Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 74 of 365 - Melodic Phrases As Smooth As Butter, Brought To You By... The Jazzman

Photo by Andrew Kufahl

I guess you could call this one "the shot that wasn't supposed to happen"... There was absolutely no intent of even attempting this photo today. In fact, the clarinet wasn't supposed to make it's initial appearance until it was featured in the photo it was originally purchased for. However, once again my day was coming to a close and I hadn't even taken my camera out... so I was being "reactionary".

I won't talk about the photo that the clarinet is supposed to be featured in, because I still plan on doing it. Instead, I'll keep my conversation related to this photo you see here.

I was wanting to get away from these low-key/dark photos for a while, because I seem to be doing a lot of them lately. But in a pinch, they tend to be a little easier to do because I don't have to worry as much about backgrounds or environments. So that is probably what led to this one being (once again) so low-key/dark.

I wanted to create a "live concert" feel... which was based off of something I saw a couple months ago on American Idol. Let's get something straight though.. I don't watch American Idol, but a friend of mine was showing me YouTube clips from one of the shows, and one particular entertainer's lighting-setup really caught my eye. Let's get something else straight... I didn't mimic that lighting setup nearly as closely as I would have liked to, but that's the downfall once again of having to complete a photo a day... time is an enemy.

My first thought was to do a straight-up rim-light. The problem though, was that it was way too static... I didn't feel any sense of emotion with just seeing an outline of a dude playing a clarinet. At some point I decided to frame the light in the photo, and things kind of started to change.... that move kind of gave a bit of life to things. But, I still didn't dig the straight-up rim light. I kept changing my pose around until I accidentally showed my far eye, and that's when I knew I had something. Seeing that eye, and seeing it closed, really seemed to bring a sense of emotion/passion out. I also liked it that more of the suit was visible.

The next task was to make sure the fingers could be seen a little better. That's when I threw a flash on the ground and pointed it upward. That bit of illlumination helped make the fingers stand-out much more, giving them a more active role in the image. Granted, I do worry that a real clarinet player is going to scold me for having my fingerings all wrong... but, I don't have the time to get that 100% correct (because time is an enemy).

The next key thing was to make sure the end of the clarinet was illuminated. With the way the lighting was up until this point, I was losing the end of it in the darkness. I kept jockeying the floor flash around until I got it to go inside the end, and then it was just a matter of getting my pose correct in order to see the end at just a slight angle.

Posing was a real bastard on this shot. Normally, with a shot like this, I will really play. Because, believe it or not, it is really easy to see when someone is faking it. For example, doing a pose that makes it look like you are walking looks nowhere near as good as actually walking. Playing a clarinet is no different. My best test shots were the ones where I was really getting into it. But there was a big problem... The problem is that most times on my self-portraits I eventually find the EXACT pose I want, and then I repetitiously shoot it over and over and over until I get it. This clarinet shot though, was like no other self-portrait I've ever done... in that I HAD TO have the body angle, and clarinet angle, and the face turned enough to see the far eye, and not have my nose break outside of my far cheek, and not have too much of my far eye showing. Yeah, I was a freak about getting it THAT exact. So, I employed my wife. I told her every little nit-picky thing that I needed. So, she monitored me very closely and called out instructions. She did very well, cause we nailed it after a couple of shots.

The biggest stupid mistake I made on this shoot, was that I didn't change my pants. I left my jeans on, with all my junk in my pockets, and paid for it in post-processing. So my advice to anyone that wants it is this... Don't ever do anything half-assed. If you are going to do it, do it 100%. I thought I had learned my lesson on this, as up until this photo I have been doing the 100% thing... but alas I failed again. Luckily, a square crop worked just fine on this... but I'm still not happy about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment