Capturing the Urban Experience

Student Photoboard for SA 364 - Urban Communities and Cultures
Student Photo Board for SA 364 – Urban Communities and Cultures (click on image)

This is one of the graded assignments for my urban sociology class. Throughout the semester, each student is expected to submit two photos they take within the Greater Vancouver Area. Alongside the photo, they provide information as to how that image relates to some of the themes and concepts that are covered in class, and they ask a question that is later discussed as a group in the seminar.

The learning outcome here is to develop students’ sociological perspective on the various manifestations of city life. The photo board is expanding every day!

Lights! Camera and Relight!

I recently attended a 1 day intensive photography workshop at Vancouver Photography Workshop Studios run by world renowned small flash photographer Joe McNalley (TIME, Life, Sports illustrated). The focus of the workshop was how to light using only small, portable flashes and minimal equipment. After a few hours of examples and discussion we took to the studio to shoot some shots of models.Below are three photos that I think outline the capability of a single, handheld camera flash and small soft box to create cool looks.

For this mission we were given a model, (this is Ross) and challenged to consider people and place. I decided on trying to turn Ross into an aging Rock Star ala Keith Richards.

_1040973  HERE you can see the level of light in the room without a flash. Just three or four little track lights. Look at the shadows in his eyes. That comes from only using lights from the ceiling.

_1040974Next I took a shot with the flash being held approximately 4-5 feet away. There is a trick that makes sense when you think about it, but at first seems counter-intuative. The further away you bring your light from your subject, the more “spill” there will be, as the light can bounce over more of the background. I also hadn’t quite set my focus length, so his hands are in focus while his face is not. (Definite no no).

_1040979For the final photo, I changed Ross’s position to achieve some symmetry, and moved the handheld flash in as close as possible to the subject without being in the frame. Using a small light box over the flash to soften and diffuse the light, I angled it from above and created a nice little light pocket that spills just a bit to the end of his hands.