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100th Birthday Party Photography in St. Petersburg Florida at Brentwood Senior Living Community

Emilia celebrates her 100th birthday in St. Petersburg Florida at Brentwood Senior Living Community -- Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 800 1/60th SB-800 hotshoe mountedAs it turns out, in little over a week's time, I photographed a 50th birthday party and then this morning a 100th birthday party!  Emilia turned 100 years old today and had a big party at Brentwood Senior Living Community in St. Petersburg, Florida.  She was joined by many of her friends and family, and as you can see above, entertrainment was provided by Liberace!  His performance went over very well with the senior crowd.

Many generations helped Emilia celebrate her 100th birthday party in St. Petersburg Florida -- Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 800 1/60th SB-800 hotshoe mountedMembers of Emilia's family came over and shared birthday wishes, cards, chocolates and funny faces with her.  I liked how the young girls looked in this candid photo while their mom talks joyfully with Emilia.

Celebrating a 100th birthday with friends in St. Petersburg Florida -- Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 800 1/60th SB-800 hotshoe mountedI did not count how many friends were in attendance, but it had to be close to forty!  Everyone came over in turn to help Emilia celebrate and also to get a piece of cake!

A special Lithuanian cake that was very rich and delicious - St. Petersburg Florida birthday photography - Nikon D80 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/4 ISO 640 1/100th SB-600 hotshoe mountedEmilia's family is Lithuanian and they brought the special Lithuanian cake you see above, and yes that is a candle that says 100 on it!  The cake was great, truly unlike any I have tasted before.  A very rich taste, though the cake itself was light and dry, with crystalized fruit between layers.  I noticed I was one of the only people that finished their entire piece of cake.

100 years young in St. Petersburg Florida Birthday Photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 800 1/60th SB-800 hotshoe mountedThank you to Jess for contacting me about photographing this 100th birthday party.  Is was a very fun photography experience!

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  • 1st Birthday Party for Brooks - St. Petersburg Birthday Party Photographer

    1st Birthday Party Nemo balloon chase! - f/2.2 ISO 400 1/400th SB-600 @ 1/4 power hotshoe mounted - St. Petersburg

    One of the most significant birthdays of one's life, the first, is one that is impossible to remember.  Thus, 1st birthday party photographs provide a significant visual window for those curious to see what theme their parents chose for such an important day.  Sitting here now I cannot recall what mine was, and I do not have any photographs nearby to remind me.  The theme for Brooks' party was FINDING NEMO related.  How easy or difficult will it be for him to remember that when he is 36 years old?  I wonder . . .

    1st birthday cupcake smash - f/5.6 ISO 200 1/80th SB-800 @ 1/4 power hotshoe mounted - St. PetersburgI have spent a very limited amount of time around babies having none myself and always living far from relatives.  I was aware though that babies seem to have a hard time putting an optimal amount of food into their mouths.  In this case, in Brooks' defense, he was given no fork so frosting covered fingers are perfectly understandable.  This solved some of the mystery surrounding babies eating abilities for me.  

    custom underwater cake - f/4 ISO 400 1/200th SB-600 @ 1/4 power hotshoe mounted - St. PetersburgNow this cake remained pristine the entire 90-minutes I was in Brooks' home shooting.  That also means, unfortunately, I never got to taste it myself.  Therefore, I cannot vouch for its flavor.  

    Brooks chewing his mom's necklace - f/4 ISO 400 1/100th SB-600 @ 1/4 power hotshoe mounted - St. PetersburgNow, I do know why babies put everything into their mouths thanks to a college professor who in addition to the subject he taught, was also extremely knowledgeable on baby behavior.  Babies put things into their mouths for a very simple reason, the nerve endings inside their mouths are fairly well developed from birth, but the ones in their fingers are not.  So what sensory data adults can get with fingertips, babies need to mouth to find out.

    emerging from the deep! - f/5.6 ISO 400 1/800th SB-800 @ 1/4 power hotshoe mounted - St. PetersburgThe challenge of photographing this birthday party was largely due to going indoors and outdoors repeatedly.  This meant a whole sale change of settings and use of flash, on two cameras!  This is why I tell my DSLR photo students they need to be able to change all their settings in under five seconds if they want to start doing paid photography work.  

    It was a fun afternoon photographing Brooks on day 365 for him. 

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  • Home Instead Senior Care Ribbon Cutting Event St. Petersburg

    Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for an event at Home Instead Senior Care St. PetersburgThere is a certain timing to photographing a ribbon cutting event that I have learned from experience.  Here is my methodology:  first, get everyone's attention and say look here (at your lens).  Take that photo with the scissors raised to the ribbon as a just in case shot.  Then say, "ok, cut!"  Wait half a second, then shoot away and you can capture the ribbon in free fall as seen above, which is my preferred shot, rather than just everyone standing behind an uncut ribbon.  Waiting half a second allows time for the ribbon to fall, and just in case the person has trouble with the big, ceremonial scissors which tend not to work that well.  No troubles cutting at Home Instead Senior Care of St. Petersburg this morning though!

    St. Petersburg event photography - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/8 ISO 400 1/100th SB-800 Speedlight on hotshoeOne corner of Home Instead Senior Care felt like the Price Is Right with its spinning prize wheel.  Someone working there has good crafts skills!  The woman above won the largest prize available.  I heard (very) faint rumors of a car being a prize, but since it was not a Ferrari 458 Italia, I had no interest in plying my luck.

    Home Instead Senior Care of St. Petersburg ribbon cutting ceremony cakeAlas, I was not on site long enough for cake cutting time.  Though this was a win for my sugar intake for the day, it was a great loss to the large portion of my mind that is ever searching for the next piece of cake, or pie, or pastry, or donut, or . . .  

