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

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Apr 192013

Photography copyright Mark Goodger

I took this shot with both the intention and the goal of capturing candid emotion and intent.  Prior to actually taking out my camera and shooting I conceptualized what results I wanted as well as observing the pool tables and available light.  This allowed me to figure out camera settings and the best place to shoot from.  By doing this I was ready before asking the strangers if I could shoot thereby allowing me to capture what I had previously envisioned and planned.  While taking this shot there were some challenges that I encountered including the lighting, capturing the best angle, and asking strangers for their photograph.  These challenges existed but were perhaps minimalized by my planning.

The lighting was as expected inadequate in general.  There were also many areas of harsh shadows.  By watching the pool players and observing the area I found areas where both adequate light and acceptable shadows existed.  Learning where acceptable lighting existed helped me choose a spot to shoot.

Another challenge I faced was choosing camera settings that would both allow for enough light and maintain an acceptable depth of field.  I decided to raise the ISO in order maintain depth of field and enable me to use a slightly faster shutter speed to eliminate camera shake and freeze motion.

The challenges I faced from the lighting and camera settings were difficult; asking the subject for permission was my biggest and most difficult challenge.  I have mainly shot landscape and architecture scenes; the shots of people that I have taken have been family members or acquaintances.  While checking out the lighting and working on my camera I also observed who was playing pool and was able to determine who would be most comfortable being photographed.  Watching and interacting helped me feel more comfortable and less anxious about explaining what I would like to do and ask for permission to do it.

For this shot I used my Nikon J1 mirror-less camera.  Although it has fewer megapixels its very compact size enabled me to be less obtrusive and thereby capture a more natural image; my original goal and intent.  I chose to shoot this image in black and white for its simplicity.  I also feel that black and white conveys the feelings of the actual pool player as well as the entire scene more effectively.

About the Photographer:
My love and passion for photography developed at a young age.  My father worked for Eastman Kodak Company and had a passion for both the art and science of creating and capturing images, which he passed along to me.

Since my first camera and photography classes at the Rochester Museum and Science Center my yearning to learn and try new things in photography has continued to grow.  Presently, I am living in Flagstaff, Arizona where I am studying photography at Northern Arizona University.

Today I am just as excited to learn new concepts, try new things, and share my photography, as I was when I got my first camera or experimented with a pinhole camera in class.  As I continue to learn more, my curiosity continues to grow as well.  My desire and curiosity has allowed me to and will continue to drive me to experiment and learn as I create and produce photographic images.

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

  6 Responses to “Behind the Image: NAU Guest Blogger – Mark Goodger”

  1. This is such a great image and executed well. The balance of light and shadows is perfect. No blown highlights and just a hint of shadow to show the environment as a bar. The best part is the whole image takes you to the shooters face. In the top half of the frame the face stands out by contrast alone, with a dark halo on the top and sides. In the bottom half your eye easily travels to the bright spot… the cue, and then straight up the stick. I’m not sure if you planned the target ball, luckily this player was shooting solids as I think a striped ball would have competed for visual interest. Awesome job!

  2. I have to go with Scott… a terrific shot… the concentration of the shooter is totally focused on the shot, you are not even in his mind.. the slightly out of focus target ball is a great touch… the lighting is perfect, the catch lights in the subject’s eyes is perfect… Just because curious minds want to know, I wonder how the image looks with a little grainier treatment on the black and white..

  3. As a pool player myself, I think you did a great job catching the moment you envisioned. Keep asking those strangers when it’s important enough to get the shot. It gets easier the more you do it.

  4. I think there is an amazing subtle hint of vertical symmetry going on in this picture. The eye moves up from the cue ball up the cue towards the players while simultaneously down from the top of his head tracing a white line down his hair line and nose. The result is that the viewer is drawn into the image. Well done!

  5. Love this picture. The expression on the face is so intense.

  6. This photograph surprised me at first. I didn’t expect the subject to have such a face! It makes me laugh a little bit. His seriousness is only enhanced by the black and white. It puts him and his thoughts in perspective for the viewer. I don’t know that I would have thought to take a shot at something like this, I almost feel like I’d be intruding upon such an intense moment of concentration!

    – CM

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