In my digital imaging 2 class this week we started to learn how to retouch portraits. We set up 3 different lighting situations in the studio, then we had to retouch 3 portraits we took. We used the clone tool, patch tool, content aware, and learned how to burn and dodge to even out skin tones and remove unwanted blemishes, stray hairs, wrinkles, and whiten or add more color to specific areas. Even though I am a photojournalism student, and I won’t really have to use these tools for my images, it’s good to know and have as a skill.
Monday was incredible. I was lucky enough to be able to drive to Nashville, TN to watch the eclipse. Khadejeh and I got into Nashville Sunday afternoon and just walked around taking street photos and experiencing Nashville night life, which was so interesting. Early Monday morning we drove over to the Parthenon to find a spot to photograph the eclipse from and find parking. We expected it to be insane when we got there but there was only one other person there claiming their spot, but then again it was 6 in the morning. We ended up spending most of the day with a group of photographers, and a meteorologist which was so awesome because if we had any concerns about the weather we had someone who knew exactly what was going to happen.
I had been thinking all week on what I wanted to photograph during the eclipse. I couldn’t decide on if I wanted reactions or just totality with the corona and the diamond ring. I decided to do both. I planned on photographing for about 45 seconds during the first diamond ring and then running over to my camera with the long lens and then bracket for the remainder until the second diamond ring. Like most of my plans, it didn’t work out. I was having a lot of camera issues right when totality started, and could only shoot about 2 photos every 5 seconds, which doesn’t sound bad but it is when you’re short on time. After about what felt like 10 seconds I started making my way back over to my camera with the long lens and right as I did that crowd started yelling and cheering and the eclipse was over. At first I was so upset I missed getting that shot of the corona and diamond ring, but after a while I realized that the only thing that mattered was that I got to actually see it and experience it. I met so many awesome people and saw something that I may only see once in my life time.
Thursday there was a random storm at about 8:30 right when I was about to leave the studio and head home. I was so tired and I really wanted to get to bed and try to catch up on some sleep before my performance exam the next day, but the weather had other plans. It started pouring down rain just as I was about to walk out the doors, so I ended up staying for about 45 minutes waiting for the rain to stop. As soon as it let up I threw everything in the car and tried to leave, but as I drove by the big parking lot at the front of the school this caught my eye, and I of course had to stop and shoot. It was so cool watching the mist build up and die down every few seconds and then see the little bit of sunlight die down behind the storm clouds in the background. Finding the time to shoot for myself was really difficult this week because of the numerous assignments that were due, and I of course procrastinated and was stressing over getting them submitted on time and trying to make them look like I didn’t wait until the last minute. I’m glad I took that 20 minutes to shoot for myself because it took a little bit of the stress of this past week away.
This week was a weird week for me. I felt like every picture I took wasn’t good enough. I shot every single day, and at the end of the day I would look through all of them and I felt like I came up short for every single one of my photos. I was making stupid mistakes, and I wasn’t in the creative mindset. Not on purpose, I just didn’t have it in me this week. Maybe it was because I was mentally and physically exhausted, and I really did need to take a break, but I didn’t actually want to take one. I tried working on my second time lapse for my multimedia class but it didn’t go well. I was making so many mistakes, I wasn’t taking my time, and I was just getting really frustrated. At this point I was done with the week and wanted it to be over as quickly as possible.
Friday, I went up to Grayson Highlands with Khadejeh to hike with her while she worked on her time lapse. I decided pretty early on in the hike that I was just going to try to relax and enjoy the nice weather. At about 6:30 the light started to change and it pretty much brought me back to life. I was exhausted from hiking and climbing all day. Khadejeh kept saying it was our “second wind” because all of a sudden we had so much energy like we had just chugged three Red Bulls. The photo above was one that I took during that time. It may not be my best, and it’s definitely not my favorite, but I had fun taking it. While shooting I was reminded how much I love light. Seeing the light change on the trees, rocks, plants, and mountains was amazing and it instantly changed my outlook on this past week.
Yet again Khadejeh convinced me to do something out of my comfort zone this weekend. Well actually she didn’t really need to convince me this time. She texted me Saturday morning and asked if I wanted to go to the annual Threshers Reunion in Denton, NC. I had no idea what that was but I was already bored at home from being on break from school (it’s been two days, I have seven left, but I’m not counting down or anything.) Little did I know I was about to step into redneck central.
Actually, it wasn’t really what I expected. I mean, I of course saw countless rebel flags, “Heritage not Hate” t-shirts, and only a few “Make America Great Again” hats…..okay maybe it was what I expected. Other than that it was a very interesting day and so much fun to photograph. About an hour into sweating our butts off a giant storm rolled through and cooled everything down a little and when it finally stopped raining they started the tractor parade.
It was really cool to see all of the different tractors, but the best ones were the ones the kids were driving. It was so funny to see these giant machines roll by and then the next one I would see was a tiny, almost toy like tractor a kid was driving, like the one above. After the parade was over we walked around finding things to photograph when we came across the stables. These horses were definitely bigger than the ponies we saw last weekend, but so much nicer.
Friday night Khadejeh convinced me to go camping with her at Grayson Highlands State Park, while she worked on her time lapse for our multimedia class. At first, I was honestly more interested in catching up on sleep from the past few weeks of school but as Kevin would say, “shoot now, sleep later.” That has honestly become my new motto, because missing out on an incredible opportunity to photograph beautiful landscapes, wild ponies, and to learn and grow as a photographer may only come once. Who really needs sleep when theres Red Bull and coffee, am I right?
I’ve never been camping before and let me tell you, my first experience was an interesting one, but SO much fun. After hiking up the side of a mountain with probably 50lbs of camera equipment and camping gear, we found our spot and set up for the night. We shot the stars well into the morning, just watching the Milky Way move across the sky while our cameras were time lapsing, and then woke up in time for the sunrise that morning. After the sunrise went hiking so Khadejeh could photograph the wild ponies but unfortunately we couldn’t find any. Only until we packed up and started heading back to the car is when we came across a team of ponies just grazing along the trail. We spent about an hour photographing them. I was taking photos Khadejeh trying to feed the colt some grass when he came up and started sniffing my lens, and of course I was shooting like crazy trying to capture this cute little moment.
This photo was part of a time lapse assignment that I took at sunrise this morning in Wrightsville Beach, NC. I find this photo hilarious because of the two seagulls fighting in mid air over a piece of food, and the two little feet hanging off of the lifeguard tower watching it all go down. Shooting this time lapse almost felt like I was back to shooting with film again because I unable to see how the photos were coming out until the interval timer was finished which brought back the excitement of shooting film. This assignment was so much fun and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together.