ISO 100 | 17mm | f 8.0 | Bracketed

Some people treat life like a big game.  They run around from place to place, seeking thrills and excitement, trying to score big and make a name for themselves.  Playing by the rules when it’s convenient, bending them when it’s not, they set their own course, desiring pleasure and concerned only for their own personal gain.  For some reason these people never maintain a very serious outlook on life, and at the first sign of obstacles or difficulties, they abandon ship and look for an easier, more comfortable game to play.

The truth is that life is a battle.  Everyday presents a new set of challenges, a conglomeration of predicaments, a cornucopia of unexpected twists.  Circumstances will attempt to get you down, failures will try to destroy you.  The enemy will surround you on every side and nearly convince you that defeat is inevitable.  What little courage and determination you have will seem insignificant in light of the adversity you’re facing.

But life was meant to be lived courageously.  Life was designed to be pursued with vigor and determination.  So you may get knocked down.  So you may get hurt, dirtied up, or ambushed by the assailants of life.  What does it matter?  Why should that stop you from picking yourself up, brushing yourself off, and jumping right back into the fray?  Should anything keep you from performing to the best of your ability?  Remember, life isn’t a game, it’s a full-on battle.

So how do you rank on the scoreboard of life?  Do you find yourself listed among the top 10, or are you lucky to get past the second ambush on Level 1?  Does this life mean enough to you to get down and dirty and risk getting annihilated in the first few rounds?  The struggle is real, and life is a battle, but just like any gamer who dedicates himself to playing and learning the nuances of a new game, the more you dedicate yourself to studying, learning, and pursuing life, the quicker you’ll learn to deal with defeats and counteract the moves of the enemy.  Push hard.  Give it all you’ve got.  Fight until you’ve got nothing left.

Let’s get some points on that board!

One week left!  Week 52 is just around the corner!
I had so much fun with this shoot.  I’ve wanted to do light painting for a very long time, but never had a good excuse to do it.  This was an amazing experience for me, and it’s helped me better understand how light works and has given me ideas of how to utilize this technique in the future.
The concept behind light painting is that you start with a black canvas and slowly, frame-by-frame, sculpture and bring to life the various elements in your scene using various lighting tools (strobes, headlamps, flashlights, etc.) and typically a long exposure (5-30 seconds).  This obviously requires that the environment be dark, which limits this technique to shooting in rooms with no windows or shooting at night (I opted for the second option in this case).
The great thing about this technique is the amount of control you have over the light in your scene.  Because of the lack of ambient light, everything that is lit in the scene must be lit by you, which gives you as the photographer a ton of control.  Not only can you affect the brightness of the light, but you can also affect the color, the spread, the direction, and the scope of the light.  These are all things you could realistically accomplish with a regular strobe setup, but it wouldn’t be very economical (I’d need at least 10-12 strobes to get the same lighting setup I have in my image), and you wouldn’t be able to capture the movement of the light (such as the light trails on the ground) because you wouldn’t be shooting with a long exposure.
So just to break the shoot down briefly, I scoped out the locate before dark and started getting my camera and lights setup.  I also brought my laptop with me so I could shoot tethered (which was a huge asset during this shoot, it made it so much easier to be able to look at the images on a larger screen).  I photographed my self-portrait with three strobes, a beauty dish for key light to camera left, a strobe with a honeycomb grid and CTB gel to camera right to act as rim/side light, and a third strobe with a regular reflector dish behind the camera to act as fill.
I then took the beauty dish and placed it outside the frame to scene left and lit the scene with a gentle side light, just enough to catch the edges of the architecture and fill in a few details.  Everything else was lit using a hand-held hot-shoe flash and various colored gels.  I basically ran around all over the place firing light into different nooks and crannies, trying to find the best places from which to light the various objects in the scene.  For the shots of myself in the background, my helpful assistant, Sam, fired the flash manually against the wall behind me, outlining my form against the bright backdrop.
The best part of this shoot was running around with the flashlight on a 20 second exposure.  I had a ton of fun creating weird and interesting light paths and illuminating different objects with the motion of the light from the flashlight (some of which I incorporated into the final image).
There’s a lot more I could say about this image, but it would take too long to tell, so here’s an animation giving you a breakdown of this shot image-by-image that hopefully will give you a better idea of what all went into this project.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s image.  One more week to go, be on the lookout for the final addition to this project!

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