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  1. #31
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    Flash is not my best subject. I can use flash if I have to but my best work is done in available/natural light. Consequently, I would avoid using flash, if I could, strictly on those grounds. Further, if you're looking for that sensitive baby portrait, a crying baby would not be in furtherance of that goal. Well... Okay... "Cry pictures" are sometimes cute but they don't always work. They have to be just right. I don't think that's what you're going for, anyway.

    The fact that flash pictures can actually hurt a baby's eyes just takes that option right off the table for me.

    Just a crazy thought. Is there any way you could make a setup in advance and have the baby brought in at the last minute?
    Either in another room or in a quiet corner, get everything ready: Lights, background or tripod if you can get permission.
    Then, bright the baby in for three minutes, do the deed and whisk her right back.

    Slap me down if this next thing pisses you off when I say it but you could play the "distraught parent card."
    Just tell the staff that you might not get another chance to take this photo again.
    (Runs away and hides under a chair.)
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

    -----

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

  2. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    The room is also filled worried, stressed parents -- who might be the ones who shove the camera up where the sun never shines instead of a nurse. Id rather take a flash photo of a newborn griz and deal with a momma bear than a human mother who thinks her child has be endangered by some fool with a flash.
    Amen to that. My own experience with the NICU was very low-intensity---he was a little early and had a little trouble breathing, so they kept him in a nearly empty NICU for about a day, until it was clear he was stable---and even that was about as stressful an experience as I ever hope to face.

    Of course the same emotional drive gets involved in the photos, though, right? I vividly remember taking this photo of my son on his first day, and nothing, but *nothing*, was going to get between me and him and the image of that moment. And I think as photographers it behooves us to respect the importance of that...

    So Diopositivo, if you do get in this situation, lube up before using a flash -- it will make camera removal easier...
    ...while still maintaining just this sort of contingency plan. :-)

    In all seriousness, I think flash is a non-starter. Whether or not it can be medically proven to be a real problem, everyone in that situation owes it to one another not to make things any more stressful than they are already.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  3. #33
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    Just use a fast film, (B&W preferred) a big lens (50mm/1.4 at least) and have at it. One or two quick snaps and be done with it. You don't have to be a PITA for the nurses, as an RN I know what it is like to have to deal with recalcitrant family, but I have always been easy to get along with. Be cool, the nurses will be cool.
    Michael Cienfuegos


    If you don't want to stand behind our troops, please feel free to stand in front of them.

  4. #34

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    Thanks for everyone's advice. Some good ideas!

    Flash is definitely out. The room has very subdued lighting and hushed voices to try and replicate the environment of the womb and allow the babies to try and catch up with their missed time. It is very difficult to get food into a premature baby (my daughter started on 1ml of milk an hour) and the thinking goes that every time a baby is disturbed, they burn energy waving their arms and legs around instead of growing. Available light it is...

    I think moving Charlotte is also out of the question. She is covered in leads which go to half a dozen different alarms and monitors. That said, we are encouraged to take her out of the incubator and hold her skin-to-skin, albeit with leads still attached.

    Finally, bringing in large or tatty equipment would be a no-no. Infection control is very strict, and no coats or bags are allowed in the nursery. Getting into her room involves two hand washes and two applications of alcohol hand rub.

    Current plan is; Shoot on either the Rollei with the #3 close up adapter (on order) or with a Mamiya 645 with a macro tube. Do it whilst Mummy is holding Charlotte to avoid the plexiglas. Use delta 3200 pushed as far as possible in Microphen (extra contrast in the neg is a massive help for platinum printing). Either shoot 3 shots back to back (face, hand, foot?) and contact print a triptych directly, or enlarge twice onto ortho plus and print from 5x4. Simple!

    I'll let you know how I get on, but in the meantime, keep the ideas rolling in!

    Thanks,

    J

  5. #35
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    An NICU, as the name suggests, is an intense place. If I was a nurse in one and someone fired off a flash, that person would need to go to a proctologist to remove the camera.

    The room(s) are filled with babies, many hanging onto life by a thread. Alarms are constantly going off warning of babies who have stopped breathing (the monitors measure blood oxygen levels) and the babes need to be gently shaken to get them to start breathing again...not to mention a host of other complications that can come along with being a premie.

    The room is also filled worried, stressed parents -- who might be the ones who shove the camera up where the sun never shines instead of a nurse. Id rather take a flash photo of a newborn griz and deal with a momma bear than a human mother who thinks her child has be endangered by some fool with a flash. Even after 14 years, I still get emotional remembering the experience of have three boys weighing about 2.5 pounds in there (and boys have a worse survival rate than girls, everything else being equal).

