yoga » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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Apr 152013

Photograph copyright Kimberly Yip

I had a wonderful opportunity to attend a private practice held only for instructors and advanced members at Northern Arizona Yoga Center in Flagstaff, AZ. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is the predominant form of yoga practiced at NAYC.  This early rising group moved through the first and second series of Ashtanga Vinyasa using no vocal instruction.  It was very inspiring and peaceful to be among this group of individuals.My goal for this practice was to portray strength, balance and flexibility through a series of images captured throughout the session.

Since the practice began before sunrise, I had to constantly change my camera settings as lighting kept changing.  This pose, called Navasana, was particularly striking especially in the light that was available at that moment.  This light from the sun which covered a vast portion of the room floor was only present for a short time.  The timing and Wyatt’s position in the room couldn’t have been more perfect.  He was facing towards the light that was entering the studio, which gave me a great sense of acceptance, power, balance and strength.

I decided to leave my Speedlight flash at home as I wanted to be as unobtrusive as possible during their private practice.  This experience taught me a great deal about lighting in many different aspects.Lately, I’ve become accustomed to controlling light in a studio setting, so it was refreshing to step out of my comfort zone using light I couldn’t manipulate.

My greatest challenge during this practice was obtaining proper white balance.  I began shooting with the white balance set to the color temperature of tungsten bulbs since that was the light source before sunrise.  As the sun began to overcome the lighting in the room I set the white balance to daylight even though the color temperature was still too warm. If I could go back, I would have custom set the white balance to be around 3000-4000 K, which is the color temperature for sunrise and sunset with clear skies.  This would have saved me a tremendous amount of time when post processing the images from this session.

This photograph was captured using a Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 prime lens on a Nikon D700 camera. I intentionally overexposed the image because Wyatt would be underexposed had I abided by what the camera thought was a proper exposure.  I achieved this by shooting with a wide open aperture at f/1.4 and an ISO of 500.  If I can recall accurately, I overexposed by two full stops at a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second. I could have used a lower ISO had I slowed my shutter speed slightly, but because I was shooting with a manual focus lens and the group was moving through poses rather quickly I didn’t shoot slower than 1/125th of a second with this lens.  Since I was also shooting with really shallow depth of field, it was important for me to freeze motion and achieve sharp focus on Wyatt.

Lastly, post processing was a breeze with this photo.  I adjusted the white balance, brought down highlights and blacks, boosted the contrast slightly, and cropped the image to make Wyatt more centered in the frame. I couldn’t be happier with the end result!

About the Photographer:
My name is Kim and I’ll be graduating May of 2013 with a BS in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Photography.  I love that I’m able to entangle my passion for photography with the world of biology. Photographing people and wildlife will forever fuel my fascination with animal and human anatomy.  Photography is also my outlet, my means of meditation.  Being behind a lens silences my mind and makes me be present.  It’s important for me to continually challenge myself in becoming a better photographer, and I will always strive to capture emotion and form while representing subjects realistically.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction on our April 15 post at