Mother and daughter, at a party; 24 Mar 2012.

The mother, an old friend, is aware of me and smiling – she and her partner are very happy for me to take photographs of their two daughters, and to have them posted on the internet too.  The girls have wonderful personalities – we can’t get enough of them – and I never forget that, in today’s neurotic society, being able to photograph youngsters in this way is a great freedom, which I enjoy and value immensely.

Here, the mother sees my approach, but her daughter is not aware of me.  Her attention has been caught by something that amuses her but which she’s not sure she should be laughing at – and so she is hiding her smile behind her hand and looking amusedly up from beneath lowered brows.

D700 with 24-120 Nikkor at 120mm; 400 ISO; bounced, diffused flash.

UPDATE: this was first posted three years ago and, with the benefit of hindsight and experience, I have to say that wherever possible I prefer working without the aid of flash.  I must be honest and upfront, and admit that my ignorance of many of flash’s more subtle techniques and nuances most probably contributes to my mediocrity with the genre but, deep down, its natural light that gets to me – unless of course, as was the case here, there is no other alternative.


About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. Ann says:

    Adorable moment! The child is a Mini Me of the mom. Their curls are so cute. 🙂


  2. krikitarts says:

    The flash can be an invaluable tool when nothing else will give us anything to work with, e.g., when the subject isn’t stationary and there’s no tripod at hand. It can be very rewarding to intentionally underexpose with both the flash and the exposure and bring out the details after capture with Camera Raw or other software. Have you ever used a little slave flash?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Not even sure I know what a slave flash is, old friend! I have used my flash off camera, ie triggered by the camera’s flash, if that’s what you mean, but really I just don’t take to it.

      But I do like your idea of underexposing with flash and then using software to reveal the details, what an interesting technique. Many thanks, Gary. Adrian


      • krikitarts says:

        A slave flash is a little, battery-powered flash unit (I have an old one that’s about 3x3x3/4 inches) and it fires when it senses a camera’s flash. It was quite inexpensive and could be placed pretty much anywhere. I haven’t used it for years but am now inspired to hunt it up (probably in my film-camera backpack). If I can’t find it or if it doesn’t work any more, I think I’ll have to look for a new one or two!


        • Adrian Lewis says:

          Oh, right, ok, I understand. Well that’s really what I have used in a way, because both the D700 and the 800 have (rather small) built in flashes that can also be used as commanders, ie to set off other flashes that are situated off-camera. I have an SB-800 which I’ve used in this way a little – having this “real” flash triggered by the camera never fails to impress me! – and in fact I’ve posted a couple of selfies made in this way but, once more, its not a technique that really gets to me. A


  3. paula graham says:

    Sweet photo. All this scaremongering has killed off normal human relations…you notice it if you dare talk to anyone , let alone a child in the supermarket..they back away as if you made an indecent proposal . The media hype around these sad cases has a lot to answer for. Just mho.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Oh do I agree with you about the scaremongering – it makes me depressed and sad. Its really gets to me that our “great civilisation” has reached such a state – and add to this the sway that Political Correctness has – and I just want out of it all. Maybe this is why I enjoy the countryside so much, at least there I can look at simple, beautiful, real things, and get away from all this bullshit!

      And add to this of course that we some of the highest concentrations of CCTV in the world, so that all you and I have to do is to go to some town or city, to be surreptitiously photographed umpteen times in a day – and presumably there is the general belief that none of those CCTV films are misused in any way at all …. “get real” is the phrase, isn’t it?

      Glad you like the picture. Have no idea what mho is but as long as you’re happy with it, then fine! 🙂


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