Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 88 of 365 - Just look her in the eyes... then turn and walk away...

Photo by Andrew Kufahl

My Day 88 photo was not an easy one at all. I started off with basically zero ideas. Eventually I came up with one that went nowhere fast, and immediately ditched. Next, I started doing a proof-of-concept that I've had rolling around in my head for a while. After about an hour of essentially failure after failure, I abandoned that idea as well. However, within that proof of concept I discovered something that I'm sure I'll use in the future.

Eventually I ended-up in a spot where I've been wanting to shoot for a while. Once again though, I was at a loss regarding what to do. I had already went with a light setup that was unfamiliar to me, in order to inspire new ideas. I changed my shirt and added a tie to try and get a different look going. When I sat up on the couch and grabbed an unlit cigarette... things started to take shape.

I was using a studio light with just a reflector on it, and only utilizing the modelling light (i.e. no flash). Throughout the evening (through all my failures) I had familiarized myself with the lighting pattern that was being created by the light setup. So when I finally came up with a pose and a "mood", I was pretty confident regarding how the light needed to be setup in order to get me what I want.

I turned the light toward the camera for two reasons. First, I actually wanted to create a washed-out look by flaring the lens. I know this kind of stuff can be done in post-processing, but I'm not too big on doing things in post when I can do them "live". I also turned the light toward the camera because I just wanted a small sliver of light on my face. By having the light turned at such a drastic angle, I knew the camera-left side would be in the extreme fall-off of the very edge of the light, and because of the head position the camera-right side of my face wouldn't be directly illuminated. Hence, just a small portion of my face was illuminated. Other than that, I just tried to keep the cigarette so that it was being slightly backlit (rim light) by the main light... so that it wouldn't get lost in the shadows too much. Yet I had to keep the cigarette on the fringes of the light-edge so that it wouldn't get blown-out because of it's proximity to the light.

When all was said-and-done, I spent quite a few hours from start-to-finish on this photo. And I chained smoked 3 cigarettes before I finally got a good photo... which made me a little sick to my stomach, and stunk my house up really good (bad).

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