Apr 302014
 
Carlson_Ashley_Blog

Photo copyright Ashley Carlson

As a born and raised Flagstaff native, or “Flagstaffian”, I have always taken the beauty of Northern Arizona for granted and even at times hated living here. All throughout my primary education I had this grand dream of escaping Flagstaff to see if the grass is really greener on the other side. A series of events and decisions led me to stay in Flagstaff to attend NAU and that is when I began to realize that Flagstaff is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. After my freshman year of college I made a life-changing decision that came in the form of a Jack Russell puppy. That huge bundle of responsibility and endless energy made me take daily ventures out into the woods and that is when I fell in love with the place I had lived in my whole life.

Many adventures later led me to discover this beautiful open field right behind Pulliam Airport. After dozens of hikes in this field, I finally brought along my camera to take a picture I have been dreaming of capturing for years.

Standing in the middle of the field with my Nikon D600, 8mm Rokinon Fisheye lens, tripod, and my dog, I began snapping pictures. With my ISO set to 320, with a shutter speed of 1/80, and my aperture set to 22 I was able to avoid capturing the stronger shadows that surrounded me and also keep everything in focus. That day the clouds were wispy and moving quickly due to the wind so I wanted to track the movement of the clouds in one photo. Using my watch, I snapped a photo every minute for about 15 minutes. I had to stop after 15 pictures because the sun was setting extremely fast but I took enough pictures to give me the desired effect I had envisioned. I uploaded all the images to Photoshop as layers and created a stacked image, which I then saved into Lightroom to do the final tweaks.

This photo has a deeper meaning to me personally than any other photo I have taken. The time lapse of it represents all those days I never stopped to appreciate the place I grew up in. The field and mountains reminds me how much I have grown to love every part of the outdoors. The overall image gives me the warm, fuzzy feeling of home and how I have fallen in love with my hometown.

About the Photographer:
As a Flagstaffian, I have grown up around the gorgeous outdoors. So, I tend to photograph nature most of the time but I also strive to always push myself and broaden my horizons to other forms of photography. Photography is not just a hobby, it is a form of therapy; it relaxes me but also makes me exercise my imagination. I try to find the beauty in everything in life, to find inspiration in everything from people to nature. As a perfectionist, I am never happy until I feel my art has been completed to the best of my ability. My goal in photography is to capture something that pleases the eye and that I feel is my best work.

www.thealcstudio.com

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at youcansleepwhenyouredead.com/wordpress/its-back-the-2014-nau-photography-students-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-project/.

Apr 302014
 
Jourden_Allison_Blog

Photo copyright Allison Jourden

When assigned to my photography class, this project bore the name “Painting with Light.” Earlier in class, my instructor dazzled the class with beautiful images taken by photographers that danced with a source of light in their frames while taking images of multiple second exposures. The effect I found breath-taking.

When my turn came to breakout the artists brush and dip it in a little light, I struggled. I found the hurdles of getting my camera settings right often took up most of my shooting time. Having taken dozens of images, many blurred, or my friend attempting to blindly draw cool designs in the air and seeing close to no success, I quickly became disheartened and quite frustrated.

Initially I had chosen an outdoors location to shoot this photo. My friend and I met in a rather-trafficked area of campus – one of which I would have considered very dimly lit, until trying to use it as a location to take this photo. Eventually, we moved to an indoors location, as I found avoiding the yellow glow of campus lights impossible. Dorm living limits photographers on the available space to take intricate photos, neither mine nor my friend’s room was big enough to get anything done, so we met in our resident hall exercise room.

I had purchased and was excited to use glow sticks for this project – I thought I could achieve something epic – so as soon as we got in the room we began suspending them from walls and taping them together, hoping to construct some cool device that would look incredible when moved in front of a camera for 30 seconds. Again, this was to no avail.

I was ready to give up. How could all of those images I saw on Google have such clean and beautiful lines of light seemingly put in all the perfect places to illuminate only intended areas of the images? Why weren’t any of mine working out the way I was picturing them in my head? Why had I left this damned assignment until the night before it’s due and given myself no room for error?

