“Painting with light” or “let’s try it again, but this way”

All I can say is that I am so grateful this assignment is done. I had a blast shooting and I am so very, very thankful for every hand that volunteered to help me out.

I shot both of my assignments outside and was relying on some good weather. I was not so lucky and nearly had to reschedule multiple times, due to rain and a random blizzard, but we made it work with special thanks to extra hands and also umbrellas and duct tape! This assignment had so many moving parts and learning how to perfect the photo by trial and error. I wouldn’t say it’s my strongest skill, but I made it out alive.

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For my first shoot I thought it would be neat to photograph something with light trails from a car which led me to the idea of shooting a hit and run scene. I had my boyfriend drive his car with his headlights off while I shot my friend laying on the ground (and it had rained that day and was still slightly raining, she really is a trooper) and I shot her at full power on the flash, then had her stand up and shot her with flash on lower power and with a blue filter, then had her exit the frame. To expedite the process I had bought a bunch of duct tape and tape the filter over the flash so that I wouldn’t drop the filter and lose it in the dark and also to ensure that it covered it completely.

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The duct tape also came in handy because it started raining just a touch during the shoot and we duct taped umbrellas over the equipment to protect it so we could continue shooting. I wanted to shoot wide but I was afraid of light coming in from the side tampering with the photo and since Amanda’s ghost figure was standing up, so to accommodate for that I would have to zoom the photo too far out, losing some of the impact of the image. I decided to shoot vertically and as tight possible, but the issue we ran into with that was Amanda was having a hard time finding the right spot in the frame to stand. Eventually we solved this by finding some random piece of paper and putting it on the ground so she would know where to stand, and the paper wouldn’t be seen in the image because her full physical body would block it.

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The idea for my second assignment was sparked by an example I saw that depicted what appeared to be either a Dragon Ball Z or Harry Potter battle. I loved the idea of doing Harry Potter and after brainstorming with a friend thought it would be neat to recreate that moment in the Goblet of Fire where the ghosts of Harry’s family come out of the wand during his first duel with Voldemort. We decided we were going to do a practice shoot so we could get a feel for what needed to be done and how to solve potential issues. I was clicking the shutter to start the exposure, running to flash her with the strobe then do the lighting at the end of the wand then lighting the characters and it was just so much. The practice shoot helped me get a system down and plan accordingly for things like needing a more effective flashlight. The one I was using had three settings so you couldn’t turn it off immediately and it ruined a lot of images because of it. The second shoot went a lot more smoothly and we were done in less than an hour.

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In class the week before Halloween we did a group project during the class. My team came up with the idea of Bloody Mary so we came armed with an assortment of lighting devices, camera equipment, and a fog machine. The most difficult parts of that shoot was honestly getting the timing down, making sure no one ended up in the shot, and the fog machine which would just quit randomly, but added a really nice touch to the photo. We had set up shop in the women’s bathroom in Wightman Hall on Central Michigan University’s campus, and since we have a late class we didn’t really have much of an issue redirecting anyone in need of a bathroom. We also didn’t need to have a super long exposure because we had enough hands which meant we were able to take more shots in the time we had available and get “the” shot.

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