Thursday, October 21, 2010

Painting with Light Two

Tomye and Lonnie

Just thought I'd try for some more images in the Painting with Light Assignment. Closer but still no cigar.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Painting with Light at Night

I re-took the picture of David hiking in the woods at night. The aperture was reduced from 22 to 8 and the ISO was changed from 400 to 100. The time exposure was changed from bulb to 5 seconds.

There is still quite a bit of noise in the image but the final image is somewhat improved.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Painting with Light Assignment

OK but no cigars.

This assignment had a steep learning curve since I have never done any painting with light before. My images are elementary. Sorry but I did try.

Of all our assignments, this has taken the longest because I had to redo a couple of the shots. Learning how handle images in post-processing took the most time. My not knowing how to do layers in Photoshop was the most difficult hurdle to overcome.

After seeing what can be done with light painting and how it can be used to enhance certain situations, I can tell that I'll keep this little skill in my handy tool bag.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mid-Semester Project Update

Studied Portrature

This semester in PHO 209 my goal is to study the work of accomplished portrait artists and try to emulate their styles in order to take my own work to another level. This has been so much harder than I ever imagined. A portrait looks so easy to do but it is not. After attempting to duplicate the work of several artists, I am developing a whole new appreciation for those who can capture light, character, posture, a sense of time and place, etc. in their portraiture. I must admit that I have failed to produce the quality of most of the artists I have tried to study so far this semester.

One of my favorite artists is Edward Hopper. His work looks almost like a photograph to me although he worked with oils, watercolors and etchings. According to Wikiipedia, "Most of Hopper's figure paintings focus on the subtle interaction of human beings with their environment—carried out with solo figures, couples, or groups. His primary emotional themes are solitude, loneliness, regret, boredom, and resignation. He expresses the emotions in various environments, including the office, in public places, in apartments, on the road, or on vacation.[ As if he were creating stills for a movie or tableaux in a play, Hopper positioned his characters as if they were captured just before or just after the climax of a scene." (

With the photograph of Ambria, I tried to capture the sense of lonliness.

Blossom VFD Hamburger Stand
Another image I tried to do like that of Edward Hopper is the Blossom VFD Hamburger Stand. I have written grants for the Blossom Volunteer Fire Department off and on for the past 16 years. A couple of weeks ago there was a street dance in Blossom and a few of the guys were manning the stand. I wish I would have taken a lot more exposures of this scene but people were constantly moving about and it was hard to isolate the people for a composition.

The portrait of Gary was done with the idea of Yousuf Karsh. Karsh's portraits are simple, utilize available light and have little to no props. Some of his most famous portraits include Sir Winston Churchill, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Albert Einstein. The images are all in black and white.

Nudes in Modulated Light.
There is a book on my shelf simply titled, Herve Leger. The book is of Herve Leger's designs photographed by Francis Giacobetti. The images are all modulated light using zebra stripes. I tried everything I knew to get the stripe patterns across the nude model. I never achieved the lighting. So, I attempted to use everything else I could find at my office to modulate the light on the model.

Another book on my shelf is of the photographical work of Lewis Carroll. Carroll photographed children from May 1856 to July 1880. My only knowledge of Lewis Carroll was of him as an author of Alice in Wonderland which was published in 1865. Portraiture was Carroll's main field of interest and specifically little girls. The pictures of Elizabeth are my take on Carroll's portrait of Agnes Florence Price, the daughter of one of his contemporaries.

Andrew Eccles, who was Annie Leibovitz's assistant, has a unique portrait style. His portrait of James Thomas influenced me to take this picture of Stephen. The portrait of him is in his own environment and lit with only one light source. I think I might need to reshoot this picture of Stephen with a softer light coming from the closet. I think the image works better as a black and white just like Eccle's picture of Thomas.

The image of Carrissa is my attempt to imitate Patrick Fraser. Specifically, I tried to capture the essence of his photograph of Penny, Wyoming Rancher. His portraits have been termed 'classic with a twist'. My image does not have the fine details that Fraser's work captures.

Art Streiber.
I failed miserably at trying to do a picture like Art Streiber. They are so bad that I am not even going to share the final images. The picture I tried to do was like Streiber's photograph of Nicole Kidman. A friend of mine is elegant and has a beautiful home. The model and the setting were beautiful, my picture was not. If I try this again, I think I need to use a different lens.
The PHO 209 Project images can be found on my website at:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Classless Trys

Painting with Light

Here are my three trys at painting with light in class. I have a funny feeling this assignment is not going to be some of my finest work. The learning curve is steep!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Visions of Light

The Art of Cinemaphotography

I am not a movie buff. We were very very poor growing up and I did not get to go to the movies very much until I was an adult and then I had children. All fun stopped for about 10 years.

Not having seen very many of the movies introduced and discussed in the documentary, “Visions of Light - The Art of Cinemaphotography” in class on Tuesday, I found it very interesting and educational.

I had not an idea what the definition of Film Noir was. Good ole Wikipedia defines it as:
Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography. Many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic noir derive from the hardboiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Depression. Source:

I was mesmerized by the lighting in the film noir period more than any of the other time frames covered in the documentary. Some of the films discussed included The Docks of New York, The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man.

Another style that captivated me was that The Grapes of Wrath was filmed in journalistic, documentary-style with black and white textures and low-key lighting and chiaroscuro (often provided by a candle or low light source). After a little research I found out the cinemaphotographer, Gregg Toland, was not even nominated for an academy award. All the praise for the cinemaphotography went to John Ford.

The change in film size from 70 mm from the standard 35 mm motion picture film format in the movie Lawrence of Arabia (1962) was enlightening. I had never heard of Super Panavision 70 technology which was used by the cinemaphotographer, Freddie Young.

A term that I had not heard of and was not familiar with was New York Style Films. The example given was Naked City by William Daniels. “The movie, shot partially in documentary style, was filmed on location on the streets of New York City, featuring landmarks such as the Williamsburg Bridge the Whitehall Building and an apartment building on West 83rd Street (Manhattan) where the murder took place. William H. Daniels won an Academy Award for his cinematography. (Source:

The movie, Days of Heaven, was one that I had never even heard about. However, just from the small clips shown to us, I found the light coming from the windows and doors to be quite lovely.

I came away with a sense that I want to rent some of the film noir movies and steal some of the styles of photography out of them!

Copyrighted Pictures

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