May 292016
 

Photo copyright Cassandra Coyle

Does this picture have you wondering? Do you have questions about it, such as who is this girl? Why is she hiding? Is she as mysterious as she seems? Why is she staring so intently? What is this photo trying to tell me as a viewer? One of my favorite quotes about photography comes from Diane Arbus and it goes, “a picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.”

In our class earlier this semester, we were given a portrait assignment with off-camera flash and I knew immediately that this photo would be a challenge for me. Most of the portraits I take are of my nephew, who is just over a year old. I love the kid, but he doesn’t listen very well to instructions for photos! I’m not used to having so much control over my subject, and it can be hard for me to come up with poses or ideas for the portraits. I went to my roommate, Marti, in my Tuesday afternoon crisis (our photos for class are due on Wednesdays), and persuaded her to be my model. We set up in our apartment living room and the shoot started out with me blinding her a few times since I’m still new to the world of external flashes. Once I managed to get the flash figured out, it was just the question of what to have her do.

I like portraits that show happy, smiling people best. I started with telling Marti to smile. We tried more candid-looking shots of her laughing, as well as some other basic happy shots. We tried using props including a coffee mug, a Fifty Shades of Grey novel, and a chef’s knife. I looked at her at some point during the shoot and decided that since she has such beautiful eyes, I wanted to focus on them. I came up with the idea of the scarf hiding some of her face, leaving an air of mystery in the shot. I feel the vibrant red of the scarf was a great contrast to her lighter eyes. I was a bit worried about the scarf being a distraction from her eyes, but I think viewers are still immediately drawn to them.

I shoot with a Canon Rebel T3, and I use the kit lens, an 18-55 mm. My focal length was at 42 mm for this photo. My aperture was at 6.3 and my shutter speed was 1/160 of a second. I currently use is a Yongnuo YN560-IV flash. I don’t have very much experience with Lightroom, so I don’t do much post-processing on my photos. I believe I softened her skin just slightly for this one. I was very happy with my result in the end. Not too bad for a girl who doesn’t take many portraits!

Going back to the quote by Diane Arbus, I think knowing the story behind the image can change a person’s feelings about the photo. I find that sometimes I want to know the story, but sometimes it’s fun to be left to my imagination and fill in the blanks myself. You might not be able to guess the true story behind my photo here: a tale of challenges, trial and error, and even a bit of humor (at least I find it funny). Some might feel that this story detracts from the photo, making it less interesting. I think it adds to it. This photo is from a time of growth as a photographer for me. I feel more confident in taking portraits now.

About the Photographer:

I come from a very small town in Southern Arizona by the name of Ajo. My passion for photography began when I was a little girl, playing with the family camera. I photographed anything and everything. I finally got a DSLR in high school, and I often took photos for my yearbook class and local newspaper. My favorite subjects to photograph are my nephew and vehicles, but I love being able to capture a moment and I’ll shoot just about anything I find interesting. Photography will most likely end up a lifelong hobby for me. I have no goals to become a professional, but I enjoy improving my skills and learning more about both my camera and myself.

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/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-projectPlease take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Cassandra would love to hear from you!

May 282016
 

Photo copyright Emily Frankel

I took this photo while on a camping trip with my boyfriend and my dog at Windy Hill campground. A drive that was supposed to be less than 3 hours became over 5 after a series of misadventures. First the mobile map led us to an empty parking lot, and then when we made it to the campground it turned out to be temporarily closed, we finally found a place to stay at around 1 in the morning after driving an extra hour to Globe in order to get a Tonto parking pass. We had set out to spend a fun weekend swimming in the Salt River, but ended up on the edge of a lake that can’t even be swum in at a campground filled with snowbird retirees in their RVs while we slept in my yellow tent. Even though it was not what we had planned, the unexpected camping destination became just what it took to find the inspiration I needed and provide the adventure I craved.

I was born and raised in Prescott, AZ and have always considered the greener and lusher parts of the country to be far more beautiful. Growing up spending summers by a lake in Maine made me dislike the dry climate even more for most of my life. This changed when I started camping in central Arizona, which has taught me to truly appreciate the unique beauty of the desert. There is no greater feeling than sitting by a campfire as the sun sets over the desert and the coyotes start to howl at the moon. As beautiful as moments like this are, they never last for long until the impulse to capture the scene overcomes the desire to simply enjoy it. Depicting the relaxed bliss of camping in the Valley was exactly what I hoped to accomplish with this image.