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  • 60th Birthday Party Photography at Pane Rustica Tampa

    Pane Rustica Bakery event room - 60th Birthday Party CelebrationI had the chance to photograph a 60th birthday party at the Pane Rustica Bakery (restaurant) in Tampa recently.  I wondered what it would be like?  I can recall my own grandfather's 60th birthday party long ago.  We were all in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and were heading to the go-kart track, one of our favorite summer activities.  Naturally, some bumping of karts took place.  Well, on his 60th birthday party my grandfather was thrown out for bumping!  It is a very good memory of him that I have put in the vault.

    Pane Rustica Bakery event room - birthday cakeThere were no go-karts inside the restaurant of course, and to my knowledge no one was thrown out.  It was a formal, adult birthday party.  There was one very nice homemade decoration on display, however.  The photo posters showing family history were very interesting to me.  I really like to look at old photos, especially family ones to see what places used to look like, to see what photo prints used to look like.  Also, it took me some time to realize that the poster on the left did not in fact say "HAPPY GOTH" but rather "HAPPY 60th."  I was really wondering where the goth connection was . . .

    The birthday boy receiving kisses from his daughters - Pane Rustica Bakery event roomThe event space was exceptionally dark, but one good thing it did have going for it was a very tall and wide room dividing gray curtain that could be pulled out and extended as necessary.  It made for the perfect photography background.  Whenever someone wanted a photo, I just pulled out the curtain and was able to get both a good exposure and a clean background.

    The 60th Birthday Speech -- Pane Rustica Bakery event roomI have mostly successfully avoided having an organized birthday party since I was 12 years old.  Even as a kid I forbid the singing of the happy birthday song at my party.  The cake was brought out in silence.  Perhaps on my own 60th birthday party, should I be lucky enough to be able to attract such a large crowd of fans as seen above, I will yield and give a speech myself, though never to the birthday song!  However, I am a big fan of birthday party games like pin the tale on the donkey, musical chairs, etc.

    Family Birthday Celebration - Pane Rustica Bakery Tampa event roomI wonder if any of the above photographs will end up on a future birthday poster for him, perhaps for his 75th birthday celebration?  If I could, I would like to contact the person(s) who took the photographs on his 60th birthday poster and tell them that they did something valuable and continue to contribute to this person's life.  

    Juliana 7th Birthday Party at Glazer Children Museum in Tampa

    Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/125th Strobist: SB-800 @ 1/2 power on light stand to frame left

    The Glazer Children's Museum makes a wonderful event space for children's birthday party photography with its floor to ceiling windows revealing views of the Tampa downtown skyscrapers and the University of Tampa, as well as the Hillsborough River.  This was the setting for Juliana's horse-themed 7th birthday party.  

    Arts & crafts time was very popular with the children at the birthday party in the Glazer Children MuseumIn addition to providing a great venue for a birthday party, the Glazer Children's Museum also provides numerous activities for the kids to do during the party.  An elaborate arts & crafts table was setup for them to make hoop necklaces, etc which you can see brought a smile to birthday girl Juliana's face.  

    Nikon D80 Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D @ f/2 ISO 400 1/160th Nikon SB-600 Speedlight hotshoe mountedThe shot above is the kind I always try to get at any type of event I photograph where one or two people are the central focus (see also Bianca, bride series).  I wonder what the person is thinking when all eyes are not on them.  What might be going through their mind?  Do they not want the party/wedding to end?  Is it a relief that the attention is not on them for a moment?

    Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/5.6 ISO 620 1/125th Nikon SB-800 Speedlight hotshoe mountedThe finale to Juliana's birthday party was the entrance of a mariachi band that provided the soundtrack to the blowing out of the candle on the cake, and then, my favorite part, the eating of the cake!

    Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 @ f/8 ISO 640 1/200th Nikon SB-800 hotshoe mountedOnce my photography time was finished and the party was winding down, Juliana's mom said, "help yourself to as much food as you want."  I noticed despite the presence of 90+ people, there was still way more than half of the cake left.  I did control myself though and had only two pieces.

    I had a very fun time photographing Juliana's birthday party and getting to meet her family.  I would very much recommend the Glazer Children's Museum as a fantastic venue to hold a kid's birthday party at.

    Chris' 40th Birthday Party in Tampa

    Chris and his son celebrating his 40th birthday upside downI have a great business and personal relationship with the Rivera family.  It started with teaching Carlos some Mac OS X lessons last year.  It continued with some more conversations about Mac hardware.  Then I met the extended Rivera family while photographing a birthday party for Carlos' children.  I donated a portrait package to a charity auction run by Carlos' mother.  Then I got to see everyone again this year at Chris' birthday party, which was again a mix of professional and personal time.

    Embracing the family's unique characters for this portrait!I think most children do not naturally sit with upright posture, shoulders turned at a slight angle, eyes looking into a lens, i.e. the ideal portrait setup.  Thankfully Chris and his wife let the boys be themselves and I believe 20 years from now this portrait will be much more valuable to them than if both boys were sitting perfectly still, well behaved, looking into the camera.  Perhaps the photograph can also be used to do some friendly embarrassing of them in front of their future girlfriends?

    I ate two pieces of this cake, it was great!There is nothing like a homemade birthday cake, and the Rivera family was kind enough to offer me a piece.  When they saw how quickly I inhaled the first piece, I was offered a second to bring home with me.  Having been western cake deprived for most of the 00s while living in Asia, I have been doing my best to catch up the past year and a half.  

    I feel very privileged to be accepted by the Rivera family and to be invited into their homes to share and photograph their family events.  They have a great, warm family atmosphere among them.  I look forward to the next birthday party!