A while back my grandpa and his wife came down to visit and had asked me to take a portrait of the two of them. I agreed and started thinking about how I would set this up. Since I have graduated from my career school I don’t have a studio type environment anymore so I settled for my kitchen. The Camera I used was a Nikon D3000 with a 18-55mm lens and a shoe mount flash. The way I set this up was I took a queen sized black bed sheet and pinned it to a wall in my dining room. I didn’t realize that they had planned to wear black outfits so that was a little bump in the road. I didn’t dare ask them to change though because I thought I could probably work with this and older people really don’t like spending much time in photo shoots. So with what I had I took a few different shots and started to edit. I found a different background and simply superimposed the couple into it as clean as I could. Here are the before and after shots of this shoot. If I didn’t explain this process could you tell it was changed?
Landscapes have always been one of my favorite things to photograph. In the town I live in I really didn’t think I would find much to take pictures of. So I looked and looked and ended up at the lake and a bunch of country back roads. I went hiking through a bunch of mud at the lake to get to the water falls. I had to work around people and lots of trees. When I drove on the backroads I ended up getting a bunch of fences in my shots because I actually took the pictures from a car window while my Dad was driving. And because of this I tried to shoot high and get a lot of sky in the picture. My Dad asks me “Why are you getting so much sky in the pictures”? Well recently we have been having a bunch of storms and rain come through so the sky had some nice clouds that I knew if I burned in Photoshop they would turn out really nice, and they did! (Have I mentioned that I’m Photoshop certified!?) If I were to do these same pictures again I would get out of the car to completely avoid the fences and get a better shot of the land. I personally think these pictures came out well and I am pleased with the results. I hope you enjoy them! Get outside and appreciate the beauty of God’s creations!
This is my set up. I used the auto tech garage at my school for careers. (Thank you to the teachers for making it free of cars) It worked out perfectly because it was really dark. I set up in the middle of the garage with a backdrop holder. I just clipped a black queen size sheet up to use as a background. From there we added two lights one on each side to light up the body and the flour. i just used a roll of black paper as the flooring for this and held it down with some heavy equipment from the shop. On the sides of the floor was a reflector (left in picture) And then I placed something to hold up another black sheet on the right side to block the glare from the light as you can see in the first picture. After I got everything set up I had my photography teacher throw up some flour so I could see if the light was bright enough to capture it. He then drowned my models (health students) in flour. This was a big mess. It was also dangerous. When my models jumped and came back down they would occasionally slip on the flour so we had to be very careful. After the project was completed it was clean up time. We took all the equipment down and cleared the floor so it could be swept and sprayed down. Again very dangerous because when we swept up the flour it was still slippery and we had to be careful walking around. Especially when we started to spray down the ground and the flour mixing with the water made dough. This was worse then just walking on the flour. But in the end we got the garage cleaned and I hope my models came clean too. Big thanks to all my models, teachers and assistants (Ashley, Mitchel, Smallwood, My health students, Jason, and the shop teachers for allowing me to use their space as a studio). The results are amazing.
Finding wildflower fields in Texas has been a struggle for me this year. Due to the drought, most of what we used to have isn’t coming back. The flowers that I do see are small patches of bluebonnets off the side of the road in areas that are not exactly safe to stop. Maybe I started my search too soon, they may or may not come out soon. So I drove around and didn’t find patches anywhere! So my Mom called up her brother to see if he had any flowers on his land in Florence, TX. He said yes and allowed me to go out and shoot for a bit. My aunt walked my mom and I around the land and they had plenty to take pictures of. This included bluebonnets, cactus, and many other flowers I don’t know the names of. For some of the pictures I used macro tubes. This was my first time playing with the tubes so I’m not really sure if I like them or not. It was weird getting so close up to something and then focusing on it when you got close enough. I don’t know why but at times I wasn’t sure If I had the flower in focus or not. Because of this I would take multiple shots of the same flower, adjusting the focus ever so slightly each time. It was also cloudy outside so I was constantly changing my WB. I would have it set for cloudy when it wasn’t very bright outside, then when the sun decided to shine its face I would change it to sunny. Of course along with this I would adjust my ISO as well. And when I would get in a shady spot I would use the cameras flash. So this trip kept me busy changing settings. I had to be patient the whole time. For example when I would finally get my settings right the wind would blow and the flowers would move, making it hard for my to manually focus on them, and when the wind stopped blowing a cloud would cover the sun or the sun would come out causing me to change my WB once again. But at the end of the day I’m just glad I found some flowers! Big thanks to my aunt and uncle for walking me through their land. I greatly appreciate it.
Writing with sparklers was definitely a bigger challenge for me than writing with flashlights. I found it harder to be creative with what to draw because of the sparks. The first idea that came to mind was Cinderella and her fairy Godmother going “bibbidi bobbidi boo!” For this I used my grandmother and young cousin. My dad then suggested how about somebody welding? So I decided to use my brother who in fact is already a welder. We just had him pull the welder out and stick a sparkler in the rod and pretended to weld while wearing the safety mask. This turned out well in my opinion. With writing I found the biggest complication. The wind was pretty strong as I was doing this and when I was writing names and such I was trying not to get burned but in the process of that my body ended up blocking the light. Also with sparklers your time is limited before it dies so you have to work quickly. I have learned that sparklers are more fun to play with than flashlights but flashlights make for better pictures in my opinion. To do this project I used the settings f5.6 iso100 and my ss was set on bulb
Welcome to Harker Heights Elementary School! Home of the Bobcats where they are learning to be the leaders of tomorrow. I knew the Principle of this school personally because I had attended this school for six years. It was very strange coming back to this school after several years but it reminded me of my childhood. I did not take a camera bag into the school, only my camera with a small zoom lens. I didn’t have to direct her to do anything, I just followed her around. She would check up on every classroom to see how they were doing and would even sit and talk with some kids about their assignment. But the life of a principle isn’t as easy as I make it sound, there are some behind scenes issues that was not to be photographed, such as trouble with a parent. I did not have any trouble with lighting except for recess when the light is obviously a lot brighter than lights inside of a building. I wasn’t continuously shooting I just waited for the right moments. I totally forgot by the end of the day that I needed to get a self portrait of her in her normal work environment, so I walked into the office and she was busy on the phone so I waved goodbye and she looked up and smiled and I took the shot. This was a fairly successful shoot in my opinion and it was fun being reunited with the school that I hadn’t walked inside of in years!