First Shots from the Mark II

It was killing me that I didn’t have any daylight hours to do a proper shoot in, but it WAS a great excuse to test out the mark II’s high ISO handling..

Here were my first shots, taken at 1.4 with the 50mm 1.4 and at ISO 3200!!




Not the greatest pictures, but you get the idea.. the noise level was about the same as at 400 ISO on the XSI, which is pretty amazing. I may never have to use a flash again!

And finally, I had a chance to take some proper portraits of Jasper.. still in search of the perfect holiday card photo

Hello Mr. Cute!



These were taken with the Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 Lens at 2.8 and 1/160th at ISO 800.

The thing that I love is that I’m nailing focus almost 100% of the time now, probably because the higher ISO is letting me keep my shutterspeed up high enough to avoid motion blur. What a difference this makes in the keep/reject ratio!

So that’s my super quick first experiences with the mark II.

Now, I need some advice: we are going away with Jasper for the weekend and obviously don’t want to bring his highchair.. any recommendations for a portable highchair/booster seat thingy to take with? Because I’ve been so terrified of travelling with Jasper anywhere I haven’t ever looked into these.

My biggest fear? Him having to sleep in a pack n play which he hasn’t done since about 7 months old.. wish us luck!

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Erin says:

This is slightly late but you should try the Phil and Teds MeToo
It’s super small/light and attaches easily to a table. Love it!

Rebecca says:

I just had to chime in b/c we love our Regalo hook on so much. We have one at our beach place and one that we keep in the car at home. Started using it when our son was 6 months and he’s 13 months now and still EXCELLENT in the Regalo. For $19, you can’t go wrong.

Justina says:

Regarding the sack n seat, we usually strap the thing to one chair, and stack it on top of another chair to boost him. As Ava mentioned, you can’t use it on stools but we find most places have chairs with backs anyway. We had the phil & teds me too chair but found it a real pain to carry & the tables we could use it on were limited. Since getting the sns its stayed put in our diaper bag, since some places have crappy high chairs that Jude will easily topple out!

And i’ve been eyeing the mark II for some time, & your photos are making me drool!

Ali in DC says:

The FP booster is perfect for travel. And home use too. Left tray at beach–FP sent replacement (@ $2.–seriously, what is two dollars these days?) + it was shipped out so fast. Instead of packnplay, we are now using PeaPod–little pop up tent. It is awesome. Had kiddo nap in it at home first to get used to it. Happy trails. Btw–if ever this way–don’t sweat the gear. You can always borrow from us.

carolyn says:

I bought the FP booster seat and it worked until my son wanted to eat off the table instead of the tray. It was too high and the chair wouldn’t fit under the table with it. I bought this Safety 1st recycled plastic booster at Target for $10 It’s been awesome.

Shane says:

@Kristen If you use Flickr I suggest a PRO account that takes full res images. It serves as one form of a backup for your full res images. One approach is to mark most of them as Private (so you still have them on Flickr for storage) but they aren’t shown in your flickr stream. I hate looking at 20 versions of basically the same image – but I often want to keep all of them.

Then let Flickr do the work to generate the different versions. When it’s time for a blog post you just link one of the smaller versions – small or medium.

Kristen says:

Love the last pic! I think it’s totally Christmas card worthy, with a caption like, “He knows when you’re naughty,” or something.

I have a tutorial suggestion for you, saving for the web! I would love to know how you personally save images for flickr. I’ve been watching tutorials on it, but they’re all so different.

I was thinking I would save for the 5d Mark II to be my Christmas present next year, but you’re making me think I won’t be able to make it that long!

ariana says:

The last one is my favorite too JB! It’s such a mischievous look, vintage Jasper :) The top pictures are totally deceiving in regards to teeth. He actually only has three on top and three on bottom that are fully out – he may be the world’s slowest teether!

jbhat says:

I like that last shot. He looks like a combination of naughty and nice. And so many teeth! My goodness, Jasper is getting to be such a…person! Wow.

ariana says:

OK, so with these “sack n seat” type things, how do you get baby up to table height??

jenn says:

this is similar to what i have except mine has shoulder staps. lifesaver!!! you know it is always clean – unlike restraunt chairs! washable and folds into a sack for travel!!

Ava says:

You know, if you are traveling by means other than the car, i will second Justina’s recommendation for the Sack n Seat. Shane’s mom has one (one from a LOOONG time ago, mind you) that we tried when we visited back in June. G was too small at the time and still needed to be fed in a reclining position, so the Sack N Seat didn’t work out for us. However, it is SO small and compact, it literally folds up and fits in your diaper bag to carry. So if you don’t have room for a booster seat, the SNS is a very good option. The only thing you have to have, though, is a chair with a back. You couldn’t, for example, strap it on a stool.

Catherine says:

Highly recommend the chicco caddy hook-chair. Bought ours online from Babies r Us, but also available on amazon. Paid $30 and it’s worth every penny. The chair is very easy to clean, assemble/disassemble and travel with. Get’s great rewiews…can’t say enough about it. Check it out! :)

Justina says:

Ariana! You’ve gotta get the Sack n Seat! We travel very often and survived a one week trip to China too, and that was a super life saver for our trips… and its fits easily into the diaper bag and weighs almost nothing compared to a booster seat! (I reviewed it here We just stack two chairs on top of each other to raise him up.

Enjoy the trip! :)

Kelsey says:

For my son Drew’s high chair we use this portable Fisher Price booster seat. I like not having an extraneous piece of furniture, and if we’re having a big dinner party I can take it off and open up an extra seat. :) I also like the tray, which you can snap a lid over and easily travel with the food. For $25 at Target we couldn’t go wrong!

