Totally Revamped Family Photo Gallery

My family photo gallery has been sorely neglected for quite some time. I have been at a loss of what to do. I was using zenphoto, and I do like it, but was in dire need of a new theme. Well, today I went looking to see if there were any new themes, and low and behold, I found one, zpGalleriffic. The one thing I don’t like is that it appears that there is no room for comments, and they have been turned off. I might need to figure a way to enable them. I also found out that zenphoto has a content management piece built in now. By turning that on I can have little news snippets and additional pages at the top. So far I added an about page, and some links back to Christopher Ward Photography for posts that I used my kids or family as models.

I managed to upload some new photos too. I still have a backlog of family photos to go through, but it’s a good start.

Anyway, if anyone wants to check it out, you can find it at Annie and

Thanksgiving Portraits

I took my lighting gear to Thanksgiving Dinner this year to take some family photos, but in the end, the images that I liked the best were when the kids sat in a window seat and I used natural light. I had an assistant hold a reflector to direct some of the window light back towards the kids, and I could close the curtains a bit so that I had a bit of a backdrop instead of a blown out window.

I am starting to try out black and white more and more. I don’t always “see” in B/W yet, but I am getting a better feel for the shots that would look good processed in B/W once I look at them in post.

I do have some in color that I liked as well. I couldn’t get all the kids to pose for me. Too much turkey, and too much going on.

First Lake Winnipeg Beach Pictures

I had the girls up at my parents cottage in Lester Beach, just north of Winnipeg in Manitoba. When I was growing up, we used to spend the entire summer up at the cottage. This year I was lucky enough to be able to spend two weeks with my parents, sisters and my girls there.

Cottage at Lester Beach

That’s Lily in front of the cabin. Notice the lack of grass. Nice to be somewhere that doesn’t need mowing. Here are a couple of other pictures of the girls from the beach. There were hundreds more taken, I just wanted to get a couple up.



New Born and Family Shoot

One the weekend, I got to take pictures of my first newborn. Other than my kids that is. I also got to take pictures of the rest of the family, and use my new LightDome XS. For the whole family shot I used a shoot through umbrella. Things worked out pretty well considering it was the first time with the LightDome, but I think I could have moved my light closer. It wasn’t really a good time to experiment, as I was trying to “get the shot”. Anyway, here are some of the pictures. I took over 200, and felt that 80 were pretty good. Here are just a few.



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Thanks Mike, Kelly, Adilyn and Emma for letting me take your pictures. I had a lot of fun.

If you are in the Minneapolis / St. Paul / Twin Cities area and would like pictures taken of your family, please contact me at

Cousins Day

I posted about the Cousins Day at the farm last weekend. I finally got to putting the pictures up on Most of them turned out fairly good for unposed candids in pretty harsh light.

I don’t know how I would manage it, but I have been reading about using reflectors and diffusers recently. I have been rereading Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography 2. It is all about lighting. A lot about studio lighting, but there are many things to learn/remember that could be useful. I would just have to buy more gear. There is always something.

Today, David du Chemin talked about just those kinds of things. There are the very expensive studio kind, and the just a little expensive, portable, they work pretty well kind, that maybe I could consider.

Now I just have to figure out how to get Kate to walk around and be my assistant.

Update: Here is another blog entry on using the diffusers.

I need more speed Scottie

I was out at a family event, on a farm in Rochester with several families and more than a dozen kids. I decided to make myself the family photographer, as it gave me something to do. I was using my Nikor 55-200 f4-5.6 to get pictures of the kids. It was great during the day, but as the evening came, and the sun started going down I was getting frustrated.

In shadow, I could no longer shoot at ISO 200 with any sensible speed. I was down to a shutter speed of 50-60. Too slow to get kids. I bumped the ISO up to 400 then 800, but the shutter was still slower than I wanted. The lens is just too slow.

What are the options? Not much. The Nikor 70-200 VR f2.8 is huge, with a huge price tag of $1700. Yikes. Sigma has one with similar specs, no VR for about $800. Getting better. Even still, this wish item is likely to stay a wish.