The love of the game

For this assignment I decided to have my Nikon tag along with me to Tuesday night’s edition of the Cardinals game against the Cincinnati Reds. Baseball is a nostalgic and romantic experience and I was in search of finding a similar romance in the stands.

Pictured here is a pair of lovers I spotted, framed within the field. There is a gentleness in this picture and a calm notion. Overall, the emotion portrayed is a peaceful love of each other and the game itself. Nothing is quite like an evening spent at the ballpark with a loved one.

I particularly enjoy the backwards hat (brownie points Erik?) on the lady because it places the story in St. Louis and I feel like the use of depth of focus made this for a decent frame. If I could rewind time and re-do something, I would have liked to get a little lower to include his arm around her back. It would have rounded out the image a little more.

Illustration

I wanted to send a contemporary message through my illustration and hopefully it is quite clear through my image.

My Photoshop skills are primitive to say the least, but conceptually, I feel like my illustration is pretty straight forward. Execution wise, it is a little jagged and could have been put together a little more smoothly. I came up with the idea because my roommate chews tobacco often, despite the noted health risks labeled on the tin. I feel like this illustration creates a paradoxical approach to the issue of chewing tobacco and the health risks associated with it.

People at Work

My summer job as a waiter has taught me that people in the restaurant biz not only work hard, but also take a ton of pride in what they do. I decided to head over to Bogart’s Smokehouse in Soulard and got a behind the scenes look at some of their prep work for tomorrow’s lunch rush they were doing as they closing for the day today.

Although I would have like to have gotten some action shots during the actual lunch hours, this is good consolation prize.

Both of the workers in the photo were laughing the entire time I was back there. They were tossing together the ingredients for Bogart’s baked beans, which include a little extra smoke meat in there. I liked their overall attitude and I think this frame captured it perfectly. They were kidding about how the beans felt in there hands.

Speaking of the hands, there is a little motion blur in there, but I think that shows they were tossing those legumes vigorously!

General News

Struggling to find a news assignment, I stumbled upon the construction crew building the new dugouts for the softball field. Perfect!

I like this shot because of the texture of the mortar being shaved of the brick and the strain in his hands. The “punctum” of the picture has to be this old man’s belt buckle. I wonder how long that man has had that horse riding across his belt for.

I feel like I got some relatively good frames out of the assignment, but all of my photos have a slight bluish hue and I’m not quite sure why. Obviously, I still have some technical ineptness with the hardware…

Sports

As a student worker in the athletic department here at SLU, I had the chance to travel to the men’s NCAA tournament game a few weeks back in Columbus, Ohio. I landed an all-access pass for the weekend and decided to wedge myself down in the photographer’s pit underneath the basket for a half of game action between the Georgetown Hoyas and Belmont Bruins. This provided a great chance to chat with professionals from the AP, Sports Illustrated, and the Washington Post.

Lighting was less than optimal at times, since some of the photographers were attached to a remote flash from the ceiling. This ruined a couple potentially awesome photos because the flash would come in at an awkward time in the frame, lighting only partially. I fiddled with some of the settings on the camera, stressing the shutter speed function so that I could maximize freezing the action in the fast-paced game.

I enjoy this particular frame because of the facial expressions on all three of the visible player’s faces. All of them are so intense, but in different ways. I wish I had a better telephoto lens during the game. All of my shots were pretty much wide frames, and it was tough to get a close-up of the action. The pros I was squatting next to had three cameras each with lenses averaging about one foot long. I feel like I could have blown this assignment out of the water with their equipment, but oh well.

Portrait

Pressed for time this week, I decided to get a jump on this project on Monday. I set up a mock studio in my apartment and invited my subjects (friends) to come down and show off their million dollar smiles and personalities. At first they were hesitant in front of my intruding camera lens, but eventually they opened up.

I kept things simple with a plain white background—a fluffy white blanket—and a black and white filter in post-production. Due to a lack of professional-quality lighting and experience, I experimented with a lot of different functions on the camera. Out of all the tinkering around I did, I think the flash bailed me out the most. My first 50 or so photos sans flash were dull and left everyone’s face resembling oatmeal.

