Puffs, Teeth and Speedlites!

I found the HappyBaby organic puffs at BRU on Friday, and as promised I said I’d let you all know if he liked them.  I think these photos say it all:

All images Shot with my Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 Lens lens and canon 430 ex II speedlite at these settings:
SS 1/5oth (dragging the shutter)
ISO 200
Flash fired – more on this later!

The discovery of the puffs comes at an opportune time as he is refusing to eat solids and hasn’t been breastfeeding much either because, well,  remember how I said the tooth came through and he wasn’t bothered?  Do you also remember Jasper’s Law?  Yep, that tooth I thought was “through” was only really JUST coming to the surface last week.  This weekend it really broke through and poor Jasper is truly suffering.. he’s clingy, whiny, has no appetite and has been hitting himself in the mouth and pulling on his left ear ( the side where the tooth is.)

I’ve been giving him Motrin and even attempted orajel last night out of desperation.. what a joke that is! He thrusts his tonge out as soon as I try to get in there, so I basically succeed in numbing the tip of his tongue which he HATES.

I hope the worst is over, but this being his first tooth I have no idea when to expect the pain to subside.  I thought when it breaks through it is supposed to be some relief, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Ah well, 1 tooth (almost) down, 19 more to go. Kill me now.

So aside from teething teething teething, the other (more fun) development is that Jasper has decided that cruising/standing while holding on is not nearly challenging enough. Nope, not for my little daredevil. A few days after starting to cruise and already he’s got to try and balance and stand on his own… (look ma, no hands!)

You can imagine how well THAT has been going! Every time I look away there’s a thud of Jasper falling on his butt, or worse his face.  Poor monkey :(

I guess I didn’t realize they progress so quickly from pulling up through cruising and right to trying to stand unassisted.  Does this mean he’ll be walking soon too or do they stand months before they try to take a first step? I suppose every kid is different, but I’d love to hear from you moms who have been there what the timeline was for your babes.

On an unrelated topic..

A few days ago I read a thread on Ilovephotography.com about using a speedlite and getting natural looking (i.e. “non flashy”) images and it was a total “aha” moment.

Basically the technique is called “dragging the shutter” (tutorial here) where you use your flash but set your shutterspeed low (below 1/60th) so that the slow shutter exposes the ambient room light up to the level of brightness of your subject.  You can use a low shutterspeed and not get motion blur because the flash essentially “freezes” the motion of the subject to some exent.

The suggested settings for this technique are f set around 4, shutterspped around 1/40th and ISO 200-400, though you need to play with the settings and also your flash powerto make sure you’r exposing correctly. The flash ideally should be bounced behind  you (I did it behind and up at a 45 degree angle) so that the light source behind you shows up as catchlights in the subjects eyes.

I was so excited to try it.. and even more so when it actually worked! Look at these images, they both use flash but have catchlights and not pinlights :

Both images shot with my Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 Lens lens and canon 430 ex II speedlite at these settings:
SS 1/5oth (dragging the shutter)
ISO 200

(The puffs images above were also taken with the speedlite.)

The other great thing about using flash is that it allows me to use my until-now-much-neglected Tamron zoom lens.. I didn’t realize how sharp and beautiful this lens is because I don’t have enough natural light to use it indoors,  but with the flash I do! All the images in this post were taken with the Tamron.

I’m really really excited about the possibilities using the speedlite opens up in terms of being able to use whichever lens and settings I want, not needing to worry so much about available light. The bottom line is that I highly recommend getting your hands on a speedlite if at all possible.

So that’s all you wanted to know and more about our weekend, I hope you all had a great one :)

PS, inside the puffs there is a coupon for buy one get one free happy baby frozen meals – a really great deal if you were considering trying them!

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KatieW says:

THANK YOU SO MUCH for this slow sync tutorial!! I don’t think I have used my speedlight more than 5 times in the last 2 years that I have owned it b/c I was so scared of it. I tried this and LOVE it! Total a-ha moment!!

carmen says:

beautiful shots! I’m doing research on speedlites and hoping to get that natural light look. Ariana, did you have the speedlite on your hotshoe for these photos? I would love to finally have my a-ha moment for lighting. thank you!!

