Behind the Image: NAU Guest Blogger – Alyssa Tavison » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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May 122016

Photo copyright Alyssa Tavison

I created this image because I wanted to create a nature portrait that captured the beauty of a person against the amazing nature scenery of Flagstaff, Arizona. Flagstaff has several places for optimal photo-shoots, but I chose to shoot this photo up on the popular Mars Hill that overlooks the Flagstaff city. Instead of shooting the parked where cars, we ventured into the Coconino National Forest by Lowell Observatory until we stumbled upon a great lookout spot with some fading sunshine. It was on the cliffs edge with enough wide open space that the light peaked through the trees in the background.

I wanted to make Hannah, the woman in my photo feel beautiful in these photographs when she viewed them. I think that everyone is beautiful and I want him or her to feel beautiful and that is the message I try to communicate through my photography.

To create this image I used a Canon EOS Rebel T5 camera. I had my camera set to ISO 100 with my aperture at 4.5 and my shutter speed was at 1/125 of a second. My focal length was set to 20mm and I was four feet away from Hannah. I used my favorite lens the Polaroid Studio Series .43x Super Wide Angle Lens MACRO 52­58mm. I also used my external flash the Altura Flash AP­C1001 and had an orange filter on it. I used an orange filter on my flash because I wanted to create a beautiful sunset feel coupled with the actual sunset that was taking place.  The sky was slightly blue but I also wanted a strong sun ray presence. I love the way the orange filter adds a glow to peoples skin. It really transforms someone’s complexion in a photo, instead of looking somewhat pale; they look sun kissed and vibrant.

After I captured this image I used post processing through Lightroom to enhance my photo to add even more drama to make it more stunning. I brought down the temperature of the photo and brought up the tint so the sky would appear bluer. I also brought down the exposure, contrast and highlights slightly because the sun was pretty intense at that moment. I boosted the whites and the shadows. I also boosted the clarity, vibrancy, and saturation to demonstrate all of the amazing color that the scene had to offer that wasn’t captured with my camera.

About the Photographer:

My name is Alyssa Tavison and I am a Photojournalism major and Photography minor. I first took an interest in photography when I was in high school. I got and old school film photo and fell in love and I have been shooting ever since. I enjoy shooting people because I find them fascinating and simply beautiful. I like to shoot people in a studio, nature, or on the streets. I find great interest in candid shots because I think that is where true beauty and reality lie. When I am shooting photos of people I try to talk to them and get them to be as natural as possible, so I don’t try to give them too much direction. I just try to ask them questions about themselves to try to evoke some emotion. I am very much inspired by people in general.

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 thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Alyssa would love to hear from you!

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