Laughter is the best medicine!

ImageToday was a very summery day. There was a golden haze outside and everyone seemed to be just enjoying the nice cool breeze and activity in the Quad. I decided after class to bring out my camera and just photograph random people playing football or walking in the Quad and then I ran into these two on a hammock: Lisa Godfrey and Chelsea Del Rosso! They are actually two of my really good friends! At first, I didn’t even tell them that I was taking a picture of them. I just kept creeping closer towards them and snapping pictures. They were just laying in the hammocks making jokes about each other’s day and knew right away that it would form a perfect emotion picture. Chelsea is on the right and she was just laughing  to Lisa’s joke about her Theology class.

What I like about this picture is that it does show raw emotion and in terms of technical aspects – I am pretty happy about the lighting, and composition of this picture.


Apple- New King of Technology!

An Apple a day, keeps the mind at play and Microsoft away. Apple product line only gets bigger as years go by. (AP Photo, Niharika Goparaju)

This project really juiced out my creativity and even though I wasn’t entirely happy with the technical aspect of it, I really loved the whole process of it from the drawing board all the way to taking the picture.

On Thursday, I was sitting around just texting my friends and messing around on my laptop trying to brainstorm of what to shoot for this assignment. Then, it just hit me. At that moment I was surrounded by apple products from my iPod, to my iPhone to my Macbook Pro. I knew that I had to do something that screamed APPLE. The company is so innovative and is one of the most successful companies known today. I didn’t know how to symbolize power, ingenuity and originality – three qualities that the company displays. I knew that I didn’t want to just simply take pictures of my Apple products, because then the assignment would not be an illustration. I just kept thinking of what Professor Lunsford had said in class, “If you can be organic then do it! Otherwise explore away on Photoshop!” I really wanted to create a concept by hand and not just layer elements on Photoshop! That’s why I thought it would be cool to take an edible apple and carve out the Apple symbol on there with a peeler and then somehow illuminate it in the picture.

I decided to carve a hole in the back of the fruit and maybe place an iPhone behind it with the light on so that the Apple symbol that was carved in the fruit would shine.Then, I also added the headphones on the apple to make it similar to an iPod or an Apple product. I then turned off the lights, and put the whole project down on a white piece of paper and tried to take the picture on Manual Settings without flash.

Taking the picture was the hardest part. As can be seen in the picture above, there is a reflection of the white paper and it creates a very bad aesthetic overall. The flashlight coming from the iPhone is also not concentrated just into the apple but extends outward and makes the center of the picture too yellow. The headphones can’t be seen clearly and the lighting is horrible. Clearly, this is not one of my stronger pictures in terms of technical aspects. I wish I had better lighting apparatus to deal with and maybe also a flashlight that I could have used instead of the iPhone. I should have also put the apple on a better surface to avoid the reflection of the paper.

That’s okay! Sometimes, mistakes in photography only yield in greater insight for future assignments and shots. In the process of this class, I’ve really learned a lot from the process of each assignment, even if my final product isn’t on par!

Shoe Shining!


Ty Stephens polishes his customer's shoes at St. Louis Lambert Airport Shoe Shine on Wednesday, April 5, 2012 in Saint Louis, Mo. (Niharika Goparaju/ AP Photo)

There is a service for everything! As I was leaving on spring break today to come back to Michigan, I stopped to notice these smiling individuals. “Ty-the-shoe-shine-guy” as he calls himself was actively talking to his clients at Lambert airport! I tried to get different angles to capture him in his core essence! I like that there is human interaction in this photo. I do not like that I took a vertical shot. I should have taken a horizontal frame as it would have included more of the action going on. I also dislike the sunlight behind Ty in this picture as it is a bit annoying! Overall, it was a fun shoot!

Sheryl WuDunn – Keynote Speaker for Atlas Week!

Sheryl WuDunn, reporter, author and business executive, and Pulitzer-prize winner signs her new book "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" at a book signing at Saint Louis University on Thursday, March, 29, in Saint Louis, Mo.

It’s quite amazing how being a photographer gives you the opportunity to meet new people and sheds light to worthwhile  causes that you may have never noticed. That is exactly what happened tonight for me. All week, I wanted to shoot this event and have been waiting for it as it has been advertised for several weeks now around campus:        ” Pulitzer Prize winning-reporter, author and business executive Sheryl WuDunn, will deliver the keynote address at Saint Louis University’s 12th Annual Sam and Marilyn Fox Atlas Week Signature Symposium at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 29, in the Wool Ballroom of the University’s Busch Student Center, 20 N. Grand Blvd. at Laclede. ” 

Honestly, I didn’t really know much about Sheryl WuDunn, but when I decided to take on the assignment – I researched her just so that I’d have a picture of who she was before I went and shot her pictures. The more I researched her, the more excited I got for the assignment!

What jumpstarted and fixated me on taking pictures of the Altas Week Symposium Speaker? Well, it was that day in  class that Professor Lunsford showed us the picture story he had taken of “Soldier Hard.” Soldier Hard was an inspirational man, ex-military and now inspirational speaker and I kind of wanted to do a very similar assignment in a shorter time span just to get the feel of what Professor Lunsford did on his assignment.  So, I took on this similar mini- assignment. I got to follow around Sheryl WuDunn for a span of 4 hours today from 4:30-8:30. I first met her at her book signing in the BSC where she was available for an hour, then went to the Atlas Week Speaker Symposium and finally stuck around for the mini reception afterwards.

