The First Night From A Year Ago

With my daughter just turning one yesterday, I had some time to reflect back on what a crazy first night it was when she came into this world. Behind this confident looking dad constantly posting Instagram photos of how wonderful being a dad is – lies a memory of a traumatic, life changing first night at the hospital. A night that has forever shaped this dad, and is now in the back of his mind whenever the inkling of having a second child comes into conversation.

The dad is more impressed with the lights than the baby.

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on


You know when you buy Ikea furniture and before you build, you go through the instructions and feel a little overwhelmed? That’s kind of like becoming a parent. You know what the end product looks like, but the process of getting there is what’s confusing and intimidating.

Babies: Assembly Required

You realize that the end goal is you becoming a competent and loving parent, but in order to become that, you need to go through so many confusing and trying steps.

That is what I realized that first night when she arrived.

I remember that the first night after she came out, when her mom was recovering and I was lying with her skin to skin on a makeshift couch bed, she was so tiny and so delicate.

I thought to myself:

“Oh sh*t, I have a daughter. Oh sh*t, I’m a dad now.”


That moment, I felt like everything that I had prepared myself for was useless.

Skin to Skin and Sing to Sing

I envisioned how I would be as a dad, and I envisioned how it would be like to have a baby. But when it finally happened, I never actually thought about process of become a dad.

Basically, for those first early moments, I just did stuff I saw on TV and movies.

Seriously, at one point in my hysterical mindset I thought, “Oh I must sing this song to her so that she’ll have an emotional attachment to it and be calm in the future whenever I sing”

I talked to her and told her how everything was going to be fine and life is going fantastic.

That was all a lie of course.

I mean can you imagine sleeping peacefully in a warm toasty bed only to be forced out to the cold winter streets – wet and naked?

I’d be pissed and freaked out.

For the rest of the night I remember her waking up and crying every one and a half hours. And I remember getting up each interval changing her diaper and bringing her to mom for feeding.

After the feeding I would put her in a loose swaddle and rock her so that she would fall asleep.

It Ain’t 5:05 In The Afternoon

All that crying. 

It sounded like they cross-bred one of those rubber chickens with a pterodactyl.

What a truly terrible sound.

I felt bad that she was crying and disturbing her mom, so I just started walking around the maternity ward shoeless with a tiny baby in circles.

At one point I even thought, maybe if I walk her over to the nurses desk, they’ll see how distraught I look and help me hold her for a bit.

Nope.

They just politely smiled and gave me a “your-wife-just-went-through-labour-and-you-better-hold-on-to-that-newborn-look.

Fair enough.

Basically I was so tired and overwhelmed, and I thought:

Shhhhhhh*t I have a daughter now, and thiiiis is how it’s going to be?


I really didn’t think it would be that hard.

But it was.

And it’s something that I’ll never forget.

Ever.

Of course things got better little by little as each day passed. And when we finally were discharged from the hospital, we felt relatively confident that we were able to do this.

And we were right.

As the weeks turned into months, and the months now became a year life is pretty sweet.

“Don’t drop baby, don’t drop baby.” ??

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on


As I write this, my daughter is quietly taking a morning nap, and last night I even slept for 7 hours!

Life is good right now.

Really good.

Yes, there still are tough days and tough nights. But nothing can measure up to that first night.

I think the experience I gained on that first night was exactly what I needed to prepare me as a dad.

And that’s the thing about becoming a parent, you can read all the books, go to the pre-natal classes, or talk to seasoned parents about their experiences. But when the moment comes and a life is gifted to you, you forget everything just learn on the fly.

And you’ll never forget. Ever.

Once assembled, babies are great.

 

A Dad’s Review of the FujiFilm x100T: Great Camera, Just Not Great With Kids

This is a long overdue review of the FujiFilm x100T from a dad’s perspective. I’ve had this camera for well over a year and a half now, using it for street photography, landscape, portraits, and basically as an everyday camera. But with the arrival of our daughter, she became the centre of my focus (#dadjoke), and this camera has become the go to device when it comes to documenting my tiny human.

I know on the Web there are numerous x100T reviews out there, but how many of them have parents in mind?

So for the tiny population out there who wondered whether the Fujifilm x100T a good camera to take pictures of their kids, I’ll try to answer that question with this post.

For those who don’t like to read here’s the TL:DR:

If your main goal is to take exceptional pictures of your kids straight out of camera: get this camera.  

But for the price you are paying for subpar autofocus, and unforgiving video capabilities, it is hard for me to recommend this camera to dad’s and mom’s out there who want to capture those precious moments.

For the rest of you who wants a little more detail, read on and I’ll explain why I feel this way by highlighting three points about this camera.

First, confession time: I bought this camera because of how flipping cool it looked. I mean just look at how well it accessorizes!

I remember browsing through someone’s instagram feed one day and the original Fujifilm x100 caught my attention. I thought to myself, “Damn that camera looks cool. I must have it.”

