Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rain Barrel Art

Margaret McGeehon paints a protective coat on a decorated rain barrel Wednesday afternoon. The barrels are painted by local artists and auctioned off in the Rain Barrel Art Review, an annual fundraiser for the Missouri River Community Network.

This is what happens when you get so engaged in conversation with a person that you are photographing that you aren't taking great pictures. I shot this for class as part of an assignment on using fill flash in direct sunlight. I had a nice conversation with Margaret about canoeing, the Rain Barrel Art Review and the Missouri River. But by the time we had finished talking, and she finished with the barrels, I hadn't shot any decent photos that also illustrated the techniques needed for class.

How it was shot:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Klunks Bicycles & Repair

Karl Kimbel, the owner of Klunk Bicycles & Repair, adjusts the derailleurs on a customer’s bike in his shop. Kimbel says business has been coming and going in spurts as the spring weather fluctuates between 60-degree days and snowstorms.

The last week of class has been a lesson in how horrible fluorescent lights are for photography. I shot in a few spots around town but the final photo I've selected from the week is from Klunks bike shop near downtown Columbia. Great shop. Nice people. Good bikes. Friendly service. Horrible photo lighting. The shop was lit by a combination of different types of fluorescent bulbs as well as a few windows.

I also discovered how tough it is to place a flash in a bike shop. Every little piece of the bikes has potential to cast strange shadows, especially when someone is working on the bike just inches from their face. I was also attempting to shoot up underneath the brim of Karl's hat in order to get some detail in his face. This all took place in an area with dark walls that had few options for bouncing the light. The image above turned out OK with a little additional adjustment to the levels and colors in photoshop.

Lighting diagram

Friday, March 11, 2011

Single Flash

For class this week, we were going out and shooting with off camera flashes. I shot several events throughout True/False weekend but decided to use selections from the Buskers Last Stand for my final assignment. When using a bounce flash, this worked pretty well. The bands that I photographed were mostly playing under a low white ceiling that worked well for bouncing off light. I shot some of the performances with a direct flash only because it was part of the assignment. In most of the situations this weekend, bounce turned out looking much better. The Buskers Last Stand had well over one hundred fans and musicians crammed into a relatively confined place. I was using the flash in exclusively manual mode. This all made for a fine balance between lighting moving events in a darker room and trying not to blind anyone with the flash.

Jake Greenlaw, drums, and Colim Gulley, banjo, from The Toughcats play in the Missouri Theatre for the Arts. The Toughcats are part of a group of musicians, filmmakers and fans from Maine who travelled to Columbia for True/False.

David Wax leads the crowd in song at the Buskers Last Stand on Sunday night. Every year, the Buskers Last Stand closes the festivities at True/False immediately following the end of the final film.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Buskers Last Stand

True/False wrapped up Sunday night with the Buskers Last Stand. After the final film plays, musicians from around the country gather in the lobby of the Missouri Theatre and play the weekend to an end. Enjoy some photos to hold you over until True/False 2012.

David Wax from the David Wax Museum

Jeremy Styles from Pearl and the Beard

Jocelyn MacKenzie and Emily Hope Price of Pearl and the Beard

James Miska from Bramble and Joe Nelson from The Toughcats

Musicians from The Toughcats, David Wax Museum and Pearla and the Beard lead the crowd in song.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Today starts the best weekend to be in Columbia, Missouri: it's the True/False Film Festival. My next four days will be filled with documentary films, music and biking. Hopefully I'll come back with a few photos out of the deal. Either way it should be a good weekend.

Ragtag Theater a few hours before the start of True/False 2011.

2010 True/False kick-off parade

Studio Lighting: Metal

         This week, I was photographing metal in the studio for my Advanced Techniques class.

In recent years, the popularity of micro-brewed beer has exploded. As interest and demand increases, the number and variety of craft brewers has gone up from fewer than 50 breweries in the early 1980’s to nearly 1,500 today.

I tried to do something beyond shooting a simple metal object with this assignment. I had brought in some basic ideas, but shooting a cheese-grater with a pile of shredded cheese just seemed boring. I think this photo turned out interesting, but it doesn’t show a real good handling of the studio techniques for shooting metal. My goal for the photo was to have several bottle caps fully reflecting the light while the majority had no reflection except on their edges. In the end, there were just too many metal surfaces.
There were several limitations that I had to work with because of the subject that I chose. I had to work with a small light source in order to avoid unwanted reflections. As a result, the gold bottle caps on the bottom are only giving off a partial reflection. There were also so many reflected surfaces, every bottle cap had to be individually positioned. This proved nearly impossible in the set-up that I had. When one bottle cap was moved, it changed the position and angle of several other caps. If I had to do this set-up again, I would need something such as modeling clay in order to really hold the caps in place.
All in all, the assignment was fun to do. The final product turned out OK, but by no means great.

How the photo was lit: