Inspirations – Gary Mitchell
This image of Adrina among the roots was made with my Canon 50D and 16-35 2.8 back in June of 2009. It was f8 at 1/100. Sounds great, right? Well, it’s also shot at 1600 ISO, because just prior to arriving at this location, the model and I had been trying to shoot in an abandoned space that was very dark. So I’d cranked up the ISO to try to get a workable shutter speed under those conditions — then forgot to adjust it back to my usual 160 or 320 before resuming outdoor shooting. For various reasons, a tripod was not practical for this location, so the high ISO actually worked out well. It did allow me to shoot at a an optimal aperture for sharpness and depth of field, plus a high enough shutter speed to get very good sharpness hand-held, so a little noise is a trade-off I can live with. I’ve exhibited a 16×20 inch print of this image and the noise does not detract in my opinion — being properly exposed and not having heavy shadow or solid areas makes noise less of an issue. Converting to monochrome in Lightroom, adding a little vignette, and some secret herbs and spices completed the picture. I frequently shoot RAW with monochrome picture style because it gives me a good preview of what the image will look like in B&W, which is pretty much my “native language” when it comes to photography. Of course, the RAW file gives me the option to use color when an image calls for it.
About the image, we were in pursuit of a purported waterfall in an area south of Dayton, Ohio, but I’d not had a chance to scout this location ahead of time. So it wasn’t until we were on the scene after a 20 minute walk into the woods that we saw the stream was nearly dry, and nothing even resembling falls in sight. But the roots of these two trees on the shore of the stream bed provided a lot of visual interest and possibilities. Adrina tried some poses in the little cubby hole on the right side of the trees — I like those shots, but finding the spot where she could stretch out among the roots was a clear winner. As serene as this image looks, she was contending with the usual spiders and insects, while still managing to look graceful. We worked the scene a bit more, as well as some other spots near there before we headed back to the car, but I was confident that this frame would be the standout from that location. ~ Gary Mitchell