Arizona has beautiful sunsets and spectacular cacti; I wanted to encapsulate both of these in a photo. This image was taken using my Canon 70D with an 18-200mm lens sitting on a tripod while I was crouching on the ground so that I could photograph the silhouette of the saguaro in front of the remnants of the sunset. As a coyote howled just a few yards away from our tent in the desert by Lake Roosevelt I took this photo at 18mm, with an ISO of 800, an aperture of f /10, and a shutter speed of 30 seconds. In post-processing I just tweaked a few minor settings such as clarity, highlights, and vibrance. In the end everything worked out just right to allow me to take this photo and always have a reminder of the beauty I had to learn to see.

About the Photographer:

My dad taught me to appreciate photography growing up when he bought me my first purple windup film camera. The interest that this sparked only grew as I got older and started to travel. It finally became an actual goal when I received my dad’s old Canon 1000D and began to teach myself throughout high school. During a year at Yavapai Community College I started taking photography classes. I am now majoring in Strategic Communications (with an emphasis in merchandising) and Photography. I hope to someday put both of my degrees to use and pursue a career in fashion photography

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/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-projectPlease take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Emily would love to hear from you!

May 282016
 

Photo copyright Wendel Navenma

I set out on this photo by trying to find a subject to shoot for window light for an in class assignment. I had scrambled around trying to figure out what I could shoot that would look good. I finally asked my boy, who is 4 years old, if he could let me take a picture of him. He was very excited to do this. This was also my first time that I had asked him to pose for me for a shoot. I captured images of him smiling when I told him to, and facing in different directions. This image shows the true emotions of how he was feeling, tired and grumpy. He just wanted to have it over with and go do something else. Thus, the reasons in which I chose this photo.

So the image, a portrait, uses the window light as my only source of lighting. I have taken a few portraits but still feel hesitant taking them, as portraits are a challenge for me. The image shows the raw emotion of my boy. I took quite a few photos of him. I had him look this and that way, to smile.  Like any child would, he began to get tired and no longer wanted to participate. He was ready to go play but I called him back and told him just one more then you can go play. He reluctantly agreed too. He was not taking any direction; he was done with all that. I asked him to smile and in return he made this face. What I get from the expression of his face is that he is telling me to be quiet, to stop telling him what to do and to just hurry up and take the photo.

The camera which I used is the Canon Rebel T3i with the 18-55mm kit lens. I shot this with an aperture of 5.6, ISO at 200, at 1/500 of a sec., and focal length at 36mm from an angle lower than the subject. For post processing I lowered the highlights, added some contrast, and added just a bit of clarity. Nothing crazy. I like to keep my edits as minimal as possible. I would have cropped the far right shadow out but felt it added to the image, it added some depth.

About the Photographer:

I am drawn to the idea of photography but have never jumped on it. Finally, I decided to take a couple of classes at Coconino Community College. I enjoyed it and I am now minoring in photography at Northern Arizona University. I am drawn to the outdoors, to nature, so this is what a lot of my work consists of. I enjoy that sense of freedom and calmness from the outdoors, away from that concrete jungle. I appreciate the little things in life that the natural world around us has to offer, things that some may tend to overlook.

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/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-projectPlease take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Wendel would love to hear from you!

May 272016
 

Photo copyright Cole King

Driving up to the mountain, we passed by an old derailed train unit, but I paid it no mind. My goal was to take photos of not one, but two of the most beautiful things that I’d ever seen: my girlfriend and my favorite time of day. I was so lucky to have this opportunity as an assignment to motivate me to finally go out and shoot it.

We got to the top of the mountain and waited for the sun to set. My camera equipment waited on the branches of a tree as I attached my flash unit to my camera. I was prepared to take a gorgeous picture of my girlfriend against the changing colors of a beautiful Arizona sunset. My eyes were drawn to a blinking light below my eye level. It was already on?! I switched the “on/off” switch a few times, and to my horror and dismay, it died right before my eyes. I started freaking out; it would be just my luck that I didn’t have any other batteries, either! What was it with technology hating me so much lately? We headed back home to see if we had batteries and could find a closer area to try later shots.