In this photo, I think I captured the essence of my roommate Murph perfectly. Plain and simple, the kid is a character. This shot came at a point when he was caught off guard, but in this impromptu moment, you can peer into his personality. The raised eyebrow, dumb smirk, flowing locks, and tipped-back cap all play a distinct role in his being. It’s tough to take this kid serious and it is tough to look at this picture with a straight face, at least for me.

I liked the simplicity of this assignment, but I truly wish I had more time to prepare for it and explore other options. My suggestion for doing a portrait set on librarians would be really interesting to execute and would be a chance to break the mold of the common interpretation of the librarian. Unfortunately, due to a pressure-packed work and school load, I will be unable to follow-up on that. So, if you’re reading this and struggling to find a focus, feel free to scoop it up and use it!

Weather

I appreciated the leniency of the assignment, but because of its broadness, it was difficult to find inspiration. I checked out the camera on Monday, hoping to get a jump on the assignment, but had to wait until Wednesday before I stumbled upon a “weather” moment.

Image

I was rolling into my apartment complex, when I spotted this triad chilling outside enjoying this moment of brief sunshine. When I asked them if I could snap a few photos of them, the cheerfully agreed.

I’m a big fan of the shadows in this photograph and I think they play a large part in creating the frame. The sun creates a little spotlight effect on the gentleman on the right. If I could go back in time, I would have turned down the iso a little to help highlight him a little more and tone down the pair in the shadows. The one thing I do not like about his position is that he is looking out of the frame.

Overall, I think this assignment forced me to change my perspective on weather. Before, I looked at it merely as an unchangeable byproduct of mother nature. Now, I have a begun to take notice of the ways random people around me cope with it in their own peculiar ways.

Texture: Take 1

Out of the four categories we were assigned to shoot, texture jumped out to me immediately. I am a big fan of pictures that can make me literally feel what is in the frame. Photos with that quality strike me because they are easy to identify with. Barring those with nerve damage, everyone can sense touch the same.

Who out there can resist the feel of an uber-soft beanbag and a cuddly kitten? That pair is truly a lethal combination. Here we have my attempt to capture the feel of those two elements. I hope you can feel the moment of this picture when you see it.

First off, I think there is a clear roundness captured in the frame. The way the beanbag engulfs the cat presents the softness and sensitivity of the furniture. The furry strands covering the bag are evident and are highlighted with the sunlight trickling in from the side. Without a caption accompanying the photo, I think onlookers would have a difficult time determining what exactly the cat is sitting on. Personally, I like this element of mystery and surprise. Also, I love how her eyes are concentrated on the furniture’s fabric. She is mesmerized by it almost. I guess cats are really curious creatures.

On the negative side of things, it is a little dark for my taste. But maybe the drab feel gives it a sense of calm and peacefulness. Furthermore, I have no idea what type of story this picture would compliment. A pet furniture exposition perhaps?

 

 

Take a sip

Erik’s mantra “follow the light” could not seem to find its way out of my head, as I brainstormed for subject ideas. No matter how crummy of a novice photojournalist I am, I felt like natural light would spice things up a little and make it at least respectable. With the weather being a tad frigid lately, I was not looking to spend an extended period of time outdoors, but I did not want to settle for complete artificial light. Making due, I settled for shooting a few of my buddies eating lunch in the business school atrium. The location also allowed for excellent overhead shooting from the open concourses in the building.

The stained glass windows provide a little spunk to the mostly monotonous colors found elsewhere in the picture. Shooting a man with a black jacket, black glasses, and black hair on a brown background allows for the color of the windows and milk bottle to really shine through. I discovered the bottle of milk and his glasses are on the same plane (sort of) as the stained glass window. To me, this creates a “locomotive” effect and keeps a lot of the action of the photo on the same level. I wish I could say I did that on purpose, but I can’t. On a lighter note (pun!), I really liked the way the sun dances off of his face. It allows you to see the finer details of his facial expression.

On the negative side of things, the frame completely violates the rule of thirds that we stressed so much in class, and that bothers me a bit. It definitely has that boring “portrait” feel.

Wrapping it up, as a complete photography novice, I tried to keep things relatively simple, while still striving to stretch myself out of my comfort zone. I realize this semester is going to be a long learning process and I will probably look back at these photos and get a good chuckle out of them.


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