Lighting metal

Pinterest, Stumbleupon, a myriad blogs… a new culture has arisen in America. The rise of the DIY: the do-it-yourselfer. People are turning to these ideas to make gifts for friends for a personal touch, instead of buying presents.

The hardest part of the Glass/Metal assignment was coming up with a concept. The first time I met with my group, I really didn’t have a good idea. My first idea involved the same scissors, a flag and a string. My idea was a reference to the Three Fates of Greek mythology make the decision of a person’s life; and the American people make the decision about the future of the American presidency.  I wanted to stay with the idea, but did not have time to put more effort into it. And, it just felt so abstract. I didn’t think I would even come close to making an audience “get” the concept.

Then I came up with the Do It Yourself culture idea. I felt like it was a concept that could be much easier to convey and was a lot more fun, especially as a DIY follower myself.

I’m not sure how my lighting of the scissors came out. Since it wasn’t super reflective metal, I wasn’t sure exactly how the lighting was supposed to look. I only used one strobe with a barn door that shot through a sheet, a reflector and a black card. So, I’m hoping I did alright!

The Portrait

Whitney Hayward is a senior at MU, double-majoring in journalism and Japanese. One of her favorite hobbies is crocheting; she learned the skill from her grandmother.

Whitney Hayward studied abroad in Japan for an entire year. She was living in the country when the tsunami struck, and her family had arrived in Japan to visit her. Fortunately, she and her family remained safe.

We’ve all seen them… mind-numbing, movement-stilling photos of people, either staring into the camera or away, a quiet and enigmatic expression on their face. The background is usually a white or dramatic black. Their faces may be entirely illuminated, or only partially lit.

Oh yes, we’re talking about portraits.

This week’s assignment was for a pair of classmates to take turns in the photo studio, making a portrait of each other.

In order for the portrait to be most effective, I had to learn more about my classmate. This way I would be able to properly convey her personality and character.

Luckily for me, I got an awesome and interesting classmate. Whitney is a senior at MU, almost finished with her double major: Journalism and Japanese. She studied abroad in Japan for a year. In her free time, she crochets.

This was the first time I had ever attempted to take a more journalistic portrait. I take portraits all time at work; but those are more of the web directory type.

I have little experience with lighting; only enough to make the year-book type mug shot I mentioned earlier.

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An inspiration

This week we’re beginning to learn more and more about studio lighting and the effects angles can have on a subject.

I am really excited to learn more on this topic. Although I take lots of portraits at work, they’re the yearbook-style photo: make sure the light is balanced and the person looks good. There’s no posing, no playing and no fun!

We were each asked to find a portrait we found inspiring. Here’s the one I chose:

*Image copyright of Paul Quiambao*

 

I find pictures of old people to be the most compelling. It has something to do with their wrinkles, I think. Watching the way the light spills onto this person’s face and how the light weaves into and out of wrinkles is inspiring to look at.

I believe that the photographer used only one light here, to the side that the person is facing. Then he took the photo from a different angle. The way the one light highlights the subject’s profile, but giving it just enough more detail to keep it from being a silhouette is beautiful and stunning. I hope I know how to do this someday!

 

The Scavenger Hunt

Part one of my first assignment was a crazy scavenger hunt across campus, doing copy work and some nutty self portraits!

At another time, I would have had a lot of fun figuring out the riddles and finding the clues– as it was, I felt like I was in National Treasure. However, I returned from a family funeral late Wednesday. I was determined to turn in the project on time and rushed to get it done on Thursday before class.

Taking some of the photos was difficult– especially inside the Shack. My brother had already carved our family name into wood there, so I chose to photograph his work. However, it was so dark. I didn’t want to bump my ISO past 800 and I felt like all the pictures I took in there were terrible. But I was in such a hurry and so stressed to just take the photos and run than I didn’t take the time to slow down, take a breath and fiddle with my settings until something came out that I liked.

If I could do the project over again, I would try to take more time setting up a shot, working with my camera to get the best photo I could.

School begins again…

Well, what do you know. I’m already a week and a half into my fall semester. When’s Thanksgiving break again…?

I’m glad I’ve held on to this blog. It turns out, I need it for another journalism class! This semester I am enrolled in Advanced Techniques in Photojournalism (from now on, it will be referred to as Advanced Tech). This course is going to teach me all about lighting, which is wonderful. I’m looking forward to expanding my skill-set!

Getting famous?

Curious why I was in the middle of a corn field? Keep reading!

Here is some blatant evidence of a drought, even if you’ve never seen a field: deep cracks in the earth.

Even though I grew accustomed to seeing my name online or in the paper at the Missourian, the feeling never wears off.

I’m not trying to sound full of myself– but whenever I see my own work actually published it gets me all excited.

The first mention I received was from the story I published about the Amish community nearby.

This story, in the entire process, took almost two weeks to finally get published. It was also bittersweet, as it was the last story I published for the Missourian.

By some stroke of lunch, my story was found by a blogger from Ohio who specializes in Amish cooking! Oxymoron, I understand, but you can read his “about” page to figure it out. Not only did he tweet about my story, but he also featured it on his blog! You can read his humbling remarks about my story here.

Now that the Missourian class is over, I’m back to work at Cooperative Media, full-time until school starts up again.

On Monday we got a random call from Rob Wile, a writer for the Business Insider, a community-styled website.

He was doing a short story about the terrible drought in the Midwest and asked if we had any photos of dried up corn fields, etc. We didn’t, but I drove over to Bradford Research Center and Tim Reinbott, the superintendent there, helped me find what I needed.

I shipped over around 30 photos to Rob, and here’s how it turned out! It was thrilling to see my name on a decently trafficked website!

(It also gave me a very good reason to get back in the habit of updating my blog!)

Two months later…

Wow! It doesn’t feel like school has already been out for two months. Maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy since then!

Only a short while after classes ended, I started up the infamous “Missourian” course.

(For those of you unfamiliar with the J School and the “Missouri Method,” the Journalism 4450 aka the Missourian course is a class, but more like an unpaid internship. In this class, you are a professional reporter for the Columbia Missourian. You are expected to pick up stories as well as pitch your own. For summer session, students are expected to average around 4 stories a week for the 6 week course.)

Well, I thought that my one true love in journalism was telling a story with pictures. But after the reporting class, my life may be changed.

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