I looked out the window sadly, as I really did want to be a good student. The train we’d talked about earlier that day caught my eye, and I realized that we could use our truck’s headlights in place of a flash! I knew that I had another option and I was losing it quick as the sun faded behind the horizon. I shouted at my boyfriend (yep you heard me right,  I was with my girlfriend and boyfriend; I’m polyamorous!) to stop the truck! I had an idea! So, we pulled in front of it and angled the headlights at the train, and I hopped out and began frantically taking pictures. The lighting was even better for the assignment than what I’d had in mind! It had all worked out in the end.

With this photo I wanted to express the subtle sadness and tranquility that I felt when I looked at this train at dusk, with the navy sky behind me and a beautiful piece of history in front of me. There was a very distinct feeling of mystery that pertained to the train; the rest of it still ran, why not this one? I had so many questions for this train and yet I couldn’t get any answers. But somehow I was okay with this little mystery. I captured the curiosity and beauty of it enough to satisfy me, even though I was still disappointed that I hadn’t been able to take photos of my girlfriend. I still captured something meaningful, and that was good enough for me.

I used my 18-55 lens on my Nikon D3200 that I had received from my parents as a graduation gift. I enjoy working with a shallow depth of field, so I turned the knob to make it as small as I could, at an aperture of 4.5. The shutter speed that I went with to match my aperture was 1/15 a second. I am a naturalistic photographer in the sense that I don’t like making too many adjustments in post processing, so I left it as it was aside from changing the size of the image.

About the Photographer:

My name is Cole King, and I enjoy capturing anything that calls to me in nature and in my every day life. I’m currently branching out in all types of photography, as I want to become a more versatile photographer with a large amount of experience so I can learn different strategies and styles. I have done multiple professional shoots for clients, and my photography is on display in a gallery at NAU. You can find my photography at my Facebook page: Cole King Photography, though there is a website in the works.

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/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-projectPlease take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Cole would love to hear from you!

May 272016
 

“Two-Faced” || Photo copyright Jessica Vazquez

“Two Faced”

My most favorite thing about photography is how people interpret an image. How there is always a deeper meaning to everything that we see. It’s fascinating, to say the least. That’s one of the reasons why I chose this photo. I believe that we live in a world today filled with such deceit and lies. We sometimes surround ourselves with people that hold no value to us. We continue to let people in, only to find out in the end, they weren’t really there for us. This has sadly occurred in a lot of people’s lives, mine included. We are exposed to two-faced people. It occurs on a daily basis. How can people go from acting a certain way to acting an entirely different way? Why does this happen? What possess people to do? Is it because they want acceptance? Because they feel the need to be like this? Because they can’t express their true self? For whatever the reason, it’s a shame people live their lives like that. People should accept who they are and surround themselves with the same type of people. They should be around people that would gladly acknowledge and appreciate their differences. Shouldn’t we all?

Now when I was taking this photo, nowhere did I ever intend to shoot it for this reason. It was actually an accidental photograph. That evening I was trying to drag the shutter with flash. My subject turned out to be my boyfriend, Reilly. He always loves being my subject, even though he doesn’t know it. Anyway, my original idea for this picture was to capture a moving train behind him, while I used the flash to freeze him standing up right. I had encountered some problems during the shoot. For one, the surrounding lights made the image come out orange and it was drawing away from the image. So, to resolve this, we made our way to a darker spot that wasn’t exposed to the orange light and I sat him down while I got my tripod and flash set up for the next train to come by. I had my Canon EOS Rebel T5 set for a two second shutter speed, my aperture was f/5, and my ISO was at 800. Along with my camera, I had my off camera Yongnuo YN-560 III flash set to the lowest flash setting. As it came, I took as many shots as I could with the limited time that we had. I’m almost certain that I had blinded Reilly. But out of the many photos, I had captured what I wanted. While I was looking back through all the photos, I noticed this one. Reilly moved his head during one of the two second shots and I thought it looked pretty interesting, daunting even.  I love it and the deeper meaning behind it.

About the Photographer:

My admiration for photography came from my grandfather. Growing up, he always had a camera in his possession, taking pictures of just about anything and everything. Now, I have decided to follow in his footsteps. I have developed my own sense of style when it comes to photography. My drive and dedication shows in my work and it’s what sets me apart from everyone else. I favor nature and portraiture photography. I am willing to go the extra mile to capture any given image. I plan to continue to improve my photography for as long as I possibly can.

