behind the scenes

Each and every month that we've had Brooklynn around, I've written her a letter. Honestly, I have no idea how long I'll keep it up. I guess as long as I feel that I have something to say, I'll continue to say it. Along with the letter, I also include a few selected photos that either illustrate some point I'm talking about or that were just too good (in my opinion) to pass up. In addition, I also post other photos that were never featured on this site. Sometime during the last month (or perhaps just yesterday), we reached over 1,000 pictures of Brooklynn.

I typically print one or two of these pictures out every month and hang them on the wall of my cubicle at work. I've had several people comment that the photos are really good and a few ask about what type of camera I use and how I get such wonderful pictures.

(Full disclosure: many people walk by my office without commenting on the pictures, so perhaps most of my co-workers think the pictures are horrible and subscribe to the "If you can't say something nice..." policy.)

I tell them that I take lots of pictures, choose the good ones, and do a little post-processing on the computer.

All of these are true. I can't make the claim of every day anymore, but we have some sort of photo of Brooklynn on all but a handful of days in her life. I don't get a "good" picture everyday. She's at the age where she's too young to understand the concept of posing and sitting still for a picture but she's old enough to want any thing electronic that we might be holding. This leads to a lot of me backpedaling while trying to keep her in frame and in focus. I've also ended up with more than a few fingerprints on my lenses over the past months since walking has come in to vogue.

I typically end up with 40 to 60 pictures up on the web in any given month. This usually equates to between 10 and 20 percent of the pictures I actually take. There are a fair number that are poorly lit, out-of-focus, or more than a little unflattering. I'm not a pro photographer and I don't work in a strictly controlled studio. Luckily, digital cameras have changed the world for home photography. Want to take 100 pictures of your kid sitting on the steps in one afternoon? Go for it. No film. No waiting for development time. No paying for doubles and then wondering what the pictures that you didn't get back looked like.

So, I take lots of pictures and try to pick the best ones. And then I play with color, exposure, and cropping on the computer. I've changed my workflow a little over the years moving away from Photoshop and image editing programs and more toward software geared specifically to photographers. I currently use Lightroom, and when you see black and white or odd coloring, it's because I thought it looked good. Even just a simple bump in contrast and a small vignette makes photos "pop" a little.

It takes me couple hours to run through a month worth of photos, do my processing, title, and upload them. Being able to look back to photos whenever I want to makes it all worth it. Hopefully you like it too.

And once in a while, I get a little help with the photography. Most of the time, when you see Brooklynn smiling and looking just off to the side of the camera, it means that Rhiannon was standing right over my shoulder to get her attention. Sometimes, she even picks up the camera, and often, these are my favorite pictures.

With Dad