Sunday, February 8, 2015

Favorite Photos of 2014

 (click on the image for a larger view)

Its been a while since I've had the time to blog, and honestly I miss it.  Family life, work and a myriad of other things seems to really tap in to your personal resources, especially as you get older and your family grows.  I'm happy to say that I wouldn't change a thing, although a little more free time is always a bonus.  Of course, I tend to be the type that I'm happier when I have something to do, as they say 'idle hands are the devil's workshop'.

At the beginning of every new year, I take the time to go back though the previous year's work to see what I did, what I liked, what I didn't like and to also see if I found any new trends or changes in my own personal style and to also try to figure out what worked and what didn't.  Its really more of a method for me to find my own weaknesses and areas that I could use improvement on, but also its a nice memory of things that I have passed.  I don't have the greatest memory in the world in some regards, so one of the things I really enjoy about photography is the photographic history it creates.  I can literally tell what was going on in my life at the time, by what photos I took.

So, instead of posting a slideshow or a ton of thumbnail images of my favorites from 2014, I thought I would post one every so often with a few details about that shot.

This first image in this collection has been an ongoing project that started in 2013.  I have always been fascinated with ballet and it just so happens that an incredible dancer lives right in my own community!  Amelia Gandara was also Miss University of Louisville 2013, so I approached her about the idea of photographing her ballet talents, but instead of doing so in a dance studio, I wanted to photograph her in various iconic locations throughout downtown Louisville.

A little side note about Amelia, not only is Amelia a classically trained ballet dancer, but she has a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, is a front runner in pushing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education for the advancement of young people and is highly involved in the well being and advancement of our community.

For this series, I didn't want the focus to be on any technical or lighting abilities, but more so on showing her natural grace and beauty in front of important locations in our town.  For every shot we have done, I've tried to keep the lighting simple and let the scene, or our interpretation of it, drive the technical details of the shoot.

The portrait at the top of the post was lit with three flashes in a shoot through umbrella, camera left of Amelia.  I simply dialed in the exposure I wanted for the background (which I believe was f/7.1 1/250 sec ISO 200), and then dialed in enough flash power to properly expose Amelia.  The reason I used three flashes as opposed to one was, not that I needed the extra power, but so that I could get a shorter flash duration to freeze the action and to get faster recycle times.  One flash would have lit her fine, but the flash duration would have been much shorter and the recycle time would have been around 2 seconds every time I popped the flash, which probably would have been fine, but I wanted to be able to respond as quickly as I needed to keep up with Amelia.

At first, I didn't particularly like this image because it appeared to me that Amelia was, sort of, lying on the bridge but after realizing how well she was able to extend herself to duplicate those parallel lines, the image really grew on me.  We shot several others at this shoot, but after a lot of hard critiquing myself and getting Amelia's input as well, this came out to be my favorite from the day and also one of my favorites from the year.  I'm looking forward to working with Amelia again and adding to this on going project.

Also, a big shout out to photographer Don Lehman who has helped me out on every single shot with this project!

If you'd like to see more photos from this project, you can do so by checking out this set on Flickr.