Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Magnolia 2

After the trip to the park on Saturday I met up with the lovely Magnolia Song to do a shoot at St. John's University. It was a pretty overcast day, so we decided to use the fourth floor of D'Angelo as our location. It has a very long hallway, a newly painted white wall and rows of GIGANTIC windows. It's basically a dream location for doing headshots outside of a studio, and it's never busy except if there are school functions going on.

Magnolia 1

This was what the ambient looked like when we got there. Really a great quality to the light coming in through the big windows on the left, so all we wanted to do was even out the exposure by placing a big light source to the right. Chose to go with the big softbox since it's pretty soft while still having a specular quality, which gives some subtle contrast to the light on her face.

Magnolia 9

Magnolia was completely natural in front of the camera, varying her pose just a little bit but enough to make each shot feel unique. The big light sources we were using allowed us to play around with poses and positioning really freely. By just moving to the window, we shifted from having the softbox filling in shadows to having it provide a rim light which made the shots have a fashion-y feel.

Great shoot. Great model. Great day!

Green With Envy

Wooded Path

It has been a while, hasn't it? Very busy two weeks producing pictures for the Torch and writing very long and complicated papers. I've still got quite a bit of work to finish before the year ends, but I really can't complain. It's all been pretty exciting!

I got a little reprieve from all the hurry of deadlines and citations last Saturday though. Spent the first half of the day traipsing around Central Park with Dr. Frank Cantelmo, his daughter and the one other person from my class who was willing and able to come on a weekend morning. Our little group was lucky to have Sgt. Sunny Corrao showing us around all the various areas of the park. We also picked up two other people along the way: a young couple from Pittsburgh that were in town for just the day.


In spite of the lackluster showing we had a blast and got to cover a pretty large swath of the park including some bits that are usually off limits, like the Hallett Nature Sanctuary. It was a pretty small part of the trip, but I think I got some of the best pictures there just because it's so different from the surrounding area of the park. Nestled right at the bottom of the park near the Pond, you'd never guess that such a beautiful little glade was just a few yards away.


The cool bit about the Hallett Sanctuary is that it's mostly undisturbed; the only time any fauna are removed is when it interrupts a small path that runs through the area. The entire place feels much more real than the other highly preened parts of Central Park, with fallen trees around the place in various states of decay and wild flowers blooming in patches.


As we moved up north through the rest of the park we began rambling through what is appropriately called The Ramble! A criss-crossing maze of rough paths, it's really easy to get lost there - and we likely would have had we not had Sunny guiding us. On our trip down the maze we happened upon a few trees that were totally covered in these very small white mushrooms. Sunny told us they were called turkey-tails, and that if we were ever lost and hungry in the forest they were actually quite edible (as long as they had a porous underside).

Dr. Cantelmo was pretty elated at this discovery and proceeded to eat a couple before we finished up our tour at Belvedere Castle. The whole trip was a lot of fun, and gave me an opportunity to take pictures of things I normally wouldn't think to like pine trees and rock formations.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Common Grackle

A lots happened in the past few weeks. Became Assistant Photo Editor at the Torch (St. John's Uni newspaper), which basically means I get to think of picture ideas to match stories. Sorta like an art director kind of deal mixed in with some actual editing. It's a blast, and it's really pretty challenging. Working parts of the brain that I've worked before personally, but now with the pressure of a deadline and the knowledge that what I do will be published.

Also, there is the whole 'working for an hour on layouts/ideas that will never be seen by anyone' side of it, which is pretty deflating. But I'm getting off topic; this post is supposed to be about a bird!

The above picture was taken at Central Park last Thursday after three long days of rain. Hundreds of birds were out and about, happy to be able to eat and enjoying the warmth. This bird was following Jaclyn, Pauline and I around the path, looking curiously at us while still keeping his distance. I tried to get low and stay small as I inched closer but as soon as I did he would get skittish and trot away. Some of the ground shots came out alright, but it's this one on the branch that I really like; you can see his eye really clearly and that lovely iridescence on his wing.


Also shot a few frames of Pauline as the sun was setting. We were wandering through the park and came to a bridge with these lovely yellow vine flowers that had just bloomed. They were really pretty with the sunset light hitting them, so I decided to use them as a backdrop by just lowering myself a few inches and looking up at Pauline. This picture confirms my theory that this girl just can't look bad during a sunset.

Till next time.


Sarah Nelson 6

Took pictures of the lovely and extremely smart Sarah Nelson for a story on women in mathematics that ran last week in the Torch (full article here). I already knew Sarah pretty well and we'd talked about taking pictures before, so it was pretty easy to approach her for this series.

Had an absolute blast setting up and doing the shooting, too. I had a clear image in my head beforehand of her lit by a big key and the blackboard with writing on it being her background. Easy to understand and pretty easy to execute, and gets the idea across. Total shooting time was maybe 40 minutes to an hour from setup to packing up.

In hindsight I'd like to have had a reflector to fill in some of the shadows on Sarah a little bit and separate her a little. But that's a minor complaint on what was a really fun shoot to do.