Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Photographs for Refugees in Phoenix

      Buy a photograph and keep a great cause on track!

      Okay, as I know you are all crazy busy, and here I am demanding some of that time, so let me cut to the chase about how you may help make a difference. Only after that I'll explain my thinking, so you may act right away or, you're curious, read on for more details.

Cutting to the Chase: 

Photographs for charity,  
Cyber Monday (long weekend) special:
      Buy one fine art photograph through my brand new store on Scott's Marketplace, through Tuesday, Dec 3, and I will donate 15% of the sale to the Welcome to America Project, one of the local charities that I volunteer my photographic services to, bringing my international aid experience to an import local organization.
      Buy two and that goes up to 20%.
      Buy three or more and I'll make it 30%!
      (percentage will be figured before shipping and handling is added to the total).

      GO to D'Elia Photographic Photoscapes store! 


The Details
A new helmet to go with a new bike for a Liberian refugee to get to work.
      The Welcome to America Project is sorta like a "welcome wagon" for newly arrived refugees.

      They help folks who have been through trauma that have only read about, much less imagine, in escaping persecution based in politics and conflict, often under the threat to their lives. Those who are resettled in Phoenix, often arrive, and this is no exaggeration, with little more than the clothes on their back.

      WTAP helps get them settled by providing basic furniture and household items and even some clothing, helping ease the transition as they begin their new lives in a new country and culture. I've voluntarily done the culture adjustment before and it is no easy thing in the best circumstances.

      I volunteer for WTAP by providing my professional photojournalistic services to tell their story and history as a local, grassroots organization that makes a difference in people's lives.

A chance to put my bike knowledge to work assembling a new
machine for a refugee, with the help of "Bike Lady"
Jackie, a fellow journalist. 
      On occasion I get my hands dirty in other ways, turning a wrench or helping to lift a couch. During the holidays, my whole family gets into the act, "adopting" refugee family. I do this not because I look for appreciation, but rather because I feel compelled, and I am able to do so.

      I believe in what WTAP does.

      By raising funds through the sale of work, it's an amazing opportunity to lighten their load in another way, to keep the truck running, the storage units full, deliveries on track.

One of the images in question, Oak Creek.
The Store,
 D'Elia Photographic Photoscapes:
      I recently partnered with Scott's Marketplace to set up an online store for fine art photography. While my primary job is commercial and journalistic photography, I am a photographer inspired by anything that speaks to my visual muse.

      I enjoy photographing landscapes and cityscapes just as much I enjoy my other specialties and so I create according to what grabs me. This store provides another opportunity to share that inspiration.

     With all that is going on here at D'Elia Photographic Central, this store offers a chance to do several things at once, help out a causes that is near and dear to my heart, promote the buy-local cause, by working with another local business (Artisan Color is our large print photo lab), a local marketplace, (Scott's and Local First Arizona) and, yes, help my business grow just a little bit (maybe a lot?).

     Could we cover the cost of