<<< o >>>Christmas morning 62 comments + add yours

Well, our Christmas day is winding down now – it's 6.30pm and we're about to put the youngest to bed – and I hope you've all had a good a day as we have. I could have done with going to bed before 2.00am, and I certainly could have done without Rhowan waking me up at 4.30 asking if she could open her presents, but that aside it's been a great day. Anyway, here's a shot I took this morning of Rhowan, Finley and Harmony – our youngest three. The presents had long been opened, and lunch was a few hours away, and I guess they were taking a moment to chill out prior to recommencing their games.

Oh, almost forgot: I won't be posting anything tomorrow as we're going to visit my sister in York. Normally service will be resumed on the 27th.

And finally: if you haven't already seen it take a look at the NY TImes article featuring Travis Ruse's Express Train. It's good to see a photoblog getting some mainstream media attention.

shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
11.59am on 25/12/05
Canon 20D
EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
-2/3 FEC
C1 Pro
3x2 + children [portraits]
comment by Andy at 06:35 PM (GMT) on 25 December, 2005

Beautiful shot Dave.

comment by djn1 at 06:41 PM (GMT) on 25 December, 2005

Thanks Andy.

comment by Paul Courtney at 06:46 PM (GMT) on 25 December, 2005

Hi Dave,
I've just got my lot off to bed and have a moment to myself. I think you were lucky to get a lie-in until 4.30, my daughter was up at 1.15am. Still, it looks like familial bliss at your place as ever. Merry Christmas to you and all yours. Thanks for all of the inspirational shots over the year.
Enjoy the rest of your day.

comment by Fellow Eskimo at 07:03 PM (GMT) on 25 December, 2005

I love it, much better than yesterdays. :) Have a merry christmas David!

comment by kris at 07:24 PM (GMT) on 25 December, 2005

wow, one of your best! how on earth did you get that effect?!?

comment by Matt Archer at 07:43 PM (GMT) on 25 December, 2005

Happy Christmas djn!

comment by Budi at 08:02 PM (GMT) on 25 December, 2005

Very nice children, you have. Happy X'mas, Dave :)

comment by clarence at 09:02 PM (GMT) on 25 December, 2005

Beautiful children. nice blur effect. merry Christmas!

comment by d at 10:14 PM (GMT) on 25 December, 2005

oh my GOD! a beautiful shot of your beautiful children. how old is rhowan now? you're going to have to start keeping a very close eye on her soon lol

comment by mattp at 10:35 PM (GMT) on 25 December, 2005

Great shot Dave. I've been having enormous fun using your old lens to take pics of my nieces over the last couple of days and got some pretty good results with it - very glad you wanted to move on to the f1.4!

Happy Christmas.


comment by kevin at 10:49 PM (GMT) on 25 December, 2005

Merry Christmas! Hope God continues to bless you and your family in the coming year! -kevin-

comment by Kate at 11:26 PM (GMT) on 25 December, 2005

I have been visiting Chromasia for a while now but never commented on any of the shots (I love most of them). I logged on tonight thinking that you would have probably given yourself a rest from the blog today of all days.

Instead I find this stunning shot that really captures everything that Christmas is about - being with family and those you love. Today like everyone else I have opened presents, over-eaten, drunk too much wine and watched too much Christmas television. And at the end of the day the only thing that was important has been having my sister and my boyfriend to share the day with. Thanks for this lovely picture.

Merry Christmas Dave. I look forward to following your blog in 2006.


comment by Paul Woolrich at 11:56 PM (GMT) on 25 December, 2005

Merry Christmas!

This is a really great family portrait!

comment by Ioanna at 12:12 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

simply gorgeous. magical, warm, happy, lovable.

merry christmas, everyone...

comment by Phil at 12:43 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

You must be so proud, your kids are beautiful. Glad you had a good day, and it looks like the kids did too!

comment by regularjoe at 02:08 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Excellent. As always.

Did you use a post technique on this shot to smooth the skin? If so, could you point me in the direction of how you did it? I was looking to do something like this the other day, but couldn't find the direction.

