see much flowering quince growing wild around here, and I’ve been loth to buy an expensive specimen from a florist. So I was pleased to find some intertwined with a chain link fence near Rosa Parks, the elementary school that Nicky and Mathew go to.

Someone must have planted the Quince a long time ago, but I don’t think anyone was really tending the Quince shrub. Nevertheless, in the interests of poetry and drama I treated snipping some stems as a matter of nighttime drive-by pruning, with the engine running and the minivan’s tailgate open.

From there, it was a matter of arrangement and backlit studio photography on my lightbox.

Flowering Quince by Harold Davis

Flowering Quince 2 © Harold Davis

Checkout my work in the February 2012 New Releases (PDF) and January 2012 New Releases (PDF) fliers, both from World Art Group.

 

Posted in Flowers, Photography

Blanket DNA

Blanket DNA

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

Posted in Bemusements, Kids, Photography

Flying Dragon

Flying Dragon

Flying Dragon, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

We grabbed our four kids and brought them into the controlled environment of a studio. Actually, the environment became uncontrolled the moment we introduced our four kids (plus a friend of Nicky’s). Five kids in a studio space along with toys, costumes, swords, and a stroller for Katie to push is a recipe for chaos that is barely controlled—a primitive rendering of entropy not unlike that presented by the universe itself.

The studio belonged to Graham Bird, who graciously and patiently presided over lighting our family version of chaos.

Taking advantage of the studio lighting, I encouraged the kids to jump around and twirl. Mathew is shown here in his dragon costume coming down from a flying leap—caught in mid-air on a seamless background thanks to the magic of flash photography.

Posted in Bemusements, Kids, Photography