The previous post, as well as this one, are dedicated to my city, Detroit. This is the overpass at Telegraph Rd and I-96. The oncoming traffic (the white light streaks) are cars exiting Detroit and entering Redford.
I suppose that now would be as good of a time as any to post these images of Noah Stephens, creator of the popular The People of Detroit blog/photo project ( http://www.thepeopleofdetroit.com/ ). Noah recently announced via his TPOD site that he was accepted into the Detroit Creative Corridor Business Acceleration program. I’d first off like to extend my congrats to him. TPOD has flourished into an amazing project and site, and Noah has done a great deal of work combating all the negative imagery and stories about Detroit that are put out by the local and national media. He has earned and deserves every bit of recognition he receives, and I’m honored to call him a friend of mine.
Now that all the mushy shit is out of the way, let’s REALLY talk about Noah. He’s not all positivity, double rainbows, and group sing-a-long’s. Truth be told, he’s kind of a jerk. Getting Noah out of his cave and interacting with other human beings can be like pulling teeth, which is why it was surprising that we were able to get out one night and have this photo shoot. We’d often talked about collaborating on some nighttime shooting, and on this fateful night when all the stars aligned, Noah shaved his Moses beard, shed his tattered hobo rags in favor of a t-shirt and jeans, and we hit the streets for some nighttime shooting.
My goal for the night was to showcase Noah’s lesser-known personality traits. Actually, who am I kidding? My goal for the night was just to get a decent shot. One of the most difficult aspects of shooting at night is getting proper focus on your subject, and both Noah and I struggled to do just that.
My SECONDARY goal for the night was to showcase Noah’s lesser-known personality traits. The image at the top of the post was my favorite of the night. I wanted to capture him doing something goofy, and told him to grab his camera. My initial idea was to capture him making out with his lens (and believe you me, I did), but I ended up liking the above image much more. I find it to be a good mixture of Noah doing something goofy (stroking his lens like Dr. Claw stroked Mad Cat on Inspector Gadget), while simultaneously looking pretty diabolical.
I call this image, “Noah the Cynic.” I think this is the face that Noah makes at his computer screen while reading his Facebook newsfeed. It says, “Did you REALLY just say that? Are you REALLY that dumb?”
This is “Hopeful Noah.” He has hope for the future. Hope for the kids. Hope for the city of Detroit. He’s sees brightness on the horizon. All that corny stuff, and any other cliches you can come up with.
This is Noah’s “Come hither, you know you want this” look that he gives the beautiful women he encounters on TV when he’s not leaving his home. lol
If you live under rock and have not yet seen Noah’s “The People of Detroit” blog and photo project, check out the site at http://www.thepeopleofdetroit.com/
You can also check out Noah’s Flickr page for hi-res images from TPOD, as well as some of his work … http://www.flickr.com/photos/noahstephens/
And of course, you can follow him on Twitter … http://www.twitter.com/peopleofdetroit
Until next time…
Last night, I attempted my first ever night time portrait session. I’ve had shoots that ended around dusk/night, but this one didn’t even start until about 11pm. I had the homie O come through and be the guinea pig for the shoot. Real quick, before I continue, he has a blog as well. Check it out here http://www.o-get-whitted.blogspot.com/ , and while you’re at it, follow him on Twitter as well (@Detroit_O).
Anyway, the shoot itself took place in the middle of the street – a street that still had fairly high traffic at midnight. The most obvious issue with shooting at night is how you’re going to light the subject. Surprisingly, this was the LEAST of my problems. I figured out my lighting on the sidewalk before we started shooting. Once I knew what setup I wanted to use, when traffic was clear, we’d run out in the street and take the shots. We’d run out of the street when cars were coming. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
The lighting setup wasn’t too difficult to figure out. For starters, I knew I had to factor in those funky orange-colored street lights throwing off my white balance. So I threw a full CTO gel on my light and set the white balance to tungsten, or as I like to call it, “light bulb.” I shot into a reflective 60″ umbrella, at *I believe* 1/4 power. The umbrella was probably about 4 feet or so from O, camera right. I upped my ISO slightly to 400 in camera, and shot wide open at f/1.4. To get a proper exposure on the background, my shutter speed was at 1/10. As complicated as all this sounds, I worked all this out in my head quickly and easily.
The most difficult part of this shoot, aside from dealing with the cars, was getting my camera to focus! I spent a large part of the time too far away from O, and the camera simply could not find him in the darkness. Once I got close enough for the AF-assist light to find him, things smoothed out.
Another technique I tried for the first time was stacking my gels. The full cut of CTO that I placed on my light was to balance the light with the street lights. Basically, it just made everything look “right.” However, to me, “right” started to get a little boring. So I stacked a 1/4 CTB gel (blue) on top of the CTO, which helped cast a nice blue light onto O, as you’ll see below.