Tag Archives: Mount Pleasant

Coffee Bean Still Life

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For this week’s assignment I decided to photograph some inanimate objects and do a still life. My boyfriend’s love for me is comparable to his love of coffee. A large portion of his coffee consumption he actually roasts at home. So we had these beautiful Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans hanging around that had this amber brown shade coffee3to them and some still had the sheen of oil from being roasted only two days prior.

I really wanted to play around with using light to shoot from underneath which I did in the image to the right. I actually took the glass from my coffee table and and lined the underside with a white sheet to use as a consistent base but doubles as a diffuser and set my speedlite to aim straight up. I also had a second speedlite set up to light up the beans from the top. I really liked the detail it brought out with really defining the shape of the individual beans while also keeping a lot of the shadows on that center cut of the bean.

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I decided to use a mirror as a base for a couple of the other images. I really liked the reflection of the coffee beans in the images and the extra bit of depth it added.

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“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.

Studio portraits

This week in the studio we were photographing portraits, images of people with props or something that tells a story about the subject. My models were Amanda and Kendra.

Amanda:

Amanda was a blast to have in the studio. She played a lot of rap music that I’d never heard of and told me a lot about modeling she had done in the past so she was really easy to work with. Amanda plays softball and in recent years has also taken up guitar so we decided to just shoot both since we had enough time.

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Amanda Kelley, 25,  just started playing guitar within the last year. “I’ve always wanted to play an instrument,” Kelley said. “I’m a person that always has to be doing something with my hands.

The image above was taken at f-stop 18, ISO 200, and a 1/160 shutter speed. We started off shooting with her guitar, mostly based on the fact that we forgot her softball bats in her car back at my apartment. (Shout out to my wonderful boyfriend for coming to the studio, getting her keys, going home to get her bats, then bringing them back to us since we only had one hour in the studio).

We also experimented with faraway shots and different poses to try something you don’t see as often when you see someone with a guitar.

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Amanda Kelley, 25, poses with her guitar. “When I was young I would listen to music and half the time I didn’t even hear the lyrics because I was too focused on the instruments,” Kelley said. “My stepdad gave this guitar to me on Christmas last year.”

The image above was taken at f-stop 16, ISO 200 and 1/200 shutter speed.

The softball shots were a lot of fun and it took me so many tries to get a photo of her throwing the ball in the air and actually capturing the ball but I finally got it.

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Amanda Kelley, a broadcast and cinematic arts major at Central Michigan University, throws her softball in the air. “Softball is something I decided to do because I was bored and I loved it,” Kelley said.

This image was taken with the same f-stop 16 and shutter speed of 200 and still at ISO 200. I thought I would have to move it up to capture the ball’s movement, but the flash helped significantly.

I really wanted to share the last photo because it was so random and I told her to give me a face showing me how much of a badass softball player she is. This image is the result of that remark.

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Amanda Kelley gives her game face posing with her softball training bats and softball. “During the summer I would practice 3 or more times per week so I would do better at the games,” Kelley said. “Every game I played was a double header so I wanted to be prepared.”

Kendra:

Kendra saved my butt. I originally had another model lined up and the model messaged me the night before saying he was too swamped and would be unable to meet in the studio anymore. Kendra worked with my boyfriend previously and she responded to an SOS message I put up on Facebook saying that she’d be available during the studio time I had scheduled and could help me out. This is what we came up with.

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Kendra Peabody, 23, is pursuing a degree in family studies at Central Michigan University. Peabody said television shows like Cupcake Wars and Baking Holiday Championships got her into baking. “When I was around 15, I actually helped my neighbor bake my parents an anniversary cake for anniversary,” Peabody said. “That was the first cake I ever got to bake that was completely homemade. It’s always been a dream of mine to own a bakery.”

The image above was taken at ISO 200 with f-stop 16 and a shutter speed of 1/200. I bumped up the shutter speed to make sure we caught the cracking of the egg considering we only brought two.

We ran out of eggs pretty quickly and the concoction that we were making was very pretty smelly and gross looking so we started messing around with the ingredients we had such as flour and we ended up with the image below.

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Kendra Peabody, from Ionia, Michigan, blows flour at the camera.

The image above was taken at f-stop 16 and ISO 200. I set my shutter speed at 1/200 again so we could blur the flour to see movement, yet still stop it enough that you could tell what it was.

For the shoot, Kendra brought her mixer from home and we had also brought measuring cups, flour, eggs, and an assortment of spatulas and anything we might end up wanting to use. But when she walked into the studio she said, “you know I really just want to throw some flour around, could we do that?” And we ended up with that image. It was so much fun to make a mess and really capture the excitement on her face, though we ended up with a lot of images of getting a bunch of flour in her hair.

SASS Burlesque Revue to Perform Post Valentine’s Day Burlesque Show

The ladies of the SASS Burlesque Revue will be performing their “Love Hangover Burlesque Show” on Saturday, Feb. 27 at Rubble’s Bar.
There will be a $10 cover charge at the adult only event, the proceeds of which according to the group are reinvested into future shows and covering costs.
The show will begin at 10 p.m. at the bar, located on 112 W. Michigan St. in Mount Pleasant.
SASS, standing for Smart and Sexy Sirens, is a mixed sex performance art group. Some of the performers were formerly part of another burlesque group in Mount Pleasant, The Pleasant Ladies.
Performers include Allie Baster, Red Deane Willing, Goldie N. Ticket, Margaret Snatcher, Etta Cetera, Johnny Shoes (previously Oliver Clothes Off), Sean Scissorkick Stout, Amber Dextrous, Raven Lamore, and Dan Gleesack. The SASS crew requested to be identified only by their stage names.
In previous performances SASS has featured interactive activities with the audience such as strip trivia and passing out candy at their Halloween show.

Mayhem at Spinning Wheels

Mount Pleasant’s Central Michigan Mayhem women’s roller derby team is competing in a home bout next month against the Bath City Roller Girls.
The event will be on Saturday, Feb. 20 at Spinning Wheels Arena located at 1241 N. Mission Road in Mount Pleasant.
The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the skating will start at 7 p.m.
Mayhem skaters are selling tickets for $8 in advance, but tickets will be available at the door for $10.
Vicky VanHout, 21, also known by her skater name Tony Sparks is a senior at Central Michigan University. VanHout started skating with the Mayhem team a year ago. Prior to joining the team, VanHout said she had no derby experience.
“I wasn’t sure I would stick with it. When I first started out, it a lot of failure,” VanHout said.  “It was actually the support of my teammates that kept me with it. Without their constant encouragement, friendliness, and love for the sport and each other, I don’t I’d have even made it past the first week.”
VanHout said she started skating bouts in October, but the bout against Bath City will be her first home bout.
“I couldn’t be more excited to skate at our own rink,” VanHout said.
VanHout tried out for the team after a girl in her class gave her a flyer for Freshmeat February, a yearly recruitment event featuring a new-skater workshop, free drop-ins throughout the month, and a meet and greet.
According to VanHout, the meet and greet and workshop is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 22 this year at 7 p.m. during Mayhem’s regular practice time. The workshop is for skaters of all skill levels, including those with no prior experience. Equipment and skates are provided; workshop participants need only to bring a mouth guard.