Wednesday, April 20, 2011

29/52 Amanda Clifford

29 weeks in to this project, and I'm running out of one-liners for this section of the writeup. This is the first thing that came to me: "This is a photograph that I took." That's my A-material right there, folks.

Amanda Clifford is a photographer and cinematographer. She graduated from Columbia with a degree in film and video. She is a true world traveler, frequently heading off to far-flung destinations to work on documentary and narrative projects alike. When she's not in Pakistan, Cambodia, China, or any other imaginable location for either work or pleasure, she calls Chicago home. 

I approached Amanda about doing a portrait without giving much thought to location or setting. When I started to think about it, the only thing that made sense to me was to catch up with her on her travels. I figured I've always wanted to check out Beijing, and this would be the perfect excuse.

Too she's in Chicago at the moment.

Let me take a moment to say that this project TOTALLY has the budget to fly me anywhere in the world to take pictures. I.. uhh.... just choose not to. Anyways, back to this week's portrait.

Amanda and I met up in Chicago's Chinatown and sought out a suitable stand-in for the orient. It was a grey hazy day, which made my job of shooting outdoors much easier with my little lights. We did two looks, one in front of a storefront and the other using a large Chinese bank as a backdrop. For both, i kept the light simple. I relied heavily on ambient to set my exposure and supplemented with a key to high camera right. The light more dimensionalizes her face rather than drastically changing the photo. Here are some outtakes:

I liked this one a lot. It was a close call between it and the one above.

This is a shot from when we set up in front of the bank. It's by far the most non-western looking building in Chinatown

The sun had started to peek out from behind the clouds, messing my whole game up. It was just bright enough to edge Amanda about 1 stop too hot, and also I would have rather had it coming in at a sharper angle behind her. I was left with the choice to overexpose the sun and balance the flash with the rest of the frame, or try to balance the flash to the sun and have everything look weird. Obviously I chose the former, but that was far from a perfect solution.

Strobist Info:
SB-800 camera right through 32" silver-over-white umbrella

Camera Settings:
1/100 f/6.3 at ISO 250
Nikon 17-55 f/2.8 @ 22mm

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