June 12, 2013

Capturing the night

The witching hour... well its actually more like two hours: 4PM to 6PM.  Since the day we brought our first baby home this has always been the hardest time of the day to get through.  Everyone is cranky, it coincides with trying to prepare dinner, daddy coming home so much all at once.  The nerves get frazzled.  

But then you see the light at the end of the tunnel and here comes 7 PM, the winding down hour.  Baths and milk... preparing for bedtime... and the ever present story time.  My personal favorite.  The nighttime hours are when my kids are the sweetest.  Its when I want to capture them the most.  Its when there is the least light.

Evan is reading on the Kindle these days.  Using a slow shutter speed allows me to use the ambient light from the Kindle screen to illuminate his face.  
Settings: f2.0 | ss 1/25 | ISO 800 | 50mm lens

This is the reason I shoot in RAW.  Look how much detail that was lost in the shadows can be recovered.  It can be a real life-saver when you over expose or under expose a picture.  For this type of shot I'll stick with the above photo. While the below photo is a good example of the benefit of shooting in RAW format instead of JPEG, it was not the look I was going for.

Shooting at such a low shutter speed means you risk a lot of movement blur if your subject moves (or if you move).  Here I've got the camera pressed against the wall to stabilize myself but he heard the beep and lifted his face. Movement + slow shutter speed = blur.
Settings: f2.0 | ss 1/40 | ISO 1250 | 50mm lens

Aiden, seeing an opportunity to delay sleep, made a rare request to have his picture taken.  Without the ambient light from the kindle it was a bit more challenging however there was a small amount of light coming from the window just above him.  It was dusk so it was a very soft light. but still rather dark.  I slowed my shutter even more to 1/15, a speed I don't dare do handheld on so I stacked a game and book up and used it as a tripod.  The higher iso, underexposed picture resulted in a lot of noise (or grain) so converted it to black and white.
Settings: f2.0 | ss 1/15 | ISO 1250 | 50mm lens

Before the Kindle they boys read by flashlight, usually under a blanket.  They wiggled and giggled and moved so much it was almost impossible to get a shot of this nightly concurrence that I loved so much.  So we faked it using a little Photoshop magic.
Settings: f2.2 | ss 1/125 | ISO 500 | 35mm lens.  This is what the REAL image looked like:

After Photoshop it looks like their nightly routine that I tried so hard to capture.

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