Sheri says:

Popped over from Ashley’s, following of my own accord, I ned all the help I can get!! LOL

Tanzyn says:

Ohhhh you are using my fav lens! I never take it off my camera!
Thanks for posting that technique. I have a speedflash I never use and I just tried your technique out and it worked awesome!:)

ariana says:

Monika… I’m so sorry I didn’t get back to you in your time of need. I sincerely hope things are going better for you guys by now?? I do know i’ve read that some babies have SERIOUSLY disturbed sleep from teething, but I gather you know that by now!

Marybeth, excellent, thank you!

Quite right Georgia, though Pink I know you didn’t mean it in that way :)

Georgia says:

There’s more to good photography than just a fancy camera. ;)

Pink says:

I want your camera!!!

Hi! There’s a deal at Amazon this month to save 35% on select Happy Baby foods for the month of June. I posted about it on Baby GoodBuys here: http://www.babygoodbuys.com/2009/06/35-off-happy-baby-food-at-amazon.html

I thought you and your readers might want the heads up!

Monika says:

Hi there,
I was going to ask you abut Jasper getting wired during his initial teething bout. Kirin got his 2 bottom teeth at the same time and seemed bugged but not crazy, until last night. Last night it took extra long to get him down- an hour and 15 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes. He kept standing up in his crib (a new found ability) and crying and then crawling around and we finally had to take him out because he pulled up and fell down 15 times and was starting to get sloppy and fall badly. He hit his head a couple of times luckily they were really near misses, but I realized what a death trap a crib can be.

Anyway, I took him to the doc today because he kept pulling his left ear all day yesterday and then again today. There is no infection (thank god) and so by default the doctor suspects he is teething. I cant believe it could be so much worse than his first teeth and I say teeth because he got two at the same time! The doctor suggested Motrin and said it is much more effective than Tylenol.
Kirin went to bed at 8, and he just got up crying and I had to step away while typing this (its 9:30). So much for Motrin. I feel so bad that it is hurting him that much that he can only sleep in 1 to 2 hour chunks.
Has anyone else seen it so bad??

ariana says:

Shane, our target doesn’t have them and I assumed it was because they have their own brand of puffs and didn’t want the competition, but I guess I was wrong! so does G like them?

Chantal, here’s to first teeth!! How old is Annora now?

Jennie, I just figured out who you are, thanks for stopping by and congratulations again!

Kimberly says:

You can be sure I will be blogging about my class! :) It’s actually a good friend of mine who is teaching it… I’ve known her since long before she was a pro photographer. I’m looking forward to learning my camera better (just in time for my trip to NY), and I will most certainly share!

Aerialsoul says:

We found the Happy Baby puffs at Target this weekend. They had the apple and the green stuff flavors. We’ve only given G a few of them so far.

chantal says:

funny you should mention teething… Annora popped her first tooth last week and this morning another one has broken through. They don’t seem to be bothering her too much, but we had days and days of whiney behavior. Isn’t teething fun?

Jennie says:

I remember reading that thread on ILP and getting the “ah-ha” moment too. Isn’t it great when it finally clicks? I then wondered why it was so complicated and why it took me so long to learn that information!

Great pics! :)

ariana says:

Hmm, Canon customer service is great, maybe you could call and ask what to do in the case of a gift?

Are you putting the focus point over one of his eyes? If you are and are still having focus issues I’d do a shot of a focus test chart and see what the results are. If they show something is off then it probably is.. I kept doubting myself too and now I’m so mad that all that time it was the lens! (well, proabably me too, but also the lens!)

Thanks for the link Ariana — I’m considering sending it in…don’t really know what the steps are. Plus the lens was a gift, so I guess I would have to ask for the receipt, for the sake of the warranty?

