Category : projects

Advanced Techniques: Single Flash

9 years, 4 months ago grad school, photography, projects 0

Bounce Flash:

Mayoral candidate Bob McDavid answers a question at the forum held Wednesday evening on the University of Missouri’s campus. Audience members provided the questions for the candidates at the event jointly sponsored by the Missouri Students Association and the Associated Students of the University of Missouri. Renters rights and downtown security cameras were hot topics for discussion.

Direct Flash:

Missouri freshman J. J. Bowles, an ambassador of the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, created cards to signal to the candidate speaking that their time was running out for the question at hand. The mayoral forum held in conjunction with the Missouri Students Association on Wednesday featured five of the six candidates running for election in April.


In full disclosure, the bounce flash photo above ran on the Missourian’s website today as part of the full storyon the forum. I’m covering the mayor’s race for an independent study, and although I didn’t want to do it, I photographed the forum for both class and the Missourian. After much deliberation on which images to hand in for class, I ended up selecting the bounce flash photo above, even though it had already been selected for the online package. It really was one of the best-lit photos with a real, journalistic moment.

This assignment was a rollercoaster of emotions towards my flash (don’t laugh), but I definitely have much more respect for it now. I’ll tame this beast . . . someday.

Advanced Techniques: Metal and Glass

9 years, 4 months ago grad school, photography, projects 0

“Bad Dog”

A news aficionado’s nightmare – coming home to find that your dog Rocco or Princess let loose on the house and destroyed the Sunday paper before reading it – may soon change with the  industry’s uncertain future in print.

And here’s the lighting plan.


Part of me wishes this photo came out more stylized, and the other part LOVES that it could pass as natural light. Every bit of light was deliberate, from making sure the bone is bright to adding a tiny bit of fill on the food in the bowl to get rid of a shadow from the bone. I’m finding that I really like this studio stuff. It’s HARD. But it makes me think, and it feels so rewarding to come away with a frame that makes me happy.

Also, now Scott and I have to get a dog someday. We already have the bowl!

Advanced Techniques: Classmate Portrait

9 years, 5 months ago grad school, photography, projects 0

Missouri senior Jonathan Hinderliter shows off his sunglasses during a portrait session on February 13, 2010. Hinderliter balances his love of fashion, shoes and shopping with his sharp personality, cynical tendencies and a penchant for arguments.

Lighting diagram for my single-light portrait. I like arrows and stick figures. Reminds me of this.


Sorry for the unannounced intrusion, blog friends. I’ll be updating on occasion with posts like this – it’s part of my assignment for my photo class. Anything that’s prefixed with “Advanced Techniques” in the title is for the class. The purist in me thought about keeping these kinds of posts relegated to an old blog location, but then I figured it might be fun to keep all my posts together. You’ll see outtakes from various assignments throughout the semester, plus now some finals for submission. Hooray for process! Hooray for blogging!

At least it’ll give me a guaranteed post every so often. I have a list that’s about four topics long of photos I want to blog. Soon, I promise.

Photo stories are easier to edit when they’re not yours.

9 years, 9 months ago grad school, photography, projects 0

day270 :: year three

Almost midnight, Monday.

This week’s (well, and last week’s too) project for Fundamentals was the classmate project. [cue scary music] We picked names out of a box for a round-robin style photo assignment, where I photographed someone, they photographed someone else, who was photographing someone else, and so on.

The goal?

Tell this person’s story. Whether it’s a literal ‘thing,’ like the significance of this one kid’s blue shoes, or a feeling, as with the adjusting period of some of our international students, we needed to convey the story in picures. It’s a lot harder than it seems.

My story was about Christie, a stretched-thin sophomore taking 19 credits and being active in a sorority and three other volunteer groups on campus. I wish I could have had another week to work on the project, but I lost that due to MPW. More situations in which to take photos may have brought a bit more variety to the images. But we learn from each assignment, and I hope to carry that across to the next big story project, our final.

Here’s my opening image.

day267 :: year three

Editing was tough. I knew I wanted certain photos, but filling in the holes was near impossible. I found myself attached to certain images, but tossing them aside for something that told the story clearer or was better technically. Eventually, I went back to the entire take and found some overlooked gems that ended up in the final edit.

But looking at my classmates’ projects, I could easily see what worked and what didn’t. I knew what I wanted to see to drive the story that the photographer didn’t necessarily have. This time, I was a bit more vocal in the critique, making sure to ask “what’s the story?” if it wasn’t inherently clear. Usually I’m on the quiet side, as our critiques are often much more lenient than I would be if left to my own devices. Today, I felt it appropriate to ask that simple question and make those critical observations. I hope my comments helped.

Maybe I am good at this editing thing. But only when the photos aren’t mine.

Too close. A little too close.

9 years, 10 months ago grad school, photography, projects 0

Grad school is slowly turning my brain into mush and re-organizing the compartments where the goo gets stored for easier access to the newly important information.

Or so it feels.

For my latest Fundamentals of Photojournalism project, I’ve been feeling a bit apprehensive about shooting. Not necessarily the act of taking photos, but in finding a good place to achieve the goal of the project.

See, I live near downtown, and everyone photographs downtown. I see these hippie-looking, homeless-looking denizens hanging around outside one of the coffee shops, and I think, “I really want to photograph them. I want to know why they are hanging around all the time. I want to know the toothless guy’s story. And the pregnant girl’s story. Why are they here.”

But, as shown in our first class critique, they get photographed and interviewed all the time. I don’t want to be typical. I don’t want to be where everyone else has been. (Even if their efforts have not produced the stories I want to hear.)

The rest of downtown has this same feel. There’s so many interesting spots and people, and I feel as though I’d be selling out if I completed an assignment there. But then again, if everyone has this feeling, then no stories will come from downtown. And that would be a shame.

So, today’s assignment took me all through downtown for a second time. I thought maybe if I took my bike down, I’d stumble across something interesting, maybe something no one else thought to cover before. Nope. Just apprehension about even walking into a situation to ask that tortuous question, “Can I take your picture?”

And then I remembered the animal rescue just a few blocks from my house.

Bingo! Something clicked as I walked up and I felt like myself again, able to put myself into the situation I needed for my project. The many volunteers were quite welcoming and let me hang around for about an hour or so. I got fantastic information, took a bunch of photos (some perfect for my project), and even heard some interesting ideas to possibly pursue for my final project.

Moments like these are rare. I need to remember that not every assignment will be easy to find, and not to give up until I get what I need. For every time I worry that maybe this project will fail, I need to get out and try again.

Because I can do this.

day242 :: year three