The slippery slope of cowardice…

So, this Sunday, my plan was to head down to the marathon after church to get some great photos of runners nearly passing out as they crossed the finish line. (well, a guy can hope, right?) But I ended up napping the day away. This lackadaisical attitude apparently continued until today, which was a day that I felt I had three or four great opportunities for photo shoots, which is odd for me because Wednesday’s aren’t an open night for me. However, other plans fell through and I walked around campus all afternoon with a camera IN THE CAMERA BAG. Not conducive to good photography. Taking the camera out of the bag increases its effectiveness by at least 75%. It was weird, I literally inner-monologued myself out of every photo opportunity. (okay, frustration vented)

  While I don’t have a new shoot to bring to the table, thankfully, I did capture this image during my Day in the Life of shoot. This little boy’s name is Ethan and he joined his dad at the barbershop that day. It was really surprising, this little guy was so quiet during the hour or so he was in the barbershop, I almost forgot he was there.

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  I cropped the image down from its original size to focus in on little Ethan’s grin. As well, I didn’t realize how much the hanging toy would be in his face. I remember thinking while taking this photo, “With this photo I can show that Studio One A is a family place too.” However, I am really glad he was such a happy baby on that day, because I might otherwise be stuck for an emotion photo.

Last minute inspiration…

Initially, I really didn’t have a message I wanted to convey with this assignment and after seeing all of your photo illustrations, which were great, I realized the only thing I wanted to try was to photograph the skyline of downtown St Louis. Unfortunately, the best angle is from Illinois and I didn’t think about that until it was too late.  After trying to match two photos, which really didn’t work, I thought about other ideas. Is there a message I want to convey. Love for the city? How St Louis looks better at night? Then, at 5am (yep, magic hour) I remembered that I had had a couple of instances at work involving homeless men. And I realized that is where I wanted to go.

 While St Louis is not overrun with homeless, there are about 1500 persons listed as homeless, according to the last census. However, another a homeless services website, listed the number of available beds in St Louis to 574. There is help available in this city, whether it is enough or taken advantage of is another story.

  My thoughts with this photo were to simply highlight how often we simply walk by or don’t notice the less fortunate around us. My attempt was to make them ghost-like, nearly transparent. Which is how, at times, people treat the less fortunate.

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While none of the photos is exceptionally strong (well the one on the right I grabbed from philanthromedia.org is pretty strong, but he’s nearly transparent, loses a bit of the power–the other I grabbed from a website called Our Modern Youth studentsdiy.com), I am hoping the weight of the message will carry through. Hopefully, this is not just a deadline-induced bad idea.

Day in the Life of…

Today was about the only day I could schedule time to do this assignment, so naturally, I thought I’d finish all aspects today as well. Let me introduce you to my good friend Bob Cutts. Bob is my barber and has been for the last four years. I was introduced to Bob by a good friend and the first few haircuts he gave me were out of his basement. Since then he has moved into his own shop, Studio One A in Southampton. Its a nice place with character that screams Bobs Cutts. Look around and you may see a family photo I took for him a few years ago as well as our softball team’s photo from a few years back. Yea, Bob and I go way back. So, when thinking of a day in the life of, I thought of coming here:

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 Now with this critique, I kinda want to do something different. I submitted a different establishing shot for this assignment, because, this one has a “newspaper focus.”  I tried manual focus for a while and had mixed results. I like this photo, aside from the lack of a proper focal point, because it really sets the scene for the day in the life of Bob Cutts. This is his domain, his place to practice his craft and I think this photo highlights a lot of what people come to expect when they head to Studio One A. The lighting is decent, but the action is minimal.  I took it from a different angle to try to incorporate more into the photo.

 This is the photo I submitted as an establishing shot for this assignment:

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Not as good, but the focus is better. The action is still there and it still somewhat sets the scene. I did have to crop this one because it was canted. (I wasn’t trying to crawl on the floor and crouching got me this) However, I still feel this is a strong photo to show the scene and little more than simply someone getting a haircut. The blur of the fan blades is a lucky thing because I had the shutter so low to compensate for the light. After typing that sentence I realized that I could have simply raised the ISO, but no that idea didn’t occur to me.

