Planetarium Photo Session – A Closer Look

The photo session on March 26th was for a sweet little boy and his parents. It was a one year photo shoot, with some family photos as well. My sister (my assistant for the day) and I arrived for the photo session around 5pm and witnessed some serious fog rolling in. This was not going to be good for any kind of skyline shots. Not to mention it got quite chilly outside. A far cry from the 80 degree weather we were experiencing a week ago.

Since views of the city were not going to work we headed over to the beach area right next to the Adler Planetarium. We stopped near some flowering bushes before heading over to the beach. I thought the flowers would make a nice backdrop. It ended up being more branches then flowers. After a few shots we headed over to the sand and found a nice big piece of drift wood to sit on.

I was sure to take some photos of just the birthday boy alone , the family together and some shots, just with mom and just with dad. I would like to say I was completely responsible for every one of these smiles, but I did have a little help. Mom, Dad, my sister, a toy camera, and a super cool sword (with sound effects) helped make these photos possible.

By the time we were done with taking pictures at the beach, we looked to the west and was pleasantly surprised to see the sun. As we walked over to the other side of the Planetarium we were delighted to see the city skyline. The fog had lifted and we had some daylight left to get some pictures.

What a difference a flash makes! The following images give you an idea of how helpful a flash can be, even with sunlight available. The first photo was taken without a flash, in hopes I could capture the family in good light and have the skyline looking impressive in the background. Unfortunately, while trying to keep the family properly exposed the background was blown out. The 2nd and 3rd pictures were taken with the same settings. The 2nd image without a flash and the 3rd with a flash. The 3rd shot had my flash (Canon speedlite) to camera left at a 45 degree angle and about 8 ft. away from the subjects. I had the manual setting on 1/1 (full power). I still have a lot to learn about off camera flash, but I was happy with the end result.

First Image – without flash, ISO 400, f/stop –  7.1, shutter speed –  1/250

Second Image – without flash, ISO 200, f/stop – 20, shutter speed – 1/50

Third Image – with flash, ISO 200, f/stop – 20, shutter speed – 1/50

I also included a few video clips taken with my Canon 5D Mark II. I definitely need to learn a great deal more about the video capabilities with this camera. I found myself going quickly out of focus and not sure how to correct the problem. I am looking forward to perfecting this skill. I think including video into photo sessions adds to the experience. To see a slide show of this photo session check it out on YouTube.

When the session was over I had to snap this picture. The weather gods were looking kindly on me.

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