Many thanks, merry christmas and happy new year!!!

comment by maria at 02:10 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

a beautiful shot as usual. thanks for taking all the wonderful pic's and making me look forward to come to ur website everyday

comment by Jem at 02:53 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Lovely tender shot! Hope you had a lovely christmas despire your sleep deprivation hehe.

comment by joan at 02:55 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Merry Christmas, and thanks for your daily gifts to us. Sweet shot of your little darlings.

comment by Rob at 02:56 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Just terrific. Tender and sincere.

comment by mich at 03:00 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

You captured a great moment with great cuality, I really like it, congrats.. :)

comment by TJ at 03:45 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Chubby Cheeks, grape eyes, loving hands... So Cute! :)
Merry Christmas.

comment by Toni at 04:57 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Hi Dave,

The lighting in this shot is gorgeous. What was the source? Did you use a bounce?


comment by Adriana at 06:48 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Oh Dave you must be proud, They look so beautiful and all grown up. Good to read that you had a great time this holyday. :)

comment by djn1 at 08:26 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Paul C: 1.15am ouch ;-)

kris (and regularjoe): this is a technique I use quite regularly. Copy the image layer, Gaussian blur it by around 15px, then set the blend mode of this layer to either 'soft light' or 'overlay'.

d: Rhowan's almost four and a half. Time flies.

mattp: I'm glad you like the lens.

Kate: I quite agree.

Toni: yes, the flash was bouced from the ceiling.

Adriana: yep, they're great kids.

comment by Becca at 08:27 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

an amazing photograph of your sweet children ... warm and magical and full of love! Merry Christmas and thanks for the gift of sharing your photos all year long!

comment by Mark L at 11:26 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

I would have touched up the white spots on the fir coat - but other than that it's a perfect photo.

comment by John Washington at 11:28 AM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Ha Ha - I bet that last post got you going.

Sorry but it was me. Great shot - See you soon for another masterclass. Say hello to everyone.

comment by David at 01:16 PM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Sweet like honey shot.

comment by GP at 02:26 PM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Children are the beautiful face of Christmas, just sweetness, joy and happiness in this shot!

comment by dinesh at 03:47 PM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Beautiful picture, even more beautiful kids !!

comment by EeLin at 03:52 PM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

that's really nice.. Merry christmas :)

comment by Jesse at 04:23 PM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

unbelievable. beautiful! can you provide some photoshop tutorials sometime soon? i love the feeling of this image.

comment by Odilia Liuzzi at 05:34 PM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

so sweet..

comment by krrap at 05:34 PM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

wish i could turn back in time...

comment by Maxine at 05:41 PM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Perfect! Just perfect! Amazing kids, wonderful moment, beautiful composition, colour.....just amazing! Happy everything to you :)

comment by Jay at 05:48 PM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

I seldom comment, but I write you from time to time. Thanks for repeating your gaussian blur tip above. I use it (and another you passed on to me) all the time.
Could you say a word or two on the toning (specific settings)? I LOVE it. It's perfect.
Is it desaturated? Do you ever use grayscale? Or a BW gradient mask?
Peace, Jay

comment by hendra at 06:20 PM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Oh ... what a wonderful children photo. Love the toning.

comment by Laura at 09:47 PM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Sickening. You're a very good photographer, but you have to realise that nobody gives a shit about your kids 'cept you. Seriously, why subject us to this vapid, mindless pap? Don't make me vomit into my own scorn.

comment by Noushin at 10:08 PM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Amazing shot, you have very cute children. They must be very cooperative!! Kids usually don’t stay in one position more than 1/10 of a second : )

comment by VelviaPix at 11:13 PM (GMT) on 26 December, 2005

Perfect shot for the ocassion Dave. The Gaussian blur technique works wonders. Like Jay, I would also like to hear about your toning method.

Merry Christmas to everyone ;o)

comment by Pooh at 06:25 AM (GMT) on 27 December, 2005

Wow, beautiful toning and soft effect! I'm amazed how you manage the skin tones like this!

comment by hungaro at 09:44 AM (GMT) on 27 December, 2005

great shot, very loving, tender

comment by rosa at 01:45 PM (GMT) on 27 December, 2005

what a beautiful picture! this is definitely one of my favorites =)
it did make me wonder though, would a color version of this picture give an even stronger sense of warmth than this b&w version, or would it lose some of its 'specialness'?

comment by buda at 02:05 PM (GMT) on 27 December, 2005

this is so sweet!

comment by Tom B at 02:41 PM (GMT) on 27 December, 2005

This is perfect! Merry Christmas.

comment by MikesRightBrain at 04:17 PM (GMT) on 27 December, 2005

Simply lovely pic, David. Merry xmas.

comment by Eric O'Donnell at 04:56 PM (GMT) on 27 December, 2005

I've been directed to your site some time ago and check it regularly. I think you honour photography with your great variety of shots, your attention to detail, and your fidelity in posting so frequently.

I've never commented until today's picture.
This is a heartbreakingly beautiful picture. As a father of five adult children, I can tell you that you are laying up a store of irreplaceable memories for your family with pictures of this quality.