    So Diopositivo, if you do get in this situation, lube up before using a flash -- it will make camera removal easier...

    Vaughn
    My name is Fabrizio, my nickname is Diapositivo, Von.

    In case we really met in such a circumstance, I would just hope for you that intensive care is nearby

    In general, your feelings are certainly not more important that the feeling of a parent wanting to take a picture of his child, a child he might even not see any more. A child is a child for everybody not just for you.
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

  6. #36
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesDean View Post
    ... That said, we are encouraged to take her out of the incubator and hold her skin-to-skin, albeit with leads still attached. ...

    ... Do it whilst Mummy is holding Charlotte to avoid the plexiglas. ...
    I imagine some really great "Mother & Child" shots coming out of this!

    First, as you say, it avoids background clutter, close angles and glare from the Plexiglass. Second, it might help you with lighting a little bit because you have more freedom of movement, allowing you to get the most out of the little light you have.

    BTW: Can Mom handle a camera? Even if you preset the controls and hand off?
    Don't forget the "Father & Daughter" shot! It's easy to get shutter blind and you might not think of possibilities like this when you are in the moment, concentrating on the viewfinder.
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

    -----

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

  7. #37
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
    ...In general, your feelings are certainly not more important that the feeling of a parent wanting to take a picture of his child, a child he might even not see any more. A child is a child for everybody not just for you.
    Well, Fab, we'll just have to leave it at that, as it seems that you do not have the personal experience with parenthood and NICU's to understand my point, and I seem to be failing to sufficiently get my point across...sorry (effective communication requires both parties to be effective, and I have failed.)

    Vaughn

    PS -- I actually pronounce my name "Von" -- when introducing myself to Kiwis and Aussies, I occasionally get told that I am mispronouncing my own name! LOL!

    A photo of my three boys in their mom's arms. Their first Mother's Day, May 11, 1997. They are 6 weeks old (and for those with preemies and know about "adjusted age", their adjusted age was minus 5 weeks). They are about 4 pounds each (the middle guy was 4.5 lbs). Birth weights were around 2.75 lbs, dropping to 2.5 pounds soon after (weight loss is a common occurance). They left the NICU when their weight was about 5 pounds (about 3 weeks after the photo was taken).

    I did not take the photo -- I was working 800 miles away -- but it was on film (does not look like a flash was used). Either my sister or one of the nurses took the photo
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails babes.jpg  
    Last edited by Vaughn; 07-20-2011 at 04:33 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  8. #38
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    Well, Fab, we'll just have to leave it at that, as it seems that you do not have the personal experience with parenthood and NICU's to understand my point, and I seem to be failing to sufficiently get my point across...sorry (effective communication requires both parties to be effective, and I have failed.)
    Nothing personal Vaughn, I just don't like my ass to be involved in a conversation where it didn't want to be involved

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    PS -- I actually pronounce my name "Von" -- when introducing myself to Kiwis and Aussies, I occasionally get told that I am mispronouncing my own name! LOL!
    I supposed so, that's the way Ralph Vaughan Williams and Sarah Vaughan are pronounced. If Vaughn is a surname, it is probably an alternative writing of the above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    A photo of my three boys in their mom's arms. Their first Mother's Day, May 11, 1997. They are 6 weeks old (and for those with preemies and know about "adjusted age", their adjusted age was minus 5 weeks). They are about 4 pounds each (the middle guy was 4.5 lbs). Birth weights were around 2.75 lbs, dropping to 2.5 pounds soon after (weight loss is a common occurance). They left the NICU when their weight was about 5 pounds (about 3 weeks after the photo was taken).

    I did not take the photo -- I was working 800 miles away -- but it was on film (does not look like a flash was used). Either my sister or one of the nurses took the photo
    And no Grizzly in sight, I suppose
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

  9. #39
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
    I supposed so, that's the way Ralph Vaughan Williams and Sarah Vaughan are pronounced. If Vaughn is a surname, it is probably an alternative writing of the above.
    Vaughn -- Third generation first (given) name. Where it came from before then is not known by me. (that side of the family arrived in the Americas in the later 1600's from England)
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  10. #40
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    Vaughn Meader -- The comedian from the 1960's who briefly became famous for his impersonations of President John F. Kennedy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaughn_Meader
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

    -----

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

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