This picture above was just one of several that I took of her signing a book for students. I like the fact that this picture is in focus, blurs the background and the blue table cloth in the front of the picture gives it a warm cool feel as well.I do not like that there was a person in the background of Sheryl as this was a bit distracting. I shot it from this angle because I wanted to get the cover of the book as she was signing it. My settings for this picture were in manual, no flash because it was creating a lot of glare and was unnecessary! I wish I had gotten a bit more of an expressive face as she was signing the book, as it would have definitely made for a better picture. I used a 55mm-300mm lens which is what creates a telephoto compression effect and I do like that about the picture.

Throughout the night, I feel like I got to not only experience a very cool speaker, but more importantly save the experience through pictures!


Sports Photography!

The Saint Louis Billiken’s in-fielder, CJ Rose guards Temple Owls batsman Taylor Duran in the seventh inning at first base on Saturday, Mar. 24, 2012, at Billiken Sports Center in Saint Louis, Mo. The Saint Louis Billikens defeated Temple Owls Saturday afternoon in a 2-1 streak by scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. (AP Photo/Niharika Goparaju)

Sai Alla, Senior, plays tennis at Barnes Jewish Tennis Courts!

This was my first ever sports photography assignment and boy did I learn a lot from it! My most beneficial experience was shooting tennis games at nightime as I  realized that setting up my camera features was almost near to impossible! The pictures weren’t too bad, but I was not satisfied because it was so hard to get the action freeze framed even with a high shutter speed (as you can see above in the second picture). So, that’s when I decided that I had to do better and turn in pictures that were crisp, clear, but yet still conveyed the aura of spirit, competition and action! That’s why for my assignment I turned in five pictures from the Saint Louis Billikens baseball game against the Temple Owls. Baseball was a lot easier to shoot than tennis, but unfortunately I felt like I had less action shots. Another compromise I had to make was the fact that I could not chose any actions shots because the ones with the action shots had very disrupting backgrounds! I do like the first picture above as it has a crisp background and still captures the anxiety and emotion in the players. Overall, this assignment helped me figure out aspects of timing, helped me really learn my AP captions better and let me practice more technical aspects of the camera better like ISO, shutter speed and aperture!

Feature – Skateboarding!

Jordan Garrido skates around on his new wakeboard to blow steam after midterms on Friday, Mar. 9, 2012, in Saint Louis, Mo. “I just started learning how to board two months ago and now it’s something I can’t live without,” said Saint Louis University Junior Jordan Garrido. (SLU Photo/ Niharika Goparaju).

Feature assignment! Till now I have not had the opportunity to shoot a picture where shapes, shadows just came together to form a masterpiece. I’ve been waiting for that moment. I met Jordan for the first time today outside the apartment complex I live in, The Flats, just skating around on his wakeboard. I went up to him and asked him if I could take a couple pictures and smiled a little and immediately agreed. I really liked this picture for its simplicity. I love how the black, white and grey colors come together. The black rectangular shadow on the left adds to the composition of this photo and perfectly matches Jordan’s black shirt. The shadow of the pillar on the ground also frames the photo and overall I really like that Jordan is not centered in this picture. I loved taking this picture because in the end, I made a new friend! Jordan was intrigued of why I was taking pictures and in the end he even mentioned that if I teach him how to ride a bike, he’ll teach me how to skateboard! I love how one picture can connect two people.

Portraits on a Windy Day!

Carl Maricinni, a Saint Louis Water Department worker, poses for a portrait on Feb. 29, 2012, in Saint Louis, MO. (SLU Photo/ Niharika Goparaju).

I will never forget the movie Forrest Gump. For one thing it has my all time favorite quote in it: “My mama always said that life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get!” It’s a very simple yet, powerful quote. I experienced this surprise of you- never- know-what-you- are -going -to- get yesterday when I set out to take  portrait pictures! I was super lucky in the sense that opportunities just presented themselves and that it seemed like people were out and about just so I could take portraits!  Just like that I ran into Carl and Tyrell, two Saint Louis Water Department construction workers. They were outside The Flats working on fixing a broken fire hydrant and I simply asked if I could take a few portraits in their work environment during break. They were very happy and agreed immediately as they said that no one has ever taken pictures of them before and that they felt important! They immediately started doing ridiculous poses and I had to break the news to them that I didn’t want any fake and awkward poses. I told them to just relax and to just “feel the environment.” Carl (pictured above) as soon as he heard that looked of into the distance and in my head I knew that could be a possible frame. I do like the photograph as it is a portrait photograph of him in his natural state and it does capture his “essence” which is his ruggedness and rough personality. Unfortunately, in the background the blurred and out of focus tree branches are a bit distracting and I wish I had moved him to another location to counter for that! All in all, this was a very fun assignment because I love interacting with people and getting to know their story. I know that I will do a lot more of portrait photography as they interest me!


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