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

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May 082014

Photo copyright Ryan Gelb

I wanted to create an image with lots of emotion using dramatic lighting, shape and balance. My sole goal was to try and capture an image that expresses the passion for what the subject is doing or where the subject is, in this case the subject being someone who is working out at a gym. I really wanted to get a picture that communicates very well visually. On top of the original image I added a few graduated neutral density filters and small tweaks to the highlights and shadows. I wanted the image to have a very dramatic feel to it.

A little back-story on this picture is that the idea originally came from a quote I heard. The quote said, “Success shines not only in the light, but in the dark as well.” I wanted to try and create an image that brings that quote to life. I decided to put my passion of photography and my new found passion of living a healthy life together. The person in the image is in fact myself. I wanted to show people where I stand in life and what it means to me in one picture. I have never been healthy throughout my entire life up until 8 months ago when I decided it was time to make a change. It meant and still means the world to me in such a way that I cannot explain. I have accomplished more than anyone including myself would’ve ever thought. I have worked very hard, keeping to myself in the dark doing what I have to do everyday to get to where I want to be. It has been a lovely road of success that has not been easy for me, and that is what I am trying to capture with this image. On the technical side I used a Cannon Rebel T3i, 18-55mm lens, a simple Dynex tripod, a YONGNUO Speedlight YN560-II flash, and a remote trigger. The aperture was at 5.6, ISO set to 400, and the shutter speed was at 1/100.

About the Photographer:
I have always enjoyed making art that forces people to feel a certain way. I want people to see an image of mine and say that image created some sort of feeling for them. I prefer landscapes, nature, and architecture shots. My work is different from others because I try and capture a subject in ways that people wouldn’t expect. Passion, serenity, precision and love for the moment all exist in my artwork. My main goal as an artist is to be different than others, to have people see one of my images and say, “I haven’t seen that before.” My dedication, passion, and love for photography is what keeps me motivated to provide people with the best possible images I can. I will not settle for anything less than my best.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at

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