I do choose my points manually, but it seems that a BUNCH of times my shot looks focused on the camera’s viewing screen but not in truth when I look at the photo on my computer. It makes me so mad! I think in part it’s probably operator error, standing too close or not close enough? Very frustrating all around. I think I need a zoom lens with a good aperture.

ariana says:

Lou, I had the SAME issues. Two things, 1 is that mine had focusing problem confirmed by canon when I sent it in to be serviced..yours might have the same:

The other is just the inherent focusing difficulty when shooting wide open. Do you choose your focus point manually rather than focus recompose? That really helps at wide apertures.

As usual, the photos rock!

I’m so jealous of your lens. I’ve got it and the Sigma on my Amazon wishlist…one day. I have to say that I’m not so good with my supposed “nifty fifty” one — I have SO many focusing issues: argh! (But the aperture & price can’t be beat…)

ariana says:

Kimberly – how exciting about your class! I hope you will blog about it so we can share what you learn :)

I’m such a dolt, I wrote Advil when I meant Motrin! (just updated it) I’ve found the same, the Tylenol doesn’t work nearly as well for him. Try the feeder with ice and see, I think like most things it may just be a matter of reintroducing once in a while to see if they change their minds.

I’ll be stopping by to see James crawl!

Marybeth, I hadn’t thought of it that way, but yeah, it’s probably good to get it over with at once (ripping off the proverbial band-aid!)

Keri, I’m sure it probably is teething.. Jasper had his first blood blister on his gums TWO MONTHS ago and he’s just now cutting the first one.. seems like a never ending process. Wow for standing before 9 months! I hear you about not being able to keep up. I was at my parents’ house for dinner last night and there is no babyjail there… yikes! What a workout!

Keri says:

Love your new pictures! We still have no little teeth, though it seems Hadley has teething episodes. Or, maybe we just think she is teething. I hope the pain gets better soon for little Jasper! Hadley is trying to stand now on her own, too– we’re hoping this doesn’t mean she will be an early walker:-). I can hardly keep up with her crawling/ cruising!

My 10-month old is on his 3rd tooth in 3 weeks! I’m actually glad they’re all coming in at once–I’m getting really good at recognizing the teething symptoms! For us, the magic combination is 3 teething tablets and a dose of Tylenol about 45 minutes before bedtime. If we don’t do that, it takes 1-2 hours for him to settle down enough to nap!
Also, forget solid foods when a tooth is coming up. He wants about 4 bites then he’s asking for his bottle. He’s had more formula than ever in the past few days!

Kimberly says:

Ok, first… gorgeous, gorgeous pics. You’re really making me yearn for a Speedlite… just what I need, another expensive addition to my arsenal. (Actually, I think I DO need it…he he.) ;)

I’m taking a 3-part photography class this month to learn how to better utilize my camera with babies / kids. Looking forward to learning some new tips that might stave off the need to buy a flash. Or maybe it will just add fuel to my fire. :)

Teething just pretty much all around sucks. The pain should subside for them as soon as the tooth cuts through, but the second one is almost always right behind it, so the pain just shifts. James just cut #4, so now he has 2 on top and 2 on bottom, and now he’s working on his eye teeth, I think. The good news is that it seems to get easier after the first few, at least until the pre-molars start coming in. Motrin has been really the only thing that takes the edge off for James. I definitely think it works much better than Tylenol. He’s always hated the mesh feeder, too… maybe it’s time to try it again.

And one last thing… from a developmental standpoint, kids really do vary in how quickly they progress through their motor milestones. Some speed right through crawling, pulling up, cruising, walking… others cruise for a LONG time (months) before feeling secure enough to try steps alone. Even if he’s standing up unassisted, he may stall there for awhile… or you very well may have an under-one walker!

I finally was able to get some vids posted of James crawling… it’s brand-new! :) Ok, enough of my insanely long comment. Good day!

