Back Again

I returned to West Virginia in time to work all weekend, post a few photos of the day, touch up and disperse family and friend portraits from my trip to my hometown, and get caught up with school by completing two weeks worth of homework to SCAD. What I’m working on right now is Advanced Digital Imaging, whereby I’m learning more in-depth about photography software and techniques involved–such as heavy Photoshopping–and also I’m learning much more about Business for Photographers. I’ll post a little more on that later but for now I’m studying much on portrait retouching and body sculpting. Once again, more on Kaymoor buildings later. I haven’t had a chance to touch them up as much.

To get away from that for the time being, I’ll talk about the trip, which was great overall. I was able to make some great contacts at the career fair, and it was even more awesome to actually get a chance to talk with professionals and other colleagues in person from SCAD and from companies SCAD was marketing to us. There was an unexpected death in the family but besides that, I was able to touch base with lots of family, friends, former colleagues, mentors, and professors, some of whom I hadn’t seen for about two years, and most of whom I hadn’t seen for about eight months. My godchildren are growing, they’re two and four, my niece who’s two is now walking, and my nephews will be starting preschool soon. I’ll provide photographs below so you can gain a little more insight into my life and the loves of my life, as blogs go, and then I’ll write a bit about the technical aspects of a few of them. I don’t provide locations or names of these children, though, for safety sake.

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These are all my little buddies. Without their assistance, I would not be as good as portraits as I am to date. I admit, I’m still learning, but I do owe them credit. I love getting photographs like this of the children as soon as I get there following the initial excitement that I have come to visit after its been so long.
The third image, involving my best friend’s daughter, deals with low key portraiture–it was taken under low lighting conditions. The indoor lights were off completely, and while there was darkness to her right side, there was a sliver of light coming in from the left. In order to really bring out the darkness around her, I increased the contrast in the image and made sure that the lights were not brought down with it so that detail in her face would not be lost. Her beautiful blue eyes and golden hair really makes her features stand out against the dark background. It draws attention into her face.
The first image was of one of my nephews who had just made me help him clean out the fireplace and dump the bucket of cinders out into the field behind the house. You can still see the ashes on his face and arm, and I told him that he looked like a little coal miner. After playing a bit, he decided to go in and get himself some water, and while drinking decided he’d strike a pose, as you can see.
The photograph beneath that one is of my other nephew, who had been playing at the swings alone rather than asking me or his mother to help him get on them. Usually he’s a bit more camera-shy than my other nephew, so I’ve learned that it’s easier to let him do his own thing while I practice getting environmental portraits of him from afar. Shots like this of him seem to do quite well, as you can see. In one, it seems that he is modeling his CARS shoes, and in another, it seems he is just modeling as a child model would do. You can see that he is too short for the swings, but this doesn’t seem to bother him.
The second little girl is playing Pop Goes the Monkey with my brother. Again, this is an environmental shot meant to provide a story while capturing a special, happy moment in time. It does look like she’s smiling three times; her face reminds me of a super excited anime face. She’s my niece, and she’s just begun walking. It’s easy to get photographs of her, she never seems to worry about being in front of a camera, and she generally does her own thing regardless while being cheerful and goofy, especially just before nap-time. In the first image of her, she’s staring at me in nearly direct sunlight, so the blue of her irises were really standing out even though she may be squinting a bit. In the original, the black part of her bodysuit was lighter than it should have been, so to bring out contrast, I either brought down the shadows or blacks in the image. I had to bring down the highlights of the image in order to provide more detail in her face in this image. I then tinkered with a vignette until the desired effect was reached which still brought more attention to my little niece.
The final image is of Mancub, my awesome little Godson. He’s packed with energy at all times, and he’s always going. I don’t know how he did it in this scenario, but he managed to get on a swing by himself rather than me picking him up to do it. I shot this photograph from across the park with a zoom lens in order to get the best detail of his face with little distortion to his facial features. The sun was blasting in a bit from behind him, which allowed me to capture that sort of crowning effect, and his face is calm and happy as always while it is fairly obvious upon close inspection to see that he has been playing non-stop for the past thirty minutes to an hour. I composed the shot with his little body a little off to the right while he was looking back at me toward the left, then focused at his eyes and captured the image right in time as he was looking toward me. That’s my little Man-cub. Can’t wait to see them all again. That’s it!

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