General News…

I’ve said it before, but each time we get an assignment, an idea immediately springs to my mind.Sometimes it has worked out, sometimes it has not. The news story was a case where it did not. First, a little thing called perseverance really helps if you want to get the story you want. Three times I had to go to the folks in Pius to try to get access to the fourth and fifth floors to make some pictures. I was a step away, when I succumbed to the pressure of time and simply found a subject I could photograph.

I knew it would be more difficult, but I decided it was better than nothing as deadline was approaching. Still would have liked to get to the 4th and 5th floors though. “Safety.” Meh!Image

Not my best work in this class, but with communicating news, I did want to tell a story. My new friend Joe was kind enough to help me out and let me snap some shots of him at work. With this photo, I wanted to show the whole project, pull back a little for some perspective. I much prefer to have faces in photos, however, I think its clear he is at work.The photo is a bit over exposed, I was really trying to find the balance between the dark, recessed ceiling and the bright outside the awning. Thankfully, my ISO was right where I wanted it this time.

Sports

Taylor Essner rushes across the line of scrimmage after the quarterback during an intramural game Wednesday March 28, 2012 at Saint Louis University. Essner, a sophomore at the university, joined the intramural team with his fraternity brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon, who were playing in the first intramural league game of the season. (SLU Photo/John Silwanus)

This was such a fun assignment.  I love sports.  Though I did procrastinate until the near zero hour, it was a pretty good shoot.  However, I do want to warn everyone to heed Erik’s advice when he says, “Reset the camera as soon as you get it out of the Media Center.”  I realized only after returning home that I complicated this shoot immensely by having my ISO at 1600 in the full sun of 430pm. Yes, a little more difficult than necessary.

Anyway, I chose this photo to critique because it is not a typical sports shot, I hope.  The action is in the explosion of that first second after the center snaps the ball.  I like the photo because this is one you snap and hope you catch the right action.  Many of the elements in it are clean, no real background noise, a slight blur of a head in the foreground, the focus is almost obscured and you don’t see the football. I discarded this photo on first glance because I missed Taylor’s determined look in looking for the center’s hand on the football.  Then I saw it and decided to keep this photo. Its not the best of the bunch, but I think its still a decent photo.

Telling a story…

In looking for photos for a feature this week, I realized I am pretty excited about the upcoming photo story project. I feel like with looking for a feature photo, I was also looking for detail shots and supporting frames to capture to help tell the story. But, that will have to wait.

  Anyway, about this assignment, I have been to Cafe Ventana this week more than I have in my life. Its a great place. So, when I heard feature photo, I pictured a person behind a large espresso machine staring intently into a cup as steam rose up around their face. This picture is as close as I could get to that today. The staff at Cafe Ventana were great to allow me to hang out behind the counter for about a half hour while I snapped and dodged their ever-hustling selves. All of them were easy to chat with and willing to cooperate with the guy with the camera.

  I like this photo because the lighting at Ventana was a “magic hour-esque” orange right over the espresso machine. That and because its got the steam that I had used as my inspiration. Its not a great photo because the action is hidden behind the bulk of the machine. As well, I did cut off a bit of my man Britt’s hair.It also feels like less than a full profile, if he had turned toward the machine more it might help to be more of one. However, I do think the lighting and crisp focus (thanks autofocus!) help to make it feature-worthy.

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Joy is in the eyes…

As has been the case with many of the assignments we have been given in this class, I knew immediately who and what I wanted to capture for a great portrait. And in customary fashion, that changed.  I set out wanting to photograph two of my friends who are simply filled with joy. However, I ended up finding another friend and coworker of mine who ended up being an excellent subject for portraiture.

Meet my buddy Jim.  Jim works as a bartender in the hotel I work at.  I have known Jim for about a year, but I enjoy working with him as he is a funny guy and is consistently in a good mood when he’s at work.

I chose this photo to critique, because its safe for him and his face isn’t plastered on this blog for all of us to take apart, but also because I nearly missed this shot.  I was trying to get Jim working so I asked him to make a drink for a pretend guest.  After making the drink for the 10th time, we laughed at something and he responded with an over-the-top Jim laugh.  It was a good moment.

In looking at the photo though, I wonder if this frame might have been better suited if I were up nearly eye-level with him.  Getting a little more of his actual face would help in more easily identifying him.  I do like the low angle and that the shot is pulled back to help capture some of the environment.  I am thankful I wasn’t stubborn this time and shooting with manual focus, because I am pretty sure I would have missed this moment.

Overall, I like the idea of taking portraits and I do hope to do it again for more friends.


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