May 152015

Photo copyright Rita DeBrodie

Man is a complicated creature, which is something that we are shown time and time again. One of the most important, defining characteristics of man is his ability to love. That is the concept I wanted to capture. This image is a very simplistic commentary on the two sides of love, the light and the dark. On the technical side, I am fascinated with the idea of sunbursts without sunlight. I used my external flash as the light source and bounced it off the inside of the subject. By positioning the flash unit inside the lid of my heart box, I was able to bounce a lot of that light around and create dramatic shadows that outline the shape of the lid. This also caused the white background to flood with the rich red color that dominates the photo. I faced this image with the idea of creating something vibrant and moody while only using one source of light. As you can see, the only light for my subject is the flash unit. The focal point of the image is the light burst, but what tells the real story is the sharp contrast between the textured red background and the stark black silhouette of the box lid. The tension created by these colors repeat on the right side of the image. The dark shadow of the box forms the heart’s shape and leads the eye right back to the brilliant light burst. The lines in the image move the eye around in a circle. That cycle is what I wanted to communicate, that life’s experiences have a way of coming back around and that love finds a way even in the darkest times.

I used a Canon Rebel T3i to capture this image. I set the f-stop to f/25, my exposure time was 1/30 of a second and I set the ISO to 800. I needed to keep my f-stop as low as possible to create that strong light burst effect. My lens is an 18 mm – 55 mm lens, and I captured this image with the lens set to about 28 mm. The flash unit that I used is a Neewer TT 560. I connected the flash unit to a Neewer FC-16 wireless receiver and had the transmitter attached to my camera so that the flash unit would trigger at the exact moment I needed it, especially important given my exposure time.  I used Adobe Lightroom as my post processing software. Within Lightroom, I cropped the image down to create a little more tension and cleaned up a few spots created by dust on my camera’s sensor.

About the Photographer:
My name is Rita DeBrodie. I am an Electronic Media and Film major at Northern Arizona University and my minor is Photography. My background is in small productions and screenwriting and I believe that often the smallest details are the most important. I face all cinemagraphic tasks with the eyes of a photographer, trying to capture that perfect moment with a subject and tell a story that will awe and enlighten an audience. I prefer small scenes that convey a larger meaning in photography and I use strong contrasts and leading lines to pull focus to my subjects.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at take a minute to leave your insights and constructive comments in the Comment section below – the student would love to hear from you!

May 142015

Photo copyright Samantha Colombo

One thing that always fascinates me about photography is how subjective it is. What I think of an image may be, and most likely is, completely different from what the person standing next me thinks, whether they are a fellow photographer or not. I also love the diversity of the photographic medium. Anyone and everyone can look at an image and feel something or have an opinion about it, and anyone can be a photographer. They have to have inspiration and run with it. When I get inspired, I obsess in taking pictures. Not every image is the image but the experience and exploration of adjusting my lens by just that much or by taking a picture from this angle makes it all worth it.

The adventure of this image began when my professor gave us the instruction to take an image with a sunburst. The name of it, sunburst, typically means that a photographer takes it outside using the sun, but I did not want to do that.  I have seen images of performers onstage and the stage lights creating the same effect. This always made me feel like the performer was becoming the star. I did not have stage or a performer but I did have a beautiful roommate and a desk lamp but I still want the same feel to my image but with a slight twist. She obviously wasn’t going to be a performer becoming a star but I wanted to her to be an emotional image that conveyed a sense of transformation. I set up my Canon Rebel T3 with an 18-55mm lens and I put it on my tripod. Then I turned off as many lights in the area as I can because I wanted the main source of light to be the light-burst. My ISO was at 800 and my aperture was as low as I could get it, which was f/22. I zoomed my lens in to be 29mm. I had my roommate sit in front of it. I struggled with where I wanted to the light to shine from. If I positioned it above her nose it didn’t have enough of the bursting effect. Under her nose made it look awkward. Then it hit me. I told her to lift her hand up and have a few finger barely resting on her chin. I wanted this position because it reminded me of being in thought and how powerful that can become. This photo took 1.6 seconds to capture but as soon as I saw it, I knew it was the image. When I looked at my image on the little screen on my camera, I could not see that there were noticeable black spots due to pieces of dust on my sensor so when I looked at the image on my computer the specs of dust had turned into big black blots on her hand. I attempted to edit the blots out but because of the variations of shading on her hand, I could not edit the section and have the area looking natural. I modified my vison to be a silhouette. I made it black and white and then darkened the shadows. Then I added a subtle black vignette to increase the classic look on the image. The finished image highlights the outline of her profile that has the accent of the burst of light.

