Three young sisters candid portraits in Vinoy Park

Big sister hugs everyone in Vinoy Park for their candid portrait session

When Carter, Maggie and Abigail stepped out of their family's van, I was immediately impressed with their fancy dresses and knew that our candid portrait session would be a stylish one.  I donated a candid photography package to a friend's charity auction last month, and the girls' family were the winners.  

Maggie at age four was surprisingly articulate, often asking interesting questions about houseboats, manatees and the cleanliness of Tampa Bay.  Carter seemed to be quite energetic and expressive (see below).  Abigail, being only one year old, seemed good with everything happening.

Carter showing off her great sense of balanceThe large jacaranda tree beside the Museum of Fine Arts in downtown St. Petersburg seems quite picturesque and to be a great place for portraits, but in my experience I find it to be quite tricky to make a good portrait near.  This time I focused just on one of its huge roots for the most part.  I have been wanting to make portraits lately with the subjects arms up in the air, and if possible leg in the air too.  Carter (above) was able to make my vision come true the best of anyone recently. 

Maggie was actually doing this standing on just one leg, skillsIt was Maggie's turn for her solo shots next and she had no trouble balancing on the tree root as well.  It seemed like Maggie is a natural ballerina in the making.  Hopefully, she can see a manatee soon as we were unlucky this time and saw none around Vinoy Park.

Baby Abigail did not get up on the root, but shows off her balancing skills nonetheless

Having seen her two big sisters have their root time, Abigail was ready for her moment.  She did very well delicately touching the root and still managing to smile at the lens.  Like many babies, she seemed a bit transfixed by the look of the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G VR Micro lens.  Her dad did a great job in the background keeping her attention so I was able to take all the shots I wanted without Abigail's attention going elsewhere, not that it would!

One of Carter's numerous unique smiles she displayed during our candid portrait sessionOldest sister Carter was the only one willing to brave a perch upon the higher branches of the jacaranda tree.  I cannot say this is the first portrait of this kind I have made.  If you browse through my portrait portfolio, you will see at least two other ladies like this eyes crossed smile as well!

It was a fun time for me and I hope to some day get to photograph the sisters again.   

Abilities Foundation Charity Auction at Tropicana Field

Nothing draws attention like a Ferrari. There were two prominently placed on Tropicana Field for the Abilities charity event.

Photographing this event brought two firsts for me.  The first, first was to volunteer my photography services to a charity event.  The second was to represent f8 Consortium in an official capacity as a staff photographer.  The Abilities Foundation held its 21st annual silent auction charity event right on the field at Tropicana Field.  f8 Consortium was a sponsor of this event with some members donating framed prints, others photography services, or both.  

A rather clever tray design for carrying food and beverage.

Many local restaurants had tables serving out tiny samples of presumably their best cuisine.  The only thing I ate all night was a brownie sample.  It was not bad, but not good enough to be called gourmet or whichever adjective their marketing people bestowed upon it.  The most impressive thing related to food was the very functional trays handed out that took away the challenge of trying to have to balance a glass upon it.  

I wonder how many of the people who saw this photograph thought to themselves, "PETERson."

There were a number of silent auction items that I would have liked to have myself, including the above autographed photo of one of my favorite football players, Adrian PETERson.  In the background is an autographed Mike Vick helmet that the announcer was really stressing she wanted to be bought before the end of the night since no one bid on it last year.  I checked, the minimum bid of $100 was met.

I like the idea of wearing cowboy boots, but I never would.

As the night went on and I saw that most items did not even have one bid on them, I commented to someone behind a table that it does not look like many of these items were going to move.  He said that a silent auction is just like e-Bay, no one bids until the end when there is a flurry.  

I found myself not being impressed at all with this Rolls Royce, would take a used Porsche 911 Turbo over it any day.

On the technical side of things, the photography, as usual, was in challenging settings.  They did not turn on the lights on the field, and once the sun set and no more natural light permeated through the dome, it was really dark.  Obviously no ceiling to bounce a flash off of and few backdrops of any kind.  In the beginning I was actually using off camera flash to photograph some of the items.  Once the guests starting filing in, I went with my usual event settings of f/5.6 and ISO 800, but still wasn't getting the results I wanted so I went up to f/4.  Maybe some day I will have a chance to photograph an outdoor daylight event!