I remember sitting. I told my friend I was going to take a break and that I didn’t know what I was going to do next. I proceeded to plant myself on the floor. I was ready for the mother of all sulks. Just then, I looked around. What was I missing? Something I hadn’t noticed before all of a sudden jumped out at me, making me feel like a dummy for not realizing its potential initially. One of the walls in this room was covered in mirrors. Yes! This was that extra element I felt all of my other images had been lacking.

Quickly, I set up my tripod and camera to face the wall of mirrors. I armed my friend with my flashlight while leaving some of the glow sticks still hung from a wall behind us. I told her that when I said go, to trace my body with the light. She did so and we only had to do this once. The result is the image above.

About the Photographer:
“If you always do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” – My Dad.

My name is Allison Jourden and I study photography at Northern Arizona University. Growing up, I seemed to always have a camera in my hand. I enjoy memories – there was always something about capturing moments in time to be remembered in the future that always pulled me towards photography. In school, I was always very academic. When it came time to start thinking about college and choosing a major, the thought of going in to photography as a profession terrified me. What if I wasn’t good enough? How was I going to make enough money to support myself? Would I be happy? In the end, that quote by my dad is what pulled it all together for me. I finally believed that if I spent my time doing something that made me happy, everything else would just fall in to place. So far, it has.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at youcansleepwhenyouredead.com/wordpress/its-back-the-2014-nau-photography-students-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-project/.

Apr 292014
 
2014 NAU Guest Blogger Project Summary

Introducing the 24 NAU students who will act as Guest Bloggers on this blog starting tomorrow through early May (their photographs in alphabetical order):
First row (left to right): Joseph AL-Ruwaished, Ashley Carlson, Caitlin Chesler, Areina Contreras, Olivia Franco, and Ryan Gelb
Second row (l to r): Trent Heimerdinger, Paul Hurd, Allison Jourden, Donna Kelley, Shelby Lynch, and Chris Martin
Third row (l to r): Kelsey McHugh, Ty McNeeley, Rachel Richmond-Woodward, Daniel, Riebe, Jamie Shrader, and Ali Springer
Fourth row (l to r): John Thompson, Carlye Townsend, Matt Valley, Meagan Wakefield, Carolyn Wood, and Wuke Zhou

After the overwhelming success of last spring’s Northern Arizona University (NAU) Photography Students “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project, I’m thrilled to introduce a new group of photography students who will serve as guest bloggers on my blog starting tomorrow through early May!

Last spring, I partnered with my good friend, fellow photographer, and NAU photography instructor, Amy Horn, to offer her photography students real-world experience to put their school studies to practical use. Thirty-five students participated in this inaugural project (to see their entries, select Guest Blogger and Making the Image categories from the right side of this screen).  After receiving many positive comments from both the students and this audience, Amy and I decided to team up again this year to offer a similar opportunity for one of her spring semester class.

On April 17, 2014, I visited her Intermediate Photography (PHO285) class to kick-off this year’s “Guest Blogger: Behind the Image” assignment.  During the presentation, the students received  instruction to select one image from this semester.  Then, they would describe why and how they made the image in 800 words or less and in active-not passive-voice.  We encouraged them to share what inspired them to make the photograph, what process they used to create it, and the technical information for the resulting frame.  We also requested a 100-word bio so we could get to know the person behind the image.  The students were not required to submit nature or outdoor-related images, as their interests varied greatly (and I feel strongly that we, as an audience, can improve our own work by reviewing and evaluating photography outside of our preferred domains).

Starting tomorrow and extending throughout the next 12 days, in no particular order, these 24 NAU Intermediate Photography students will share their visual expression with public audience via this blog – some blogging for the first time! I hope you enjoy the diversity, the unique perspectives, and honesty these students will share!

However, this project isn’t just for the students.  It’s for you too!

You can make a difference in these students’ lives by reading their insights and providing your constructive comments. What do you like about the image?  What might you improve?  Do you have any similar experiences with this subject, technique, or approach?  By actively participating in this project, you can also get new ideas for your own work.  As I often share in my presentations and the Austin Kleon book suggests, “Steal like an artist!” How can you apply what you like to your own work in a different situation?  Not only will the students get to hear your unique perspective and encouragement, but you also have the chance to polish your own style!

So without further ado, let’s welcome the 2014 NAU Intermediate Photography students and enjoy their photography and “Behind the Image” stories!