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52 project

Free comic book day (sibling photos week 16/52)

A few weeks ago it was Free Comic Book Day. Yes, this really is a thing. My husband had it marked in our calendar for months!

We headed over to our favorite local comic book store, Bergen Comics and got on line!

It was crowded, as in VERY crowded, so not really great for photos but I managed to leverage some window light while Jack was checking out the kids selection near the front.

And here they are checking out their loot.

Sibling photos week 15/52

I love myself some good light and some great treats! And Jack here is just so... Jack.

Sharing favorite friends (sibling photos week 13/52)

When Liam was two, he watched the Cars movie for the first time, and thus began an obsession that lasted a good two years until we finally transitioned him into Superheroes, mostly for our own sanity as by then we could ALL recite the entirety of both movies, having watched them what felt like at least a hundred times each!

Therefore, despite the insane amount of merchandise we own, we were a little reticent to introduce Jack to the Lightning McQueen phenomenon and he skipped right into Superheroes.

We revisited this decision recently though as the constant Superhero fighting is wearing us a little thin. We dusted off the old DVDs... well actually we couldn't even find them so, to add insult to injury, we had to rent them on Amazon Prime, but it has actually been quite adorable to see Liam get reacquainted with old friends while introducing them to Jack who is happily "kachowing" all over the place now.

What is truly hilarious is seeing Jack's slowly dawning realization that our house is covered with Cars stuff that he just hadn't noticed before and we had all stopped seeing. Lightning and his friends are EVERYWHERE!

The other day, I took the boys to Pratt and some of our Cars friends came with us. The last time Liam played with Lightning McQueen, Jack was a baby. Now that baby has grown into a friend to share obsessions with.

Our crazy beautiful life together (sibling photos week 10-11/52)

In the harried rush of the day, the moments can pass on by. But in the quiet of the night I go back and luxuriate in the "stills" from our busy life.

And the meltdowns and the shoes asked to be put on twenty times and the bickering over Lego and the whining about what tv shows they can watch fades away into nothing and all I can think of is how I simply cannot imagine that they have any idea how much I love them and our crazy beautiful life together.

Action photos to say goodbye to winter (sibling photos 9/52)

New York has been in a state of euphoria over "not 14F" temperatures. We even had a day last week with temperatures in the low 60s - no coats!

Before we jump fully into spring though, I do have to share some last snow storm photos... from March 1st!

As tired as we all became of the snow this year, it has to be said that it does provide great photo opportunities, especially if you can take photos while it is snowing. The opportunity came up while we were at my sister-in-law's house and, tricky as it was with the snow coming down pretty heavily, I had a lot of fun capturing some action shots.

Jack had fun but was very serious about the whole thing.

Liam on the other hand let loose and enjoyed a snowball fight with his older cousin a friend.

That wasn't even the last snowstorm we had but hopefully we are done now. Bring it on spring!

Family vacation to beat the winter blues - sibling photos 7 and 8/52

Every winter break since Liam started preschool and therefore started having a winter break we have said, we really should go away somewhere warm for winter break. This year we finally did it!

While our fellow New Yorkers back home suffered 0F temperatures we enjoyed amazing sun, sea and sand-filled vacation in Aruba. It was bliss, and we felt like geniuses for getting out of town during what turned out to be the coldest week of the winter. It was hard to contain our glee!

I'll be sharing my photographic observations and tips from the trip on Mom365 soon, but in the meantime, here are some of my favorite DSLR shots, including my official sibling photos for week 7 and 8!

Have you gone on a family trip to beat the winter blues? What is your favorite place to vacation with your kids?

Soft and lovely - outdoor photos on cloudy, happy days (sibling photos week 52/52)

I love a good cloudy day at the playground after the rain. The light is diffuse and moody and everything looks soft and lovely.

And so it was when we headed to the playground during the post-holiday weekend so the kids could try out their new stomp rocket and bubble guns, both of which were a big hit.

I hope the holidays brought you at least some moments of peace and joy (ours did) and that the new year brings you love in abundance.