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/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-projectPlease take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Jessica would love to hear from you!

May 262016
 

“Love Yourself” || Photo copyright Mariah Doka

“Love Yourself”

Many people say that your younger siblings look up to you and want to be like you. For me it’s the opposite; I wish to be like her. She is so full of life and energy. She has no shame is what she does and what she does always has a purpose. She’s very smart, lovable, comfortable, funny, and cute. My sister has a personality that rubs off on anyone that is near her. To be able to capture her personality in a photo is an accomplishment. Although I will say that it wasn’t that hard to do; she is very photogenic.

I’m not sure if you would call this a portrait. I think of it more of as a candid shot. I didn’t pose her this way, I didn’t tell her what to do, nor did I tell her how to look. All I did was point the camera at her and she just moved and moved. She did different poses, different facial expressions, and I was just the one to click the shutter button. We took almost a hundred photos and each photo had a different pose. She’d be smiling in one and in the next it was a more serious expression. This one is my favorite simply because her smile is beautiful and there is a “cuteness” and a “comfortableness” to her and that’s what I wanted to portray in a photo of her.

I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t do “portraits” a lot, not as much as I would like to anyway. The only reason I don’t do portraits is because I’m not very good at talking to people and that’s probably a trait that any photographer needs to be successful. The reason I’ve taken such an interest in photography is that there are a lot of aspects that don’t require talking to people. Landscape, nature, and whatever else is out there. Although, yes I will have to talk to people eventually but I’m not looking to be a professional and sell my photos and take clients. I’m simply here because I want to do something for me. I want to capture an image that shows that I did something amazing and keep it for myself. With photography, I imagine I can take some awesome photos and not have to talk to anyone about it.

This photo was for a photography assignment that required a portrait of someone using an off camera flash. For this particular set up, using an umbrella flash kit, I set it to my left and had my Canon 5D Mark III camera in my hand. The lens I chose was a 50mm with an aperture of 2.8, shutter speed of 1/100 and an ISO of 1000. I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t realize my ISO was so high and it really didn’t need to be. As far as post processing goes, I did very little. I removed some blemishes and adjusted the contrast and exposure.

About the Photographer:

My name is Mariah Doka and I am currently a student at Northern Arizona University. I am majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Photography. Everyone always says that those are two random subjects to put together, and I know they are but those are two things that I’ve come to love. As far as photography, I didn’t do much shooting before college but my interest in it has definitely taken off since I started taking photography courses. I like to do it because photographers have a different way of seeing the world. We’re always looking for interesting things and figuring out how we could take a picture is various ways. I’m here for the aspect of thinking differently and looking at the world differently than the average person.

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/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-projectPlease take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Mariah would love to hear from you!

May 262016
 

Photo copyright Tyler Walker

When most people take photos they just point and shoot the camera. Very little thought goes into the process of capturing the image.  As those of us who have taken a photo class or have done any professional work know, there is a lot more that goes into an image. There are some times when you plan the image out and it only takes a few minutes. There, however, are other times were you spend a considerable amount of time trying to figure out how to capture the vision you see in your head.  This was the case for myself with this image.

This image came about from a night of complete boredom, and a week of mild depression. What was funny is that I was pretty happy at the time of taking the image. It gave me a creative outlet to express some of the things that I was too embarrassed to admit out loud to those around me. I think there is some beauty in that. This is the first time I have shared this image with anyone. I had aspirations to share it on social media but I was afraid of what some might have thought, or that some would have over reacted to something that was nothing more than a creative outlet.

