The last week of summer holidays were upon us in Week 4 of 2015.  School preparations were at the top of the list which included shopping for lunch box supplies and big school kid shoes. We had several “dress rehearsals” to try out the the new uniform.  It was so hart to wait for the first day to be here!  To pass the time, we did daytrip to Manly – our favourite day outing to the beach.  I usually take my first DSLR (my Nikon D3000) with me when we go to the beach so I don’t have to worry so much about the sand and water damaging my big camera.  On the way home, my daughter grabbed the camera.  I helped her with the settings but then she fired away as we rode the ferry back to the city during sunset. And she took my favourite shot of the day!
It wasn’t too long though until that first morning of school was upon us.  I had been planning for a long time to create a video for her so we were up early early on a rainy, dark summer morning.  The morning went by in a flash and by 9:30AM it was just me and the little one making our way home.  Neither one of us could wait to go pick up her up.  A new chapter had started.  I can’t wait to see what happens!

22/365  On the Ferry (Taken by Ingrid)
35mm ISO 800  f/2.5  1/640
Mum and bub on the ferry to Manly

245365  Dress Rehearsal
50mm  ISO 640 f/3.5  1/160

Big school kid - girl ready for kindy26/365 The Lunch Box
50mm ISO 500 f/4 1/200
Frozen lunch box 27/365  First Morning of School
50mm ISO 1250 f/3.5 1/100
First day of school family portrait28/365  Playing with Flashlights
50mm ISO 400 f/1.8 1/100
Kids playing with flashlights

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I spent the majority of last year working on my focus skills: focus at wide open apertures (shallow depth of field), focus on moving subjects, focus in strong backlighting, back button focus, focus in low light, etc, etc, etc….  I also learned things I had no idea about – like the fact that after I had carefully chosen my focus point, my camera (or yours) could decide there wasn’t enough contrast in that spot and pick a totally different spot to focus on.  So then I had to learn about where to put my focus point to guarantee that my camera would focus there.  Lots and lots of trial and error but it paid off and my focusing skills are much better for it.

At the beginning of this year I found myself yearning to explore a bit more on the creative side of things.  I started playing with intentionally out of focus shots.  You can see a few examples in Week 1 of my 365 Project.  And like most things, I found that I couldn’t just put my camera on manual focus, give the focus ring a spin and expect greatness.  There is an art to out of focus images that I didn’t realise existed.  There are degrees of out of focus – too little and it looks like a mistake.  Too much and you loose all structure.  And even in the middle, there are points where it makes your eyes hurt and then there are points that are interesting.

I decided to do a little experiment one Sunday afternoon as I walked the kids home from their grandmother’s.  Her building has this lovely rock garden in the middle courtyard, and the kids love to play there every time we leave.  On this particular day, it was approaching sunset (golden hour we photographer’s call it!) but the sky was a bit grey in between bursts of that golden light.  My daughter had on a flowing pink dress and the whole scene just seemed to lend itself to trying out some intentionally out of focus images.  Added to this was the fact that the week before she has started Kindy and I was feeling a bit “out of focus” in terms of who my little girl was now – no longer a preschooler but just one week into being a big school kid.  There were changes as she stepped up to her new role in the house and certainly changes in our relationship now that she wasn’t by my side five days a week.  We were in a period of transition, and focus was indeed a bit blurry…..

So as the kids played, I snapped and below are the results…  I think some work better than others.  My husband says some still make his eyes hurt.  I love the ones that look a bit like an Impressionist painting the best. They were all shot with my 50mm at around f/2.  I would love to know what you think so leave me a comment if you are so inclined. And if you decide to try it yourself, I’d love to see what you come up with!