Lisa says:

I am so jealous! I have the rebel t1i and have such a problem with focus. I enjoy your site and looking at your pictures. Thanks for taking pictures and providing tips. When you take pictures do you have studio lighting?

jenn says:

target has one that fits over any/every chair. it folds into a bag that goes into your diaper bag. it works quite well. it was about $20.

Kristyn says:

What lovely shots! But then, your boy is gorgeous! ISO 3200, I can only dream, I have the XSi, great camera, but no mark II ! How do you find the 50mm 1.4 compared to the 1.8 ? Id love to hear what you think? Really enjoy your blog too! Cheers!

ariana says:

Oh, and Kerri, CONGRATS! You’ll love it :)

ariana says:

Thanks everyone! Yeah, I sort of feel like I’m “cheating” with the new gear.. it’s too easy! Not enough light? Just crank up the ISO ;) There’s definitely something to be said for learning on more entry level gear, it forces you to really work it!

Thanks also for the booster seat recs, I’ll be checking out the FP deluxe tomorrow at BRU.

Kimberly, yes – as Mandoo correctly pointed out it’s from H&M! Call the store and ask if they have a baby section, not all of them do – in fact most don’t. Otherwise I can pick one up and mail it to you. Let me know!

Sarah says:

Absolutely adorable portraits — particularly the middle one. He looks like you there, I think, recalling the photos you posted of yourself as a baby months ago…

Kimberly says:

These are beautiful, I’m jealous of your new gear, and ummm… I think I NEED that vest for James!!! I could not BE more obsessed with the chocolate brown – baby blue combo… those are his nursery colors and I LOVE THEM TOGETHER! ;) Was it an H&M find? Recent? I’ll be in the SF area for New Years and they have H&M there….

Ava says:

PS. You’re making me wish I held out for the Mark II myself instead of upgrading to the 50D ;p

Ava says:

Amazing photos. You do great work already, but this really takes the quality to a whole new level!

Like vedjen, we have the Fisher-Price Deluxe Booster Seat and its great… inexpensive too. I wrote a post about it not too long ago: We actually keep ours in S’ car so that it’s always on hand when we’re out, either to dinner or at a friend’s house. I highly recommend it.

Lindsay says:

These pictures are SO GOOD! Darn it! I really wish that I could swing the investment for a Mark II. Nailing the focus drives me crazy and I don’t want to shoot on a tripod.

Also, I love the blue paper with Jasper’s brown and blue argyle vest!

Alicia says:

Lurve the pics – Jasper looks so good in brown and blue! Just can’t decide which of the bottom 3 pics is best – they’re all fantastic!

Christina says:

SOOOO Jealous!! I have been lusting after that camera for a while now and hope to be able to add it to my collection soon!!!
As for a high chair. We use the FB booster seats and LOVE them!! Got rid of our large standard sized high chairs and only use those. They are so handy to travel with and only cost us $24

Steph says:

We have this one and love it!
Cheap, convenient, folds very small, and available at Toys R Us!

My aunt gave us a little portable booster seat from Target. It’s by The First Years and the base inflates with a t-strap that goes between the legs. It’s really compact and attaches securely to a regular chair. It’s worked really well since Haiden was about 14 months, and it’s also only about $15.

lindsay says:

Impressive. Can’t believe it was ISO 3200!!! Maybe I should start saving now! ;-)

pam says:

I have this one for when I go places with the boys. It’s awesome for travelling.

Catharine says:

yep, we use the fisher price one at home now and have ditched the high chair. love the pics..time for mama to get an early xmas present!

kerri says:

i meant the FP booster.

kerri says:

i have used something similar to the tiechair that we got at target on clearence. unfortunately ella was a little too young…i am sure jasper would love it as i think it is more for his age…my mother has the FB booster at her house for ella and she does great with it.
my husband has given me the go ahead to buy the 5d mkii…you have now made me even more excited…i was mildly freaking out over the cost but i know it will be worth it in the end!! can’t wait to see more photos!!!
have you though about a montage of many photos from one shoot…he has so many expressions…such a handsome boy! i do like the second one out of the 3…such a sweet innocent look!
have a great weekend away!!!

ABC Mama says:

I’m interested to here about the chair. The high chair is takes up valuable real estate in our eat-in kitchen. I’ve been hoping to find a booster of some sort to use on the booth at our table for him to use in a few months.

I’ll second Lindsey’s suggestion of bedding from home. My son doesn’t have a lovey, so this is the next best thing. I can remember traveling as a child and having my own pillow or blanket from home, with it’s home smells, was so comforting.

I have to say that the second photo on the blue background breaks my heart it’s so sweet! Those eyes are begging for something and I want to give it to him :)

vedjen says:

Oh, those photos are adorable. The crispness of that camera really is not helping to squelch my desire to upgrade to a dslr.

As for portable highchairs, we LOVE the Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat. We initially registered for and received a Phil and Ted’s Me Too which looks much better but we found that most tables don’t have a wide enough lip for the chair to secure to and when we could use it, the fabric on the seat was difficult to clean. The Fisher-Price one, on the other hand, is super compact and constructed of seamless plastic so clean up is super simple.

mandoo says:

Pictures are great and my guy has the same sweater vest from H&M!

We use this for travel: Love it.

Lindsey says:

I don’t really have a comment about a chair but we have taken the sheet off of Ben’s bed and used it on the PNP when we’ve traveled. It’s obviously bigger so you have to wrap it around but it smells like home. He’s never had a problem sleeping elsewhere (now I’ve probably just jinxed us though)!