Going about creating this image is one of the hardest things I have to do with a camera. This had to do with the fact that I had zero help in almost every aspect of the image, which only makes its all the more personal for myself. I had set up a tripod in my bathroom (how many times have you heard that phrase said, it can’t be many) and a hot shoe flash with a receiver set up pointed at a reflector angled at my shower. This was the basic set up but it was everything else that I added that made this shot rather difficult. I had set the shutter speed at 20 seconds in order to allow myself to accomplish everything I had to do.  I put a red fill onto the hot shoe flash while I added a blue one to a flash I had borrowed from a friend attached to my camera. Since I only had one receiver I had to manually hit the shutter button which set off the blue flash and then I would have to move around the tripod in the dark to get into the shower. After I was in the shower I had the trigger in hand and flashed the red flash several times to try and offset how strong the blue flash was. Initially with this image I had the idea to turn the water on as I thought that having the flash stopping the water while adding color would look cool. I was right about that, but I was very wrong on how easy it would be. Electronics and water do not mix. While my flash was not in the shower it was still susceptible to over spray and it promptly started to spasm and freak out. This was the only time I tried it with the water, but I do want to try it again sometime.

I took many different shots when trying to capture this image but this is the one I settled on. It was very hard with a twenty second shutter to have enough light on myself actually stand out. This was the one that I turned out best in. Having just a basic red light that I could turn on and off would have worked better. Is this the perfect image? Not by a longshot but it something I am actually pretty proud of. This is because of the personal nature of it. It would have been nice to have help taking the image but in doing it alone it made taking the image very therapeutic. This was a hard image to take, but one that I had a good time making and if I can get this much joy out of making other photos in the future then I’ll be happy.

About the Photographer:

Robert Tyler Walker grew up living in Santa Ana, California before deciding to attend in the fall of 2012 Northern Arizona University where he majors in Journalism and is minoring in business, and creative media and film. He has interned in the Senate Press Gallery in Washington D.C. and one day hopes to be a travel writer. In the mean time he likes to go exploring with friends, camera always in tow.

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/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-projectPlease take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Tyler would love to hear from you!

May 252016
 

Photo copyright Jeff Kunkel

My favorite type of photography is landscapes, creating an image of nature that is different from the other 100 images that others have shot of that same landscape. I have never tried branching out, and that was my objective for this image. I wanted to try a concept new to me: capturing emotions. I wanted this image to be relatable to everybody. Everyone has felt frustrated and depressed, like everything around them is broken. I chose this spot for that reason; it is a rundown locker room in an abandoned town called Two Guns. I thought, “What better place to convey strong emotions than an abandoned building?” I had multiple options as to where to put my friend in the buildings, but I chose the corner because that is where people go to hide. People try to hide this part of themselves. It is natural for us to hide the emotions that make us vulnerable. The girl in the photo (let’s call her Sue) has come out with me on multiple adventures before, and she knows exactly what to do when I can’t show it. I told Sue what emotions I wanted to convey, and she ran with it. This is one of the first pictures I shot, but it is by far my favorite because it is the image I related to the most as well as to the people I showed it to. I chose a black and white filter for this image because the tone of the color image is not as strong as the one I wanted to convey.

I found this image to be difficult to shoot, mostly due to the architecture of the building. There were exposed nails, broken boards and porcelain tiles, and narrow hallways. I had my camera set up on a tripod in the opposite corner of her and I reached through the wall to activate the shutter. I used a Canon Rebel T2i with a focal length of 24mm, shutter speed of 1/40, ISO 100, and aperture f/8. Some of the post processing I did was add the black and white filter, but I also increased the sharpness to try and show the detail in all of the broken pieces. I also changed the color tone of her flannel to pop against her dark clothes. I also added a radial filter around her to get more detail in the clothes she was wearing and to draw the viewers’ eye to her.

About the Photographer:

My name is Jeffrey Kunkel. I am a senior from Northern Arizona University graduating this May with a degree in Finance. I have been taking photography classes at NAU for a year, but have been serious about photography for about three years. My favorite subjects are landscapes, nature, and I am experimenting with action sports.  I use Lightroom for post processing, but I try my best to capture the image as close to as it naturally appears. My goal as an artist is to try new techniques and never let photography feel like a job.

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/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-projectPlease take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Jeff would love to hear from you!

May 252016
 

Photo copyright Katie Sawyer

I’m the kind of person who grabs a hold of an idea and can’t sit still until it’s done, and done right. So when this concept first appeared in my mind, I knew it would have to become a reality.

The assignment was to photograph some form of moving water, and I wanted to do something different than what everyone always does. For me, I’m always most attracted to images that tell a story. They should have depth and character, and be engaging enough to catch someone’s eye. Images that don’t have that appeal can look flat. I felt like adding a human aspect to the water for this photo would tell a story, and make the viewer feel more engaged. I had thought through my concept, but the actual shoot would be more of a challenge than I thought.