Basically it was the poor-man’s Leica. But at over $1000, it’s still a hefty price for a fixed lens camera. In fact when I was talking to another dad about cameras and told him I shoot with a x100T, he quipped:

“Isn’t that camera really expensive for a fixed lens camera?”

I remember looking at him with a blank and defeated look and simply said:

“Yeah….so..?

This was yet another example, of my lifelong pursuit of being a closet hipster. But despite that, I’ve stuck with this camera and have not regretted the purchase of it one bit.

Just something for your to consider I would consider myself as a user with some pre-existing photography knowledge and technical know-how. My photography history includes shooting with various point-and-shoot cameras as well as film and DSLR equipment. 

 

Autofocus

The autofocus on this camera is okay at best. In low light or really bright light I find that it struggles a bit with fast focusing. With a kid constantly moving all over the place the focus can be a bit frustrating, especially if you miss that “perfect” shot of your little one. Comparing to my DSLR (Canon 6D), it’s just simply not as quick and accurate.

Perhaps a firmware upgrade could correct this, but you’ll find that you’ll be missing a few shots because the autofocus is simply not there yet on this mirrorless camera.

The AF can get frustrating sometimes, and it takes a little getting used to
The AF can get frustrating sometimes, and it takes a little getting used to

 

Video Capabilities

I’m not a big video guy. But with the recent purchase of a GoPro Hero I’ve been pulled into the video side of capturing moments. With the x100T, the video quality looks quite nice, capable of recording at full 1080p HD at 60FPS. However, what killed it for me was a lack of refocusing option when recording.

You're better off with scenic and landscape videos than to constantly have to refocus on an active kid
You’re better off with scenic and landscape videos than to constantly have to refocus on an active kid

As I mentioned above with the photo taking autofocus, it’s very difficult to keep focus on a moving target and the video is practically unusable because of this, unless you get really good at manual focus. But seriously, which parent has time to sacrifice both their hands on using a device? We need that extra hand to do stuff like catching baby or blocking their barf and pee.

This then brings me to the next point…

 

Size and Handling

This camera is solidly built, but if you’re thinking of one-handing this thing, you’ll need a thumb grip and proper strap. The feel can get a little slippery and you would hate to lose your grip on such an expensive camera. While chasing around a kid, not having a proper handle on the camera is a disaster waiting to happen.

Nothing comical about the price of this camera at $1400CAD
Nothing comical about the price of this camera at $1400CAD

 

Imagine Quality

This is where it matters most for photography aficionados: the quality.

When you get the right light, the IQ is quite spectacular
When you get the right light, the IQ is quite spectacular

And boy do the photos jump out in a great way. If you’re able to mix the right light with your pictures, some shots are pretty amazing. At the end of the day, if you simply care about taking great shots straight out if the camera, you could probably overlook all of the other faults that I’ve mentioned above.

And that’s the beauty of this camera, and it’s a luxury that I have having purchased this prior to having my daughter.

Would I have spent so much for this type of camera simply to take pictures of my kid?

Probably not.

But if you’re parent who enjoys photography as much as taking great photos of your kid, then this camera might be something to consider.

 

Conclusion

I really really enjoy shooting with this camera as a photography fanatic simple because of the images that come out of this straight out of the camera.

But now as a dad chasing around a nine month old, I really need something that is quick and easy. With over a year of practice, I’ve slowly begun to know about the nuisances and subtleties of the camera to get those great shots of my daughter.

But most parents do not have the time or resources to do so. At close to $1400 CAD, this is a price most parents are not willing to pay, despite the images quality.

This is why I cannot recommend the Fujifilm x100T as a parent-friendly camera to take pictures of their kids.

 


I hope you enjoyed this post and the photos in this post. If you are interested in seeing more XT-2 photos or my other photos (I also shoot with a Canon 6D and FujiFilm X100T), do check out my Instagram feed where I post daily.

Thanks again for reading this review, now if you excuse me I have to toddler to chase. 🙂

7 Tips to Help You Take Better Photo’s of your Baby With Just your Phone Camera

When I check out mommy/daddy blogs/Instagram accounts, and see photos of their cute babies and toddlers, most of them are pretty good. I do say most of them, some of them are kind of lacklustre and don’t do their kid’s justice. I mean it shouldn’t really matter if they’re not professionally done, but I always think in my head, “well I think they could do a little better.”

I am by no means an expert (a photo snob – yes), but I feel that I have been quite successful in capturing some of my daughters moments and expressions.

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on

 This shot was taken with an iPhone

The purpose of this post is to share some of the techniques and knowledge that I use when I take pictures, and hopefully this can help improve the quality of the photos that you take of your kids.

So if you ever asked “How do I take better photo’s of my baby?” I hope this post can offer you some guidance and put you on the right track. It is safe to assume that most people reading this already have a phone with photo taking capabilities so that is why my tips focus on taking good pictures with just a cellphone, not a fancy DSLR or expensive Mirrorless camera. I mean, having children is expensive enough, I’m not going to advise you to spend more money on some stupid camera when you have everything you need already.

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