Thank you for being here.

And PS yes, I will be rounding up my year of sibling photos in the new year - see you then!

Camera lenses parents need and how to use them (sibling photos week 49/52)

As anyone who has taken any of my workshops knows, I recommend the 50mm f/1.8 lens as the best portrait lens the least money can buy that can give you the "subject in focus, background blurry" look, also known as shallow depth of field.

But I also get questions from my 50mm users asking what the NEXT lens they should get that allows them to get more in the frame without stepping back so much. This is a particularly pertinent question for New Yorkers who often don't have much indoor space to step back into!

So, after the 50mm I recommend a 35mm or even a 28mm or 24mm lens.

This photo was taken with my 35mm, which also allows me to get closer to my subject than my 50mm. At this crowded cafe, it enabled me to photograph Liam and Jack while sitting right next to them! As a mom, I find it is a great lens for capturing those moments when my kids are in my face or, in some cases actually on top of me while I photograph them as in these photos from the summer.

My 35mm is also my go-to lens for group photos, especially when there are other parents photographing the same group with their phones - with a 50mm you won't be able to get far enough away without having other parents in the photo. In fact, even a 35mm may not be wide enough for that - be ready to either yell at everyone to get out of the way or to whip out your phone yourself!

Got photo questions? Send an email to help@photosanity.com!

History and creativity at the New York Transit Museum

I remember my first visit to the New York Transit Museum. I was expecting something very kid-oriented, which of course it is, but I was blown away by the exhibit of subway cars from across time. Riding the subway is to me such a quintessential part of New York life. A typical New York commuter might spend 375 hours a year on the Subway, which is the equivalent to over 9 working weeks! That is a lot of hours.

So it kind of took my breath away to stand inside a real live subway car from over a hundred years ago, or from the 1940s or even the 1960s - from any period of time really - and to imagine what it was like to ride the subway, and live in New York, then.

It had been a few years since that visit and Jack is really into trains right now so last week I took the boys and we had a great time exploring the exhibits, "driving" buses.... and seeing the historic subway cars (although Jack couldn't understand why they weren't moving!).

And as a bonus, it turned out there was a free workshop for kids to design and build a prototype for their own vehicle. They had a lot of great materials including blank boxes, wheels, ribbon, stickers and metallic tape that encouraged open ended yet easy creativity. Liam made a submarine.

All in all it was a great visit, highly recommended even if you don't have kids. The New York Transit Museum is located at Boerum Place in Downtown Brooklyn.

Start with now - the photo tip we all need to embrace (sibling photos weeks 45-47/52)

One of the principles I teach in Photosanity is "start with now." What this means is, if you've fallen behind in some way or never even got started with photo albums, or a photo-a-day project or photo organization, don't try to catch up or start from the beginning before going forward - start with now.

Start your photo-a-day project today, start with this year's album, start organizing this month's photos, because if you try to catch up first you may never catch up and the further "behind" you fall, the more disheartened and less likely to catch you will be.

The same goes for, oh, say a weekly sibling photo project!

Yes, I have fallen behind in editing and sharing my weekly photo. But I am going to practice what I preach I start with now, or rather the three most recent weeks, and I will fill in the gaps later.

A few weeks ago, we were hanging out at my sister-in-law's new house. The kids were so excited to explore and ended up running around and around in the basement through the tv area, into the workout room, and through a bathroom with two doors - perfect for capturing the moment each time they came around!

The following week we were at a new (to me) cafe we've started going to. To be honest, the visit was a little harried but this moment I captured in the mirror was one of the high points that made it feel worthwhile!

Last week we decided to take a trip out to the New York Aquarium in Coney Island and we had a blast! Lighting conditions can be a little tricky at an aquarium but you can use the light from the tanks to your advantage.

Both boys were very excited and running around a lot, but I did manage to capture Jack's more quiet wonder.

I was really sad to find out that certain areas of the aquarium have still not been renovated after the damage from Hurricane Sandy. But the kids had a great time and in fact wanted to go again the next weekend!

