Bounce Flash

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I recently got myself a new flash with my birthday money; a Nikon SB-400. It's not a very big or powerful flash unit, and it doesn't have a lot of the nice features and manual controls that the more expensive units have, but it does have the advantage of being very lightweight. The main reason I got it was to learn more about on-camera lighting, especially fill flash and bounce flash.

This image is an example of the latter. You tilt the camera head up, and instead of the light directly illuminating the subject, it bounces off a nearby surface, creating a more diffuse light. Here I've bounced it off a wall that's just out of frame, which also provides a nice directional light.

From a composition standpoint, this isn't a fantastic picture. There are a number of distracting elements in the background, especially the reflection in the window, though I bet most people wouldn't notice any of that. The reason I'm showing it, though, is that it makes a great example of how much difference lighting makes in photography. (And, of course, I'll take any excuse to show you how cute my kid is.)

I'm really excited about getting to learn this stuff. Hopefully, my photos will continue to get better.

Curious and Excited

An excited participant in the 4th of July parade

This little guy was very excited to be part of the 4th of July parade in Del Mar. He was also very interested in my camera. Fortunately, I managed to avoid getting noseprints on my lens.


I got to work a little early Friday morning, so I decided to take the opportunity to experiment with abstract composition. This is a close-up of the outflow of a fountain in front of my office building.

Into the Sunset

Juliette, Jason and I spent the entire day at the beach with friends yesterday for the 4th. As we were leaving, the sun had just gotten low enough to light up the sky along the horizon. I didn't actually mean to get the surfer in this shot, but I think he adds a bit of drama.

What Is It With This Kid and Hats?

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I think the two sentences I've said the most in the past six months have been "Don't drink it" and "It's not a hat." I don't know why Jason wants everything to be a hat, but he really, really does. Cups, baskets, boxes, blankets, my hands, clothes, shoes, bowls, plates (with or without food on them), toys--he ends up putting them all on his head, proudly declaring "Hat! Hat!"

He does like real hats, too. Though, getting him to wear just one at a time is sometimes tricky.

Learning to Share

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I got this snap the other night when we were babysitting our friends' daughter. What you can't tell from the picture is that the reason he's "sharing" this ball is because he's trying to distract her from the other ball that you can't see, which both of them wanted at the same time. Still, it's been neat to watch them develop from only a dim awareness of each others' existence to actually playing together.

Morning Dew on Lily Petals

Morning Dew on Lily Petals

The other day when I was in the back yard I noticed that this lily had finally opened, and that it had caught some water from the sprinklers. Oddly, when I came back the next day it had closed up again.

As you may have noticed, I've created a new "Daily Photo" section. Rather than dumping the whole week's photos on Monday morning, I'm going to just do one a day. This ought to force me to pick out the good ones, plus it may require me to shoot more often, which is always good. My plan is to post one photo per day, Monday through Friday. We'll see how long I can keep that up.

Wait, Whose Party Is This, Anyway?

Jason really made out like a bandit on my birthday/Father's Day weekend.

He got a new tee ball set from our friends, Emily and Ari, which he loved.

A new toy!

He got to meet some new people.

He got his first baseball-park hot dog.

He even got his first baseball glove.

About the only thing he didn't get was a piece of my birthday cake, which, thankfully, we served after he went to bed.

My birthday cake

The rest of this week's set:

Encinitas and Santee

This weekend turned out to be a lot of fun. Saturday morning I went out on my first group shoot with the San Diego DSLR Photography Group. SDDSLR is, as they put it, "an informal camera club of digital photographers." I first heard about them through a coworker, whose husband is our office's IT consultant, as well as the photographer for all of our company events. I happened to be poking around his photo site and noticed some galleries from previous shoots with the group. I asked him about it, and he invited me along.

I was a little nervous at first, since I am still quite an amateur and my gear is pretty limited. But the group was, as advertised, very welcoming and helpful, and I had a great time walking around Encinitas with a bunch of people doing what we love to do. Sure, I did have a little lens envy from time to time, but all in all it was a lot of fun.

Here are my favorites:

Texture and Color

End of Spring

Sunday morning after some nice Skype calls with family, Juliette, Jason, and I headed out to Santee Lakes to check out the splash park that Juliette had heard about. We had a nice picnic lunch by the lake, and then headed into the "sprayground."

Unlike the last time we visited a splash park, Jason was pretty timid about approaching the jets. I hadn't initially planned on getting all the way in, but I found that just hanging around the edge taking pictures wasn't going to cut it, so I handed the camera to Juliette and waded in.

Couldn't quite convince him to join me.

He never quite got comfortable enough to completely jump in, even after other kids showed up and started playing. But, as you can see, he did eventually come in and have a good time:

The rest of this week's set:

Family Visit

Last week, Juliette's brother came and visited us.

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We had a good time going out to lunch on Friday at my favorite Mexican restaurant.

He's a good looking boy, don't you think?

As you can see, it runs in the family.