Zak

My friend’s mother saw the photo assignment I did of my brother on his motorcycle, so she asked her son and I if we would do photos of him with his Harley as a mother’s day present to her. He obliged, he hates his photo taken. But I was up for it, I wanted to see if I could do a better job than I had done the first time. You know, when I forgot my SD card at home, so I had to use my iPhone, which meant I was basically shooting on auto and my brother only let me take pictures for about five minutes…

Yea, I think I did a better job this time around. I actually preferred all the photos in black and white, and I even got a few smiles out of him!!! (if you don’t know him thats a huge accomplishment for anyone taking his photo) But we just talked and joked around the whole time.

Anyway, here is his set! They were done in the same spot that I did my brothers photos. Let me know what you think.

 

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Assignment 7

Our last project of the semester was five photos of whatever we wanted to take photos of. My project started with me taking photos of things that were broken or out of place with the buildings on campus. And I found my inspiration on the starirwell of one of the buildings. 

I thought it was great that I found a gum wrapper too. My professor liked them, even though a good amount of my classmates thought it was gross. Especially the one with the hair. I got asked why I didn’t photoshop it out and I said that it doesn’t take away from the image, it adds to it so I left it. (My professor even thanked me for keeping the hair in my image) So I was sitting in a stairwell taking photos of chewed gum, my boyfriend thought I was joking until I sent him a picture of my computer screen after I had one edited. Then he was extremely interested to know what my grade was for this one. All of our other projects were graded out of 25 points, this one was graded out of 75 points. I got a 75/75 on my gum trash photos. 💪😉 

Assignment 6

Images recycled. We had to take an image from another artist (photographer or not), and either recreate it or put our own spin on it. 

I chose Meatyard as my photographer, and as always I did more than one. (I like having options)

Here is the original by Meatyard:

And here is my interpretation:

Some of the feedback I got from this one was that the hands need to be whiter, but I didn’t want to blow them out so I kept some tone in them. 
Here is another original by Meatyard:

And my interpretation:

My teacher liked the way the movement made him look like a moth, but she said she would have liked the image cropped higher up, and she said that the background is too busy. 

Here is another original by Meatyard:


And my interpretation became a series:


Something my class noted was that all of my images very centered. They’re right. I hadn’t noticed because I was in such a rush to get these done by class time. This part of the semester was extremely hectic and I dropped the ball on this one, but I made it up on the last project. Recreating was something that I really needed to spend more time on. I would like to revisit this at a later date. 

Assignment 5

Documentary assignment. We had to document a relationship, preferably between two people, showing touch. We had to turn in five photos. 

I chose to do my assignment on my little brother. About six months ago his long term relationship of five years ended. It took him quite sometime to get to where he is now, and I’m proud of him for how he has handled himself through most of the heartbreak, and learning how to pick himself up, and learning about who he is. I wanted to document the relationship between his Harley and himself. He rides it whenever the weather will allow. 

Here’s what happened. I FINALLY got my brother to meet up with me to do these photos, he gave me about a ten minutes notice and I ran to where he was as quickly as I could. Turned on my camera and – no memory card. Crap. He said that if I went home to get it that he wouldn’t be there when I got back. Sooooo…I had to take all of the photos with my phone. I was supper worried that my teacher was going to call me out on it, but she didn’t. They were super hard to edit, it was basically done with a point and shoot, I had no control over. She did say that she didn’t like them and that they looked rushed (they were) and that they didn’t document enough of a relationship. Understandable. I’d like to take more pictures of my brother salmon fishing in the fall. 

Assignment 4

Intimate portrait. Our professor wanted up to be able to convey who the person was through two portraits. Intimate, meaning not a smiling sitting pose. But a candid, emotional portrait.

We were only supposed to use natural lighting, and portraiture isn’t my strongest style of photography. I find it hard to connect with people, so I turned the camera on myself instead.

This was the favorite of my class, I won’t lie. It’s my favorite too. 
My teacher was impressed with what I captured. Although these were actually taken last semester and I used one as a filler in my portfolio. Also I used a small penlight for the light source, and handheld my camera. I used my phone to connect to my camera and get the framing and focus where I wanted it. It was still extremely difficult. I took about 75 photos and got 3 good ones, that’s how difficult it was. But it was worth it.

I told my professor that I ustilized the blackout curtains in my bedroom and pinned open a small circle so I could control the light and get the flare on my one photo. It would have worked the same. Another student whose photography is exceptional in my class remarked that in the neck photo the chain of my necklace is in focus. (That actually wasn’t my intention, but I liked it so I rolled with it when selecting images)

Assignment 3

Opposing Landscapes 

We needed to have two landscape images for this assignment. One of a rural landscape ad one of an urban landscape. It could be done as a diptych or separate images. 