Time flies faster than a speeding bike - capture the moment when you can (sibling photos week 41/50)

With temperatures going below freezing today in New York, it's hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago the kids were hanging out at the playground without coats!

I was particularly happy to capture this moment of both kids on their bikes, because this beautiful moment of the two of them in motion together lasted all of five minutes before it started to rain and then Liam fell off his bike on the way home and scraped his elbow and I seem to remember that Jack may have decided he didn't want to ride his bike either and, well, some moments are really NOT worth capturing!

But it makes the moments that are, that much sweeter!

Find out how I am getting a jump start on holiday planning over at Mom365 and download my free holiday card workbook now!

Indoor, outdoor, stitches and tips - photos to remember (sibling photos week 39&40/52)

Columbus Day was my last day off work after I took some time off at the beginning of the school year to handle various school and childcare transitions. We'd all been sick and Keith had been traveling and was gone again so I planned a low key day sticking close to home.

After indulging in a little TV (which allowed me to experiment with some different interesting shooting angles) we headed out to our local favorite spot where many photos of the boys (plus some of my clients) have been taken - the Pratt campus.

I loved the opportunity to let the kids roam while I captured some "last day of leave" portraits. The time I had with my kids during my leave was so fantastic - a really great opportunity that I feel we all really took advantage of and that I am so grateful for. These photos are a celebration of that and a new phase we are moving into as a family.

And then Jack slipped and bit his lip badly and we had to go into they city so he could get stitches! Yes, that really did happen. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I have prior experience with this due to Liam falling and getting a bad cut on his chin when he was 18 months old. Only then we were at a wedding and left in an ambulance to go to the ER!

This was slightly less dramatic. Our pediatrician referred us to a plastic surgeon who was great (no ambulances involved - we got a car service). Apparently this is quite common as they had a whole system down, complete with teddy bear, penguin shaped ice pack and certificate at the end! Jack was a trooper, and Liam was very patient and helpful. Our driver even waited to take us home and didn't charge us extra to do so.

parent+photo+tip+get+in+close.jpg

All in all, not what I had planned for the day, but everything turned out fine, and thanks to my photos, it doesn't detract from the happy memories from the morning before all the drama.

I guess the moral of this story would be - capture the moment because you never know what is going to happen next.

Also, I ended up skipping a week in my DSLR sibling photos prior to this but I think enough happened on this day for it to count for two weeks! It's ok not to be perfect. I'm giving myself a pass on this one!

Eating out with kids tips - the photo version (sibling photos week 38/52)

There's nothing like a good, kid friendly neighborhood restaurant with interesting light and decor! I love that in Brooklyn you can eat out with your kids and still get decent food, and local pizzeria Speedy Romeo is a favorite.

Pizzeria doesn't even really cover it. It's a restaurant that serves great pizza and other dishes, not to mention one of the most delicious chocolate desserts on the planet. Real grownups go there without kids, even!

And yes, I love photographing the kids there. There is great light at lunch or early evening (we went at 5pm when I took these photos) although I do like to strategically influence our seating if I can. Not only do the kids get engrossed in pizza but these are also great memories of a much loved place.

This week's photo tips (long time Photosanity parents will be quite familiar with these!)

1) Photograph your family's much loved places you'll want to remember years from now.

2) Get your kids engrossed in something they love.

3) Get down low.

4) Enjoy your pizza!

Tips for photographing active kids - like mine! (sibling photos week 36&37/52)

I was remarking the other day how having a 2.75-year-old and a 5.75-year-old is in some ways more tiring than having a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old, and it is even more tiring than a newborn and a 3-year-old. I no longer have a kid and a baby. I have 2 kids, and they are both very active!

I've been home with them on a leave of absence from work for several weeks now and even though they are in school every day, the shuttling back and forth plus the time after school is definitely more physically tiring for me than going to work!

They are constantly in motion either in separate orbits or together, and I love how this sibling photo captures that.

Of course, one thing can be guaranteed to get them to sit still, at least for few moments and that is... ice cream!

