Jeff Kunkel » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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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 take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Jeff would love to hear from you!