Christmas: the outtakes

This year for Christmas, the one thing my mother really wanted was a nice photo of her 4 grandchildren. I thought, hmmm, how hard could that really be?!?! So now, a little humor to end the year. (As always, click the photos for larger versions)

We got the 4 of them together, set up some lights (read: time for me to experiment / play with a new lighting technique), and fired off a quick test frame while the little ones were still getting ready.

Not bad. Lighting sorted and locked-in, now I can just concentrate on getting some nice expressions and we're done. Should be out of here in 10 minutes, tops!

Well needless to say, that train quickly headed right off the tracks.

They did quite an efficient job of cycling between impatience ("I'm done!"), goofing around (kids being kids), and being outright angry at me - all while sharing the responsibilities so as to not let me wear them down.

In the end, we rolled with it and ended up with maybe a more appropriately characteristic bloopers & out-takes edit.

I did learn a good lighting lesson / personal preference though (I always learn something): In another recent experiment, I tried gelling (coloring) the fill light to match the color of the ambient environment, then using a neutral key light and shooting with the camera set on Daylight WB. I really liked the results with a green-gelled fill light in a fluorescent ambient environment so I figured why not try the same concept with a warmed-up fill light in a warm, tungsten environment? Yuck.

If you look closely at the shots with the windows in the background you can see it. The shadows were way too warm even with a 1/2 CTO gel on the fill light. Lesson learned.

Strobist info (In front of windows): Starting with the fill light, I strung a queen-sized white bed sheet across the double-width doorway behind the camera and fired an SB-25 with a 1/2 CTO gel, zoomed to 24mm, at ~1/4 power through it. The key light is an SB-800 with a 1/4 CTO gel in a shoot-thru umbrella to high camera right, zoomed to 24mm, and fired at 1/8 power. Then I dragged the shutter to make the windows soft and glowy. Strobist info (On blue blanket): The same bedsheet light as above was used for fill (minus the gel). The key light was still the SB-800 with a 1/4 CTO gel in the shoot-thru umbrella, but this time it was following them around since it was hung on the end of a monopod with an umbrella swivel adaptor, expertly-wielded by Uncle Neil.