Last minute shoot with Jerrica & adapting to weather changes
Every now and then I get to go out and take random photos that never see the light of day because one of my main outlets for showing my work is social media and if you follow my work on Instagram, for example, you'll realize that the images I'm showing here don't necessarily meet the terms and conditions for posting on my IG page. Nevertheless, most of the photos I take mean something to me because there's usually careful thought and some feeling that go behind them. I must admit, my thought process has gotten a lot quicker over the years but that doesn't negate (or lessen) the fact that there's a thought process behind most of the images taken, making them very special to me and worth every megabyte of hard drive space and paper/ink they consume. With that said, I'll go ahead and explain the background information, thought process and technical information of these images. The reason I'm saving the technical information for last is because I've found that too many people are caught up with gear and neglect the other elements that make an image meaningful.
I believe that one of the most important steps to mastering anything is investing quality time and because of that, I like to use the times that I'm not under pressure to create to challenge myself and explore things that inspire me without falling into the genre of my popular work. This one afternoon, my partner, Jerrica and I made a 3 minute decision to get dressed and head to a nearby park to take some photos because we had some down time and wanted to capture some images of the sunset in a way that was different to what any of us were accustomed to. If you know anything about Jerrica, you'll know she works really hard on her body and loves to show it off. As for me, I'm all about people being comfortable expressing themselves and not having to hide behind clothes because of insecurities or other people's judgments. The idea here however, was to find things that we were genuinely interested in and take no more than 10 photos focusing on light, composition and mood. As we began driving out there, we realized that thick clouds were developing on the horizon but we still made our way to the park, just with one change in strategy. We decided to shoot black and white instead of color.
When we arrived at the park it was rapidly getting darker as the sun began to get deeper and deeper behind the clouds that started to develop so time was not on our side. We quickly got out of the car and made our way across the parking lot discussing our strategy while I was getting the camera ready and making sure the lens wasn't being fogged because of the sudden change of environment (humidity). Our strategy was simple. It basically was to gravitate towards the first thing that caught our attention and create something based on that. As we entered the park, the first thing that stuck out like a sore thumb was a white flower blooming from a tree with dark green leaves. Jerrica loves flowers so it was not difficult for her to assume the role of an admirer and my challenge was to capture the moment in real time and preserve the genuine interest shown towards the flower combining technical aspects of composition and exposure. My genius idea after the emotional flower moment, was to take photos posed with a light pole. However, in my defense, I didn't wan't them to be typical "model posed against a light pole" types of photos so I did my best to think outside the box and create images that didn't only show a strong beautiful female posing with a pole but images that conveyed mood and emotion. In the end we walked away with 7 shots taken and I'm going to share all 7 here.
Now on to the technical stuff... These photos were created in natural light on a Nikon F100 using a Nikkor 50mm f1.8G lens and Kodak Tmax 100 black and white film. The camera was used in manual mode using the on-camera spot meter to expose for the shadows and highlights, establishing a balance. The scene wasn't too contrasty allowing me to underexpose the shadows on Jerrica by two stops while placing the highlights at neutral grey. I also did a scan of the important shadows in the frame to make sure I wasn't losing shadow detail. This exposure allowed me to over expose the flower by 1 stop and did the same to the light at the top of the pole which made them retain their characteristics while not losing any detail. An insignificant amount of clipping occurred in the sky (to be expected) which can be easily brought right back in post-processing. None of these photos spent more than three minutes in Photo Shop. This was basically to prepare the images to post them here.
Please feel free to leave a comment or ask me any question you have either here or privately. Enjoy!