Now halfway through my most current yearlong photography project (first quarter can be seen here!), the increasingly-varied topics for weeks 14-26 in my Project 52 made for some challenges in going out in the “Snowmageddon” winter that plagued much of the United States. Thankfully, the worst of it all is past, and rarely does it dip into sweater weather anymore in Kentucky. In an effort to keep with my original goal, all the shots in my project are captured with the Sony NEX-7, and with my recent exploration into studio lighting, I have new ways to light my photographs like never before. That said, descriptions accompany all the following images:
When I had to pick a subject representing my favorite food, I realized that I couldn’t come to any one decision on a dish that I craved more than any other. So in an effort to make the choice a little easier, I picked my favorite meal of the day. Though many in the world today skip breakfast to save time in the morning, I find making an effort to get filled up on all the right stuff rewarding in its own right for the health and energy benefits. It is all about balance, though. If I do not offset those toaster strudels with good choices like fruit and wheat cereal, I would only be making it harder on myself. 🙂
Well this one sure was easy. With a week right in the middle of January, the near-daily snow flurries and drifts left a permanent coat of snow on the ground, trees, and buildings. On this particular morning after a windy snowstorm, the photogenic Haupt Humanities building at Transylvania University had an asymmetrical distribution of snow on the roof, and the dirt “T” that holds flowers in the spring was completely covered by drifts. The flags in the photograph further emphasize the wind chill on that particularly frigid day.
My 15-year old cat Scherzo, though advanced in age, shows little sign of turning into a grumpy old furball. However, nowadays he tends to gravitate towards my father whenever he is in the room. On this cold night on a visit home, Scherzo found his place on the couch right behind my father’s head. Content as can be, he can stay in positions like this for hours.
Ben Solee, cellist and singer, and a native of Lexington, gave a concert at Transylvania University during this week to a large crowd. With new and strange techniques on cello, he performs a unique mixture of folk, bluegrass, jazz, and R&B music that connects with an audience on a personal level. Often, throughout his show, he invited children in the audience to express themselves through dance up front in whatever way they seemed fit. As children often are, much of the time they just ran around the front to his energetic music in their own silly way, though everyone involved had a great time.
Immediately following an assignment to shoot an indoor equestrian meet, I came across this abandoned cultivator from what looks like many years back. Usually I shy away from natural light photography in broad daylight, as the harsh shadows and dull sky often detract from an image’s potential. In this situation, however, the light made the rusty texture of the cultivator stand out and have an almost three-dimensional look in the image.
On the morning of yet another snowstorm in February, I was among the first to walk through this courtyard with its gnarly reaching branches, symmetrical steps and windows, and 4-inch-deep snow. Since my Touit is not wide enough to capture a scene like this in all its glory alone, I relied on the sweep panorama feature of my NEX-7 to stitch together multiple frames in-camera. To this day I am impressed by this software, as it has no trouble stitching even the most difficult patterns like the tall and irregular branches.
Though many would choose candy or chocolate as a subject to embody sweetness, I leaned more towards fruit in my interpretation of this week’s topic. In this image I held a bare SB-800 at close range above the sweet and tiny pieces of a clementine. The slight backlighting of the front rows shows the translucence of the fruit, as well as its inside texture of fiber and juice. The color even managed to spill over into the harsh shadows to give them all a distinct glow.
To this day I still have not been able to get up early enough or be out and about with my camera to capture a nice sunrise photo. Lucky for me, sunsets still provide ample opportunity for creative photographs. In this shot, a sunset very low on the horizon casts symmetrical shadows on the historical Old Morrison building. By setting the white balance to daylight, the warm yellow-orange glow matches what the eye would see in both the building and the sky that night.
With this photograph, I set out to capture the crystal structure of salt crystals, choosing the larger grains of sea salt compared to tiny cubic table salt. With a bright yet soft light coming from camera right, the sharp light fall-off across the frame shows varying levels of detail in the salt to let the eye wander around the photograph.
In another lighting experiment, I twisted a common slinky toy around to where both ends could interlock and form a concentric circular pattern. With a close reflective umbrella, the even and detailed highlights show off how a soft source of light can bend around objects to create aesthetic shadows.
#24-First Sign of Spring
A welcome change of pace from a cold winter, this week’s topic coincided with many flowering trees blooming around campus, with the accompanying insects flitting about to feast on the abundant nectar. This photograph was a happy accident: though I wanted to photograph the honey bee with the flowers, I meant to focus on the flowers and wait for it to land. Due to the thin depth of field and wind, both the flowers and bee moved to where the flowers are gently out of focus and the bee is the only subject within the focus plane.
#25-A is for…
Ever since picking up photography, I have always had a knack for juxtaposing two unrelated subjects within an image in the best way possible. On a seasonably chilly day, I was surprised to see this tiger swallowtail butterfly flying around. When it finally came to a resting place on a sun-drenched window, I seized the chance to combine its vivid yellow color with the stark contrast of dark shadows and a bright window frame.
During this week’s topic, a total lunar eclipse occurred early on a Tuesday morning at 2 a.m. to give a wonderful view of the “blood moon”. Unfortunately in the entire east United States, it was either cloudy or raining all night, which left me to only see the live stream of the eclipse through NASA’s website. That said, another celestial occurrence of cloud-filled sunsets graces many horizons much more often throughout the year. On assignment to photograph a local athletics complex, I wanted to emphasize the aesthetic and scale of the area by incorporating the environment, and the light show put on by mother nature as the sun dipped beneath the clouds did not disappoint.
Well, I am now halfway through my project, and with the recent uptick in mild weather, there are many new opportunities for photographs, both within this project and beyond in other freelance work. Combine that with the completion of the majority of my studies, I might just have enough free time to keep up with this website a bit more. Thanks for dropping by and remember to subscribe for updates on new posts!