Photo tip

If you have active kids, don't fight it. You know that asking them to be still is not going to work. Instead, wait for the pause in motion that comes every so often, or get them involved in something you know will naturally keep them still, even if only for a few moments.

First day of school traditions and tips (sibling photos week 35/52)

The first day of school seems so far away already but it was in fact a couple of weeks ago for us - Liam is now in Kindergarten!

So far so good at his new school - he seems to be having fun and making friends. The other day, we ran into one of his new classmates at the playground and as we left, he gave him a hug and asked me if we could invite him to his birthday party (which by the way is not until February but we have been discussing for months already!).

Whenever we run into classmates they all seem to be excited to see each other and Liam has also been surprisingly forthcoming in sharing tidbits about his day.

Here are the traditional "first day of school" photos from this year.

And this is last week's sibling photo from Liam's first day.

Check out my Mom365 blog post on capturing natural smiles to get a glimpse behind the scenes of some of these photos!

Focus on love

Today and every day, I am grateful for what I have that so many lost on this day 13 years ago, and in the months and years following - life, loved ones, a future, hope, happiness.

Today is a difficult day.

But today I try and focus on… love.

DSLR free vacation and quiet time in midst of excitement (sibling photos week 33&34/52)

We just got back from a week of vacation in Florida. It was fantastic! We basically spent almost the entire time either in the pool or at the beach. At night it felt like I was still floating up and down after all the hours in the water. It was great to be outside so much but also tiring. By the time the kids were in bed, we were pretty much ready to call it a night too!

And guess what? I did not take my DSLR to the pool or beach once! I went with a waterproof point-and-shoot and my iphone. In fact, were it not for this project, I might not have taken any photos at all!

I did however capture the two boys playing with Lego guys in the hotel. One of the fun things about the vacation was getting to see them spend so much time together.

I also captured this moment while we were waiting for our Duck Boat tour. The light, just like the moment, was irresistible.

I'm so glad to have these photos from our vacation. I'll be honest though, my favorites are the beach and pool snapshots that I took with the waterproof camera. Knowing that I didn't have to lug the "big camera" everywhere, or worry about keeping it safe from sand and water was great. I'll share those another time!

Why cloudy days can be the best for taking photos of your kids (sibling photos week 32/52)

The playground on a cloudy day... a photographer's paradise! Ok so it is not the most glamorous or beautiful of locations, but, as I have shared before, the playground offers many photographic opportunities to capture your kids in their element.

One of the things I love about the summer is the long evenings of daylight and being able to take the kids to the playground between dinner and bed for one last expenditure of energy.

Of course, actually getting two active siblings in the same frame as each other can be a challenge, but what is the saying? "Good things come to those that wait."

I waited, and I captured this moment, totally un-posed, and lasting only for a split second before they were off again.

Photo tip

Photographing kids is kind of like photographing animals on safari. Ok, I have never been on safari but I imagine it to be similar - you have no control over your subjects and you just have to watch and wait!

Alright so maybe you have (slightly) more control over your kids than that. They can be posed. But I find it so much more rewarding as a mom and a photographer to (mostly) leave them be and capture what unfolds. Try it!

Ice pops and wide shots - photo tips from our Brooklyn Flea visit (sibling photo week 31/52)

For a couple of weeks in a row now, I've started a new summer tradition with the boys... stopping by Brooklyn Flea to enjoy the most delicious ice pops in the world from People's Pops.

I first discovered these pops three years ago at the High Line but to tell the truth, in all the craziness of, you know, having a second child, I completely forgot my vow at that time to visit them at Brooklyn Flea until this summer.

But seriously, they really are the most delicious ice pops in the universe and now my boys love them too. I love how Jack is looking at Liam in this photo trying to figure out exactly what to do with his pop. The first time he just licked it and it ended up a dripping mess, but he has now learned to take bites out of it like a pro.

Photo tip

Stand back and capture the environment surrounding your kids as part of the story of their life.

And eat ice pops.