Five year old in pink ballet dress playing in rock garden in PyrmontFive year old in pink ballet dress playing in rock garden in PyrmontFive year old in pink ballet dress playing in rock garden in PyrmontFive year old in pink ballet dress playing in rock garden in PyrmontFive year old in pink ballet dress playing in rock garden in PyrmontFive year old in pink ballet dress playing in rock garden in PyrmontGirl in pink dress playing in rock gardenFive year old in pink ballet dress playing in rock garden in PyrmontFive year old in pink ballet dress playing in rock garden in PyrmontFive year old in pink ballet dress playing in rock garden in Pyrmont

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I was so excited to attend this bowling party for our friend Vanessa’s sixth birthday a couple of weeks ago.  Now bowling IS fun but I was most looking forward to using my flash to capture some moments in such a dark and challenging lit environment.  It’s a very cool space with coloured lights, video games, a disco ball but not the best for great photos of the birthday girl.  While the kids had fun rolling those heavy balls down the lanes, I got to try out the techniques I learned in my class on flash.  The games were certainly competitive with lots of cheering and happy dances.  Bowling was followed by video games and then birthday cake of course!  I hope Miss Vanessa loved her party!  I certainly loved being there:) And was able to capture some great memories for her wonderful mum and dad.

sixth birthday portrait of brown haired girlbirthday girl bowlingHappy Birthday girlsix year old blowing out birthday candles
I would love to capture your little one’s milestone.  Let’s make a date together.
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  • Susan- Vanessa's mum

    We had attempted in the past a “staged” photo shoot and found the experience to be challenging with a toddler uninterested in posing for 1 hour while playing, so was utterly thrilled with the work of Allison. She was able to capture children in their most natural expression, so open to their surroundings and experiences that it shone through in the moments captured.
    She is a professional in engaging children and specialises in utilising location and lighting to produce a world of rainbows that children see and shut off to adults. In the most challenging location of a bowling alley, she captured such wonderful results.ReplyCancel

Big school was upon us in the third week of January.  I found myself making a list of all the things I hadn’t yet done with my daughter.  The realisation that she would no longer be by my side every day became quite real.  I was excited for her but a bit heartbroken at the same time.  We filled out days this week exploring the Sydney Festival, hung out at the Opera House, rode bikes, and enjoyed days without any schedule.  While we have lived here for almost five years, there are still places right in our own backyard that we have never visited.  For example, this week we made our first visit to the Chinese Garden.  And it was great!  It was too hot to dress up so we will have to go back this autumn for that.  All in all a very fun week.

15/365 Meditation
50mm   ISO160  f/2.2  1/4000 sec

siblings at Chinese Garden

16/365 Mum’s Favourite Spot
50mm ISO 640  f/4.5 1/4000sec
Gorgeous girl in Brave outfit at Veuve Cliquot airtream

17/365  Bike Riding
50mm ISO 160  f/2.8  1/1000sec
brown haired girl riding frozen bike18/365  Chillin’
50mm ISO 160  f/2.8  1/320sec
toddler boy on red sofa19/365 Shower
35mm ISO 1600  f/2.2  1/100sec
toddler boy bath time20/365  Say Cheese Shopkins
35mm ISO 400  f/2.5  1/160 sec
20150120-DSC_2583-121/365  May the Force Be With You
35mm ISO 250  f/2.5  1/320
Siblings dressed as Darth Vader and Princess Leia
I’d love to capture your every day moments.  Let’s make a date to get together
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Week 2 in January found us in the middle of summer holidays here in Sydney.  For the past four years I have wondered where the gorgeous summer weather was hiding – but this year I got it.  We’ve had hot dry days perfect for the park, pool and beach.  And while we frequented lots of those places, I was also taking an on-camera flash class.  I have shied away from flash until now – preferring to use natural light.  But sometimes natural light is just not enough. – and I kept seeing gorgeous images from my photographer friends that were shot with flash.  Santa brought me a speedlight (an on-camera flash) for Christmas so I really put it to use this week.  And I have to say I love it!  Gone is the noise and grain common in photos shot in low light – as are the color casts.  I can’t wait to use it in some sessions especially this winter. So without further adieu – here is Week 2 of 2015.

8/365  Hi Mum!
50mm ISO 160  f/2  1/2500sec

toddler swinging in the park

10/365  Night Night
50mm ISO 1600 f/2  1/80sec with flash (shot in pitch black room)
20150110-DSC_1993-111/365  ipad
50mm ISO1600 f/2 1/160sec  with flash

girl watching ipad

12/365 Storytime
50mm ISO 320  f/5.6  1/125sec  with flash

storytime with dad

14/365  Elsa at the Outdoor Cinema
50mm ISo640  f/2.8 1/400
elsa at the outdoor cinema

I’d love to capture special moments of your daily life.  Let’s make a date to get together.

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