There is more to an image than just capturing an image of a beautiful subject. One of my favorite things to do, once I have completed editing an image, is to look at the before and after and then compare it to the images beside it. The transformation between each image and each step of editing is what builds the images history. It is like a family tree. The stage before set up the current stage and so on and so forth until you have come to the very end of the tree branch and you have your image. Each step of the journey is essential even if it gets undone or changed. It is a learning experience.

About the Photographer:
I am currently studying photography and creative media and film at NAU. When I began photography, I thought of doing strictly landscape photography but after one session in the school’s portrait studio, I fell in love with portraiture. I strive to capture the genuine moments and emotions. While at a shoot I typically talk to my subjects and try to get them laughing so I take pictures of the big goofy grins on their faces. I plan on going into business with my brother-in-law and start up our own business called CH Studios.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at take a minute to leave your insights and constructive comments in the Comment section below – the student would love to hear from you!

Apr 292015

Photo copyright Karli Crocker

One of my best pieces of work that I have composed within this past semester is a panoramic picture I took while in California for Christmas Break. Some of the most beautiful beaches are in California, and I had the opportunity to visit Davenport Beach. I love the beaches, and landscape photos. When it comes to nature and wildlife I find it to be the most beautiful part of the world, and since it always sparks my interest it is almost impossible for me to go anywhere without snapping a few thousand photos of my surroundings. Although I did not end up bring my camera on this adventure, I always have my phone that is what I was able to snap my favorite photo of the semester with.

I went on a hike just off the sandy beach with my boyfriend and dogs in Davenport. As we climbed up the cliff, I looked back and noticed the beautiful view that felt as if it was surrounding us. I was so disappointed that I did not bring my camera with me on this beach adventure, but I could not leave without taking a picture. I found a place to stand on the cliff and observe the entirety of the view. I looked at the landscape with my iPhone 6 camera, scanning as if I was going to take a panorama, from all different levels and angles from where I was standing. After taking a few test panoramas with my phone, I found the perfect place to set up for the exact picture I wanted to capture. It took me a few times to perfect the shot; I was waiting for the perfect sunset lighting too, but I finally came up with the perfect panorama picture of the beach.

I have a huge emotional attachment to the beach, and even though I have so many snap shots of beach scenery, this photo really captures my ideal imagination of the beaches. Like I stated above, I took this photo with my iPhone 6 on panoramic mode, and for a phone photograph, I find it to be very crisp and beautiful. I enhanced the colors just a bit in post process, but this photo is an accurate representation of what my eyes captured. I am now actually grateful that I had my iPhone so that I was able to take a panorama a lot easier than it would have been with my camera.

About the Photographer:
I am a college sophomore at Northern Arizona University. I am a double major in Photography and Criminal Justice, and no I do not plan on using those degrees together to be a crime scene photographer, as much as everyone suggests it to me. Photography has always been a hobby of mine because my Dad was a photographer. He taught me from a young age about photography, and how to hold a camera, and the rest came naturally. Having a dual major makes time for photography very limited, but I am interested in building my own photography business, as well as start painting my images on canvases to display in art shows in the future. I am hoping that my photography business can help contribute to the debt I will soon acquire by going to Law School to become a lawyer.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at take a minute to leave your insights and constructive comments in the Comment section below – the student would love to hear from you!