Wednesday, August 18, 2010

GOYA - Athletic Self Portaits

I'm not one to jump in front of a camera, but every once in a while you have to be your own model just to test out some ideas. Besides, it's about that time to update my Facebook profile image.
I'm actually competing in my 2nd triathlon this weekend and sports psychologist have written to visualize yourself having a great race. As a photographer I needed to take it a step further and see if I could make myself look like a triathlete.

I've had some ideas floating around and I wanted to give them a try. I still have more ideas, but they will require a bit more gear and some assistants. I kept it simple using a 3 light setup.

As you can see from the diagram above, I used 2 430EXII with Honl Speed Grids for the sides. Placing them slightly behind me and pointed toward my back so that I'd get a nice rim of light and separation from the black background. The main light was a 580EXII in a Wescott 28" Apollo Softbox. I kept the power on the 430EXII set at 1/16. The 580EXII was set to 1/2 power.

I wanted a shot where the swim goggles would go completely white from the reflection of the soft box. I moved the soft box so that it was directly over the camera and then tilted my head until I got the shot I wanted.

Later I changed into a triathlon specific suit and was going to try to do 3/4 length shots. As I did some test shots to make sure my side lights were positioned properly, I turned off the 580EXII in the softbox. I actually liked the more dramatic results and came up with this shot below.
This is one of the reasons I love to experiment with lighting techniques. You never know what you'll get and it might surprise you. It's a great learning experience and another look I can try in future sessions.

I then tried a series with the 580EXII with the soft box. I didn't like it at 1/2 power as I was really liking the dramatic look and shadows, but I wanted to see a little detail in the shadows and still retain some of the dramatic look.
I set the 580EXII at 1/16 power to bring out more details from the shadows in the face and arm.

I also used the same setup for a cycling shot.

I've got an idea to do a triptych, combining images representing the swim, bike & run. I couldn't do it this time since it's a bit more difficult to run in a small space and trigger your camera, even with a self timer.

I used a Hi-pass filter sharpening technique in Photoshop and even did some cropping for composition to finish off the final images. I also used a spray bottle on myself to add the water detail.

I've never really considered myself an athlete, just someone that ran or cycled for exercise and recreation. This past April I joined the Atlanta Triathlon Club to train with and achieve a goal to complete a triathlon. Not only did I complete a triathlon, but I'm competing in a second one this Saturday in Peachtree City and looking at doing another 2 before the end of the year. Next years goals are to step up  to Olympic distance and even a Half Ironman. I am not just an athlete, but a triathlete and after looking at these images I look like one. If you've ever thought of doing a triathlon, consider joining the Atlanta Triathlon Club, it's a great group of individuals and coaches that will guide you into finishing your first triathlon.

If you're looking for a portrait photographer in the Atlanta area, visit my portfolio.

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