This touched me extra strongly because I just finished producing a collage of 250 or so pictures from our 35 yrs of marriage and child-raising. I am everlastingly grateful to my wife for having taken the lion's share of these pictures. (I only came to photography about 4 years ago, but now am a complete addict).

The collage that now hangs on our wall would be the first thing I'd take out of the house in a fire.

Thanks again.

comment by Jay at 07:21 PM (GMT) on 27 December, 2005

I hope you're paying attention to all of this, Laura. It is not so much that we should care about Dave's kids, though we do because we are privileged to watch them grow up. But something else is obviously invoked in us when an image such as this is posted. I am not overly sentimental, not a father, and I feel as though I am perhaps too resistant to art or film which is emotionally manipulative. I might be won over to such objections (though why so vitriolic?) re: some of Chromasia's gorgeous pier shots. I don't feel that way here.
I was telling a friend a while back that I think you've arrived as a photographer when you can take a photo of your daughter scooping sand on the beach and someone else would want to hang it on their wall. I wonder why we wouldn't think twice if it were a random encounter, say, someone else's kid on the beach. Or a homeless man sleeping. Or a street musician. All of these would be beautiful, and we are drawn to a captured moment that the photographer had to work for. Why then are we not thrilled when such a moment is captured in the artist's living room?
I apologize for the length. Just thinking aloud. I should say that the reason I love this pic perhaps more than many I've seen in a long time is largely, I'm afraid, technical. I love the levels, the softness, and the skin tone drives me wild. It does what art ("mindless" or no) should do, and that is to inspire.

comment by cow at 09:33 PM (GMT) on 27 December, 2005

Laura: such scorn? shame.

djn: Beautiful shot. Love the technique.

comment by Rob at 10:03 PM (GMT) on 27 December, 2005

Laura - Respectfully...I think you need to see a therapist. If you don't like the photo, just say so. You can spew your profanity and anger elswhere can't you? And Happy Holidays!

comment by djn1 at 10:25 PM (GMT) on 27 December, 2005

Thanks everyone.

Jay: this is toned with the Curves tool by boosting the mid-tones of the green and red curves. The amount you need to apply always depends on the tonal characteristics of the original so I can't give you any meaningful figures. And no, this one's not desaturated it's converted with the Channel Mixer.

Laura: hmmm, I take it you didn't have a good Christmas then? Seriously, you're entitled to your opinion but next time ... just close your browser window, count slowly to ten, and take some big, deep breaths.

Noushin: this wasn't posed, but they did stay still for a second or two.

rosa: they're all laying on a children's play mat which is bright red and green. It didn't add anything to the shot.

Eric: I often wonder what it will be like looking back through these shots when we're all older.

comment by Adrian Hudson at 10:27 PM (GMT) on 27 December, 2005

""Laura"" (I doubt that is your real name or even sex), kindly refrain from posting disgusting comments like that above. There really is no need. If you don't like the subject matter then surf on over to another blg where you do like the content. There are plenty to choose from.

comment by Lynn at 10:57 PM (GMT) on 27 December, 2005

Congratulations on your site being featured in Time magazine. I look forward to seeing more of your photographs.

comment by Enike at 04:22 AM (GMT) on 28 December, 2005

Just stunning. Absolutely stunning.

comment by sV at 11:03 AM (GMT) on 28 December, 2005

On the soft focus (Gaussian blur) technique: you can also try a lens blur in Photoshop (with a Gaussian fall off) with the same overlay technique. Alternatively for the purists: use a diffuser lens for the soft focus/filter effect (or if you are on a tight budget use some gauze, netting or tulle over your lens).

Nice picture Dave, I like the way two of the children are gazing at each other while the other is looking at the camera. The skin tones are excellent as well.

comment by floridagal at 03:10 PM (GMT) on 28 December, 2005


comment by pierre at 07:41 PM (GMT) on 28 December, 2005

pheeew, the softness is amazing.
My favorite of yours I think

comment by Andrew at 04:42 AM (GMT) on 29 December, 2005

I've seen gobs of your work, but this is the first time I've been motivated to post a comment.

This shot is phenomenal, even by your already-high standards. An absolute jaw-dropper in every way. I suspect people will be publishing this one a hundred years from now.

And while I'm here, Dave, let me take the time to thank you for sharing your gifts free of charge to everyone in the world.

comment by Kathleen at 02:47 PM (GMT) on 29 December, 2005

Happy Christmas to you David - and all the best in 2006! You're always an inspiration!

comment by SwarDrawS at 07:52 AM (GMT) on 1 January, 2006

very angelic and magical

comment by Ana at 06:08 PM (GMT) on 17 January, 2006

This is wonderful. Not much more to add that hasn't bee said already.