The first image I took was when my boyfriend and I went down to Watkins Glenn during the warm spell in February. We went to a bunch of waterfalls both on our way down and on our way back up. This one I took at Taughannock falls near Ithica. I waited for about five minutes to get this shot, I wanted the two people to be well into the frame for a scale of the immense waterfall. Having the ice helped the contrast in the shot. However my professor criticized it for “being too perfect.” She said it looked like I was trying to do everything with just one image. She wasn’t wrong. But it was a carefully composed shot that I took my time on and got it the way I wanted it. A long enough shutter that it would curtain the falls but quick enough that you couldn’t tell I was balancing my camera on the railing of a bridge, also the people needed to be sharp. I took a few photos just to be sure I got the one I wanted. 


I paired it with this photo that I took later from the top of Rockefeller center in NYC. I wanted to match the tall vertical waterfall with the tall Empire State Building. For this photo she said she didn’t like how soft it was. Which is something that I couldn’t really help. The photo was taken with the last light of day, as you can see some of the lights are starting to come on in the buildings. And again I didn’t have my tripod. I was handholding my camera lower than I should have but I had myself braced up against the glass in a corner to try to counter my low shutter speed which I needed not only because of the dying light but a relatively small aperature, I believe I was around f11 or f16 for this shot, I wanted a fair amount of clarity for the distance shot. 

Overall she said my waterfall photo should have been softer and my city photo should have been sharper, but I like them the way that they are. Their contrast between their content and their technical aspects are part of the bigger contrast of the nature vs the city. I wouldn’t change them. 

Assignment 2

Through the Photographer’s Eye 

This assignment was to photograph one object, but make it interesting. You could move the object if absolutely necessary but this was not an assignment biased on putting an object in multiple scenarios, it was about getting multiple views of one object. The requirement was three photos, I turned in more because I was unable to choose only three. 

 

I was one of the few students who met the requirements for the assignment. Most simply took photos of their object in different settings. I left mine where it was and took photos of it during different times of day, and at many different angles. 
At the beginning of our assignment our professor went through everyone’s photos with them one on one to get an idea of what everyone was shooting. My first set of photos I did was at sunrise. She had me show my entire set to the class, even though I was only using one or two images from that sitting just so everyone could get an idea of what to do. This was one of the photos from the set that she loved, but didn’t translate well into black and white, there are many hues that you’re missing like the blue light of sunrise and the orange ball that is the light source. She said that the bottle was almost distracting in this image and she wishes that it wasn’t there. She loved the fog on my window and the haze it created. She commended me for shooting at sunrise as well as the fact that I was on the floor for this shot, creating unique angles. My study of the bottle turned into a study of how light interacts with the bottle. Which is why I had a hard time narrowing it down to just three. I thought eight was too many so I put up five for critique, but the class asked about the other three, so I ended up putting them all up anyway. 

This was a fun assignment, although I believe she took too much time on it, which forced our last three projects to overlap and creating a bit of a panic for a busy college student with multiple final projects. Luckily I was able to keep on top of everything and nothing was turned in late. 

Assignment 1

Self portrait through light. 

We were to create two images, both self portraits to demonstrate the two types of light. Secular, meaning hard light. And diffuse, meaning soft light. 

Here are my images:

This one was meant to be my diffuse light photograph. I used the large glass doors of my apartment for the light source, but closed the blinds to soften the light coming through. I used a slower shutter speed to play with the blending of motion blur with my image. I wanted it to represent how I was feeling. Which was overwhelmed. I am a single mom, to a four year old, a full time student, and I have to work full time to afford my place with my daughter and to keep our health insurance I can’t be part time. I have two declared majors, mechanical engineering, and fine arts with a focus on drawing and painting. But I also am pursuing a photography degree. You can definitely say that I am a busy little bee. 
This was supposed to be my secular light. To try to get this I opened the blinds on the window so it was straight light and I got as close to it as possible. I thought that the quick falloff of light inside the mask along with its harsh highlights along the bottom left would be enough. However my professor said that this light looked quite diffuse as well. 
My mistake was thinking that hard light was direct light in a bright atmosphere, when in reality it’s the harsh contrast of light in the image. I would have made a better secular light situation being in a dimly lit room with one close, bright light source. For example I could have moved to my bedroom where I have blackout curtains and only let a sliver of light in to create harsh shadow lines on my face. That would have been a better example of secular lighting. 

Another difficulty I had was getting the motion blur in the photo the way I wanted it. It was a lot of experimentation with shutter speeds and timing. I had a shutter release on a timer so that I had enough time to press the release, hide it, then move. 3 second delay was too quick, but the 10 second delay felt like forever, and was difficult to time. But I did end up with one photo I thought was good enough to use thankfully. 

Advanced b&w

After taking a b&w photo at my college, my professor (who was awesome btw) convinced me that I should take advanced b&w as well. So I signed up for it. I didn’t learn much in b&w 100, most of the technical skills taught Were ones I already knew. I was hoping to gain something from the advanced class. I was far too busy this last semester to post updates as they happened but by focusing on my studies I managed to pull a 4.0! My first one. I’m very excited and proud that my hard work paid off. I’ll be posting the assignments from that class soon!