Monthly Archives: February 2015

Film Noir Experiments

IMG_3393

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High Key Experiments

Our next assignment in Digital II is High Key and Film Noir portraits. We have to make 1 object and 1 person in each style.

Here’s an “object” in high key. Or is it a person?

IMG_3388

I may re-shoot to get a little more depth of field so both her eyes are in focus…

Steps (Photoshop 5)
– Duplicate background layer
– Add Adjustment Layer – Levels
– Select duplicate layer, Image->Adjustments->Desaturate
– Select Levels Layer
– Add Adjustment Layer – Gradient – Foreground to transparent, radial, adjust scale, reverse

(Adapted from this website: http://www.tricky-photoshop.com/high-key-portrait/)

Here it is again with a little more depth of field:

IMG_3390

Painting with Light

Here’s my first attempt using a technique called “painting with light.”

Painting with Light

It’s kind of fun… We had a workshop with Nick Butler of Buffalo State University last week.

Basics:  (1) Put camera on tripod.  (2) Set up the scene.  (3) Small aperture, 30 second shutter speed.  (4)  Make the room black.  Click the shutter release.  Use flashlights to light the areas of the image you want to be exposed.

In thirty seconds, you can easily be in two places in the photo!  If I had actors, you wouldn’t have to see my hand moving the flashlight.

This was just practice.  Hoping to do my official assignment with Deb Eck in her studio!

Here’s another practice using two different flashlights with different colors of light:

Painting with Light

“Finished” Project #3

This has been a very challenging project.

First, it’s conceptual. That is, we were to come up with an idea first, then make the photographs. This way of working is quite foreign to me. I tend to take my camera for a walk and see what images present themselves to me… a method that is very relaxing, meditative, almost spiritual.

The concept: we were to select a poem or song lyrics and interpret it photographically. I was surprised how quickly I settled on “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her” by Paul Simon. I could see all the photographs in my mind’s eye… sort of. And they all had challenge number two: people.

I don’t typically shoot people. I hate to be photographed, so I assume all people do… That makes it hard to create a shooting experience that is pleasant for me or for the subject.

And of course there is my perfectionism. Not being able to create what is in my mind’s eye because I don’t have the time, materials, but most importantly the skills… it’s very stressful.

Anyway. Here it is. I’m not completely happy with the collection and would continue working on them if I knew what else to do to get them closer to the image in my mind’s eye. As with theatrical productions, you’re never ready; you just run out of time.

For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
by Paul Simon

What a dream I had,
pressed in organdy,
clothed in crinoline of smokey burgandy
softer than the rain.

I wandered empty streets
down past the shop displays

(I like the one with a single human better, but my instructor encouraged me to keep working the one with multiple… so I’m putting them both here. Can’t wait to hear from classmates which they like better.)

I wandered empty streets down past the shop displays...

I wandered empty streets down past the shop displays...

I heard cathedral bells
tripping down the alley way
as I walked on.

I heard cathedral Bells...

And when you ran to me
your cheeks flushed with the night.

And when you ran to me your cheeks flushed with the night.

We walked on frosted fields
of juniper and lamplight.
I held your hand.

We walked on frosted fields

And when I awoke
and felt you warm and near
I kissed your honey hair
with my grateful tears.

And when I awoke and felt you warm and near...

Oh I love you girl.
Oh I love you.


I am very grateful to Sheridan and Maggie for being my actors in this project. They were patient and so very helpful. Thank you!!


Things I was unable to achieve:
– pressed in organdy (may print on fabric to get this effect, or photograph some fabric and use as a translucent layer… tried with some fabric textures I found online, but wasn’t happy with the effect.)
– clothed in crinoline (If I could re-shoot, I would put Maggie in a smokey burgandy gown in a shop window for Sheridan to walk past. I also could see the edges of the dream photos with a crinoline as a partial frame… but have no idea how to do that…)
– In the shop display, it was suggested to me that i duplicate the striped window shade and put it over the Men’s Suit sign. I don’t know how to do that and make it look seamless.


Update: Ooh, ooh! I figured out the copy and transform thing:

IMG_3162-Shop Display - 1 Sheridan

I wandered empty streets…

This one is giving me fits… Any suggestions?

I wandered empty streets down past the shop displays...

“I wandered empty streets down past the shop displays.”
For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her – Paul Simon

Another Attempt…

I heard cathedral bells tripping down the alley way as I walked on…

I heard cathedral bells tripping down the alley way as I walked on.

A couple of the light sources seemed distracting, so I removed them:

I heard cathedral bells...

Work in Progress

Our current assignment is to interpret a poem or song lyrics with photographs. I picked “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her” by Paul Simon.  Here’s a first attempt at one of the images.  I may play with it some more… the project isn’t due until Feb 24!  Comments and suggestions welcome.

… I wandered empty streets down past the shop displays …

IMG_3159-Landers Orton

And I’m thinking about treating all the photos in the collection with a fabric texture like this:

IMG_3159-Landers Orton w Fabric

…because of the lyric:  “What a dream I had, pressed in organdy…”  (Is it too much?)

Or not enough?  What about this:

IMG_3159-Landers-5 SheridansToo crunchy?