The first problem I faced was the set up, how do I get the bag to drip at the right time? How do I even hang the bag in the first place? After a little ingenuity I came up with a simple rig using my chair perched albeit precariously on top of my desk, with my roommate’s borrowed bowl underneath. It seemed like an infallible plan until it came crashing down about an hour later- literally. The bag somehow managed to slip out of the rig and into the bowl full of water below, and my Nikon D3300 just happened to be in the splash zone. Some tears, a couple of very wet textbooks (sorry professor), and several towels later, I was still as determined as ever to get the shot. I reset my rig-with a backup system this time- and set my camera to 1/200th of a second, the highest it will allow while using flash. I learned that the hard way as well. Don’t go over 1/200th of a second unless you like half pitch-black photos. To let as much light in as possible in the low light conditions, I set the camera at ISO 800, and f-stop 5.6 as well. I also wanted a slightly tighter focus, so I set the camera to 34mm. In the end, I filled my memory card twice, but I got the lucky shot. I brought it into post processing to fine-tune it a little, and even out the tones of the image.

 About the Photographer:

My name is Katie Sawyer, and I’m a photography student at Northern Arizona University. I mostly work on school related projects, and I love trying out new ideas and techniques I haven’t used before. I prefer natural shots, architecture and macro photography. I’m not a big fan of portraiture, because I honestly find it a bit boring. I like to work alone, and I think a common challenge people face when taking portraits is feeling awkward, which I can definitely relate to. Directing another human around can be kind of uncomfortable. As for my favorite process, I like post editing a lot. I have a background in Photoshop and Illustrator, which have definitely helped me to get good results.

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/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-projectPlease take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Katie would love to hear from you!

May 242016
 

Photo copyright Kelly Lienhard

Now one of my favorite photographs I’ve taken, this was almost the photograph that never happened. Over spring break, my family and I traveled to Playas del Rosarito in Baja California, and as usual, I carried my camera (a Canon T3i Rebel) with me whenever we left the house. However, on this particular trip I was having a hard time actually shooting anything. My passion is and always has been street photography; and the language, people, and scenes on the streets of Mexico were so bright and full of character that I got overwhelmed. I felt that there was no way I could possibly convey all the excitement and life occurring around me through my camera in four days, especially with my family pulling me in all different directions. Every time I pulled out my camera, I found myself disappointed with what I captured.

On the second-to-last day of our trip, my friend’s little brother, Max, decided he had to have a Mexican-made ukulele. I went with him and my friend into town to search through the street vendors for the perfect ukulele. As I wandered through the maze of booths, vendors, and stalls, I came across the man in this photograph. He caught my eye because he was peacefully caught up in his work making leather shoes and belts – an extreme contrast to the loud and colorful streets. The perfect light came through a hole in the makeshift roof right onto him, naturally lighting up him and his work. The composition couldn’t have been better if I had planned it. This was every street photographer’s dream. Although the light was perfect, it worried me that the background might be too dark. Even more so, that this man might not want his photo taken by an American tourist, and my limited knowledge of Spanish would not help the situation. Because of these factors, I almost kept walking. At the last minute, I decided to just go for it and take the shot. I adjusted my ISO to 1600 in hopes of making the background a little lighter, without washing out my subject. My f-stop was set to 4.0 and my shutter speed was 1/160. I took a couple steps back, and put him in the bottom right corner of the photo, and framed him nicely by his finished products hanging up around the stall, and zoomed in until I had an 18 mm foal length.  As soon as I shot it, I was so glad I took the chance. The picture came out just as I had envisioned it, and it told a story about the everyday culture of Rosarito.

About the Photographer:

My name is Kelly Lienhard, and I am a freshman at Northern Arizona University this year. I am a journalism major and a photography minor, and I hope to be a photojournalist someday. My mom is a photographer, so I love taking photos, however, my high school photography class sparked my passion for photography class when my teacher assigned us a street photography project, and I realized what really inspired me was other place’s stories. Since then, I have had photographs featured on the local news, shot friends’ senior portraits, and taken many more photography classes.

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/4th-annual-northern-arizona-university-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-projectPlease take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Kelly would love to hear from you!