- Vancouver Photographer - Craig Minielly
12 years ago today, my nephew was 7 mins old. At the time I was working on a book project, to come out later that year, entitled “Oakville: Jewel on the Lake”. As part of that project, I was photographing highlights of the local hospital, with my sister’s upcoming delivery providing some nepotistic opportunities.
The time when it came, was somewhat chaotic, as there has been no hint at all that baby Justin was in any rush to greet the new world. Christmas dinner was over for the year and I was back at home when I got the panic call that my sister was in final labor and the big moment was likely minutes away. Apparently there’s differences between indigestion and the first stages of labor, that were as yet unknown to my sister, so she barely made it to the delivery room with minutes to spare. I myself got to the hospital just in time to see the newly arrived Justin whisked away to ICU, and followed the nurse in to record his first moments.
Shooting in an ICU when things are moving very fast, is tricky enough on its own. Staying out of the way, all while getting the closeup details of this tiny human was even more challenging. Time was too short to work with my Hasselblad gear, and digital cameras were still relatively new, with my Nikon D1 being the the big game changer of the time. I had developed a trick, that allowed me to easily shoot in fluorescent (or tungsten) light conditions in combination with the camera’s SB-28 Flash. Essentially I had a green or amber filter, that I had taped in place and with velcro, could flip (either one) in front of the flash unit to match the ambient light. This allowed me to have well lit, flash-filled images that didn’t look flash lit, and balanced nicely to the environment.
Some months later, with the book now published, I was in a presentation to Nikon, that was attended by a number of their top execs from Canada and the US. They were curious of my techniques and printed results, and were particularly intrigued by my colourful velcro flash assembly. As I explained how and why I had it set up as I did, I could see glances and notes being quickly exchanged across the room. Some time after that, when the new model flashes came out, it was an interesting surprise to see that my technique had worked its way into their regular production models that now included the coloured filters, albeit without my swinging velcro mechanism! That product combo of flash and coloured gels would last for the next nine years (SB-900 shown), and in a way, was all because my sister couldn’t tell the difference between turkey farts and labor!
Happy Birthday Justin