Conejo Creek Park

This past weekend I had the pleasure of photographing a family of six in Thousand Oaks, CA. The location was Conejo Creek Park. It’s an interesting park…not huge, but it has some great trees, a big duck pond with a fountain, and an artificial stream with rocks and bridges. The actual Conejo Creek is almost an afterthought, hidden in the woods next to the park. I had scouted the location beforehand, as I hadn’t used it before. I’m pleased with the choice the client and I made, and I’d use it again!

The client had advised me that her four kids (including twins, age 2) were “active” and were going to be a challenge. So how’d it turn out?

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It turned out great! While I won’t say it was a ‘piece of cake’—after all, anything involving four young children is going to be interesting—the portrait session went very smoothly. The kids were all very charming, and would even sit still long enough that I could get a series of family portraits together (see below). Their parents were pretty impressive too: they held up under a lot of pressure, and made it all look pretty effortless. I have two boys of my own, in the same age range as these kids, and I can barely handle just the two of them! So these parents must be undercover superheroes.

The lead shot is a candid ‘grab’ shot, but it’s one of my favorites. As we were walking from one location to another, the mom asked me to take some pictures of the kids walking along. My hands were full of lighting equipment, so I handed the gear to the parents, and took off after the kids. Which turned into a game of ‘chase the photographer’, as you can see above. (You can also see the parents holding my lights!) The pure expression of joy on the girl’s face, accented by the flare ‘sunbeam’ in the upper left, just makes the shot for me.

And just look at this cutie (below). Need I say more?

Technical info: Norman 200B strobe through a 53″ shoot through umbrella, camera left. shoe-mounted SB-28 on auto, three stops down, for fill. Sunlight to the back. The SB-28 was triggered by the camera’s hotshoe, but I ran a cord out of the SB-28, into a radio transmitter, which triggered the Norman. This was the general set up for the entire shoot, which enabled me to go into ‘fill flash only’ mode if any of the children took off running. Which they did from time to time!

Below is the first location we used, which was by a willow tree I had spotted on my scouting expedition. It’s amazing what context (or lack thereof) does for an image. To me this looks like the little boy is deep in the forest. And yet not 50 feet from where we were shooting, there was a cricket match in progress. Yes, cricket.

And the whole family together.

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