Family & Friends Photography Reality Shots

Portraits of Sledding with the Nikon D5000

Princess Sledding

I haven’t wanted to mention it because I keep thinking I might have to take it back.  I mean the thing costs about as much as half an ounce of gold, if I’m reading the gold price chart correctly.   Or about the same price as a Teacup Brussels Griffon purebred dog in our local online adds.

Teacup dogYou see my Sports Addict, who will now be know as “The Truly Wonderful One”, gave me a new camera for Christmas.  I almost started crying when I opened my present to find the Nikon D5000 I’ve been drooling over for the last several months every time I go to Costco.

Like I mentioned though, it costs about a ton and a half, well actually only about a half an ounce if we are talking gold, or a few ounces if we are talking about dogs the size of a rat, but you get what I mean.


I’ve needed wanted a new camera for about a year, but was doing my best to get by with the 4 megapixel point and shoot we bought years ago.  It has taken decent pictures over the years, but not very good inside shots,  or night shots, or distance shots, and if there was movement you could just forget it…you get the idea.

When I ripped off the wrapping paper I was really glad I hadn’t shaken the box very hard while trying to figure out what was inside.  Presents drive me crazy.  I have such a hard time looking at them and waiting to open them.  Inside I revert to about five years old, though I try to put on a mature facade.

So I’ve been playing with my new toy every day since Christmas, and pretty much I’m still clueless, but I’ve learned a few things.

The Auto setting does a great job when trying to take midnight photos of moving people with very little ambient light.

Family Pans New YearsThe 55-200 mm telephoto lens that came with can take some amazing icicle shots without me having to freeze my toes in the snow.

Ice cycles close upAnd if I take my kids sledding in well-below-freezing temperatures around sunset, I can get some amazing portraits using the Portrait setting.

On Monday we took the kids sledding in the afternoon around 4:30.  Just before sunset and the light was perfect for some amazing portraits.  Note:  All of the following pictures are straight from the camera without any touch-up, though some have been cropped.  They have been compressed for faster download time.Princess SleddingI love my princess’ red, windblown cheeks and the bokeh behind her makes me almost feel professional.  The sunset cast a glowing light across everything it touched and can be seen reflected in the warm colors on her alabaster face.

I used the 55-200 mm telephoto lens to take all the pictures on this outing.  This allowed me to take close ups while the kids played at a distance.  I was able to zoom in on shots like this one of “Total Sweetness” sliding down the side of the hill after losing his footing.  He looks like he is only a few feet away when in reality he was a good 20-30 feet from where I stood at the top of the hill.  (All distances are a complete guess.  I’m no good at judging distance by sight, but it was a ways down there.)

TS sliding down hillThe same goes for this pic of “Buddy” sledding.  He was on his hands and knees getting ready to hop on his sled again after trudging his way to the top of the packed and slippery hill.  Again you can see the orange glow of the sunset reflecting off his black coat.  He too was at a distance from me when I called his name to get him to look my way.

Buddy SleddingThe Sport setting was helpful in taking many of the pictures as well.  Especially the ones when the kids were moving.  The above two pictures might have been taken on the Sports setting but I can’t remember.  I know for sure this one of “Missy K” sliding down the slide was.

Missy K on SlideWith my previous camera, a shot like this would have been a blur of pink and blue fluff.  But with the sports setting and the 55-200 mm lens I was able to zoom right in on her in motion.  Another aspect of the sport setting is that with the proper amount of light I can now take continuous snapshots by simply holding down the button.  This means I have about six shots of Missy K from the time she started down the slide until she did a belly flop into the snow at the bottom.   For example, here’s the next shot on her way down.

Missy k on Slide 2

If I flip through them quickly on my computer it looks like a stop-motion movie of her trip down the slide.

For some crazy reason Missy K was more interested in the playground at the top of the hill for most of our outing, but Missy L showed her independent and fearless side by claiming a small sled and going up and down the hill all by herself.  I wish I remember which setting I had the camera on in this photo.  It isn’t the sport setting because you can see more movement in her arms as she runs up the hill, and the sport setting would have eliminated that with it’s faster shutter speed.  (I think.)

Missy L pulling sledSometimes it is fun to see a little blur though, because it shows movement and this little girl was definitely moving up and down that hill.  I can’t believe she and Missy K are almost 4 years old.  What happened to my babies?  This picture was taken shortly before coming home as it was getting dark.  You can see the sunset colors were gone by now, creating more blue tones.

The “Truly Wonderful One” says we are keeping the camera, so I need to stop feeling guilty about this splurge.  And the truth is, despite the fact it cost so much, if I can take beautiful pictures of my children like the ones above for years to come, it is worth a lot more than gold to me .

family sleddingApril

I’m linking to:

My Cottage Charm ,


  • Great pictures Ape. I love the one’s of Princess, and actually all the kids, but you’re right about the lighting on Princess. Beautiful!

  • *Enjoy your new treasure. Your pictures are fabulous. You should be very pleased! I love photography myself.
    I love those rosy cheeks, and the lighting is so wonderful. Speaking of treasures, your children are beautiful.

  • LOVE your photos…the camera is worth the money and I’d def keep it if it’s going to take pictures that good each time you use it! :) Your kids are adorable, by the way! :)
    Thanks for linking up to Treasures and Trinkets Thursday and I hope you’ll come back next week!
    Missy :)

  • April, these are priceless pictures!! Especially the one of you opening your gift. Love it.
    p.s. you scared me for a minute, I thought that dog was yours!

  • Love this website and you guys amaze me with your creativity in turning things around and making them gorgeous!
    great pix of the projects and I bet great memories….