Archive for February, 2009

Daily Photo – All Smile

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

Shari Brown, of the KDH Dance Company, caught in motion during a studio shoot.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/125
  • Aperture:  f/8
  • ISO: 100
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM (at 34mm)
  • Lighting:  zeus head through white umbrella above and slightly to camera right;  second zeus head bare with 11″ reflector behind Shari camera right;  sb800 in almost same position, but aimed lower;  sb800 on floor behind Shari, camera left.

Composition and Processing

  • This shot was taken almost a year ago, and there was some question at the time how to best pose the subject.  Posing models usually involves largely static positioning;  even when they’re moving it’s within a constrained space and without massive variations.  I wanted to convey the feeling of motion, and if possible, that this was modern dance and not some random movement.  So I had Shari improvise short pieces of dance until there was something that looked like it could work on film…then had her repeat it over and over until we got the shot.  In hindsight that probably wasn’t the right approach:  the final image is interesting but really doesn’t suggest dance.  The problem was that I was trying to shoot dance as I would a performance or rehearsal, only with better lighting control.  But I had given up the structure a performance or rehearsal provides, and asking the dancer to go through an entire routine would have been inefficient.  I have a large studio-lit dance project coming up in the spring this year and I’m planning to go with more static positioning for that (which is to say, dance poses set up like I normally would with a traditional model).
  • Ultimately, this image is all about Shari’s smile.  The motion is good, but the expression is the key here and why I chose this shot from the entire batch.  To that end, making sure the background was nice and clean (solid black) and removing any other distratctions was important.  I even reduced the visibility of the floor to a small patch — just enough to keep her from floating in the frame.

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February 25 2009 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Stephanie in Blue

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

Stephanie poses in the construction walkways of the W in downtown Austin.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • This shot is all about color.  I had spotted the grainy blue mock photo of the future W hotel on the wall of the walkway.  I waited until Stephanie had changed into an entirely blue outfit, then had her lean flush against the background.  That turned the entire image blue, offering a great contrast to the primary subject elements:  her skin and (red) hair.
  • The background pattern offered a nice contrast too:  straight lines, aligned with the edge of the image, complement and separate from Stephanie, who doesn’t have a straight line anywhere (except perhaps the weave of the jeans).  Even the pattern on the shirt is mostly curves.  Despite the almost entirely blue image, there’s a clean break between background and subject.  That’s even more noticeable in the black and white version.

Black and white version:

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February 24 2009 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Stampede

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

Some runners from the Nike Human Race show off their new shoes.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/2500
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO:  800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM (at 16mm)

Composition and Processing

  • Sometimes the original looks very little like the final product.  When I took this shot, I wanted to emphasize the sheer volume of runners.  Using a super wide angle lens allowed me to capture the largest possible number in the frame.  However, by shooting at street level I thought I’d effectively double my crowd:  there are twice as many feet as people, and at this level the feet are the primary subject.  What I didn’t expect was to turn this into a panorama during post processing, where the feet (and legs) became the entire focus of the shot.
  • I intentionally lined up the lower edge of the final image along the crack in the pavement.  I though it made a great border to the shot and really emphasized the platform the runners are on (not to mention almost lifting the image itself off the background).  It does look a little out of place compared to the other three sides though, so I burned in the edges a bit to offset.  It doesn’t solve the problem, but does reduce it.

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February 23 2009 | Photography | No Comments »