Samm Ivri says:

yep, teething has been a nightmare for us too. it never seems to end. we’ve had no breaks between teeth. and we’re on #5 now. teeth 6-8 are already surfacing too. *sigh*

mia went from pulling up to cruising really quickly too. she’s also a dare-devil and has taken a lot of falls while trying to balance. but most of the falls dont seen to phase her. once in a while though, we get a bad one accompanied by red marks on her face (boooooo). the important thing is that it looks like she’s having fun learning to walk. all she wants to do is be active now. so much for storytime! hopefully jasper is having some fun with it too!

can’t wait to try speedlights! thanks for the tips!

ariana says:

Nanette, you mean she didn’t like them? Had she had (Gerber) puffs before? Sorry if I steered you wrong!

nanette says:

We just tried those Happy Baby Puffs this a.m. Surprisingly, she didn’t try to put them in her mouth like she does with EVERYTHING else!

Also, thanks again for the heads-up about those disposable baby spoons! We love ’em!

ariana says:

Mel, thanks for the words of wisdom from the veteran of 7 teethies!!

Jb, It’s not bad you don’t remember – if you remembered everything you’d probably never have decided to do it all again right? Also, I’m pretty sure that one day Jasper will look at me and demand to know why I decided to write a blog instead of a baby book like other “normal” moms ;)

Mandy, you will LOVE your speedlite.. though you are doing pretty well without it!

Kari, so funny, Jasper JUST started liking the mesh feeder this weekend (after our previous failed attempt) and guess what the only thing he likes in there is? Ice! Have you tried Motrin instead of Tylenol? I’ve heard from lots of moms that the anti-inflammatory in the Motrin works better than just generic pain relief in Tylenol.

Lindsey, let me know how it goes if you try it!

Jessica says:

I really wish I could find those Happy Baby puffs somewhere near me. I guess I’ll have to keep trying.

My LO has decided that crawling is useless and has already started trying to pull himself up on things. I really wish he’d slow down a bit.

Lindsey says:

Wow. I’m definitely not looking forward to the whole teething thing. I hope it gets better for Jasper soon (and you)!

Thanks for the flash info. I have the same speedlight and will have to try that technique!

kari says:

((hugs)) teething just plain sucks. i am pretty certain that liam has a couple more making their way through right now too – this weekend was a bit rough. although, he finally decided that he likes ice in the mesh feeder thing which has helped. – and he has been living on Tylenol and teething tabs (i guess that is the teething-baby’s equivalent of coffee and nicotene).

Happy Monday!
The Speedlight photos are lovely – I especially love the bottom one of him in the tub – it is ridiculously crisp – yet super baby gooey all at the same time!

mandy says:

can’t wait to get my speedlight to try this! thanks for the tips.

hang in there with those teeth coming in! before you know it you will look at him and he will have a full set of pearly whites! love the pics!

Katie says:

I agree that orajel is a joke for the very same reason! Congrats on Jasper’s first tooth though! Are there really 20 teeth? Ayyyyy…

Lilly is getting a 3rd, to the left of her bottom teeth. She’s going to look like a little pit-bull!

jbhat says:

He really is beautiful. I’m glad he loved the puffs. I love puffs too…the way they disolve in your mouth, like a healthy Cheeto or something.

Is it horrible that I can’t remember what our kiddo did as far as standing, cruising, walking and the related timelines? All I know is that he was talking before he was one and walking confidently (-ish) on his own at 14 months. Maybe if I looked at the baby book. Anyway, kudos to you for blogging everything in this manner.

Melanie says:

Well, the problem with teething is that once that tooth breaks through, there is probably another one waiting in the wings, so you can never really tell what is bothering them and it kinda never ends til all the teeth come in. At least that seems to be my observation so far with Zoe’s 7 little teethies!

ariana says:

Thanks Alicia!
Actually, the happy baby meals come in trays like ice cubes, you pop the cube out into the bowl and THEN nuke – no plastic wrap at all!

Alicia Mick says:

Wowwwwwza! Jasper is soooo beautiful! And those pics make me wish I had something other than a crappy point-and-shoot camera! Oh well…

But regarding your Happy Baby Frozen Meals – of which I know nothing about but feel compelled to warn about the dangers of nuking foods with the plastic wrap on. I think the plastic releases some sort of cancer-causing toxins into the food when it is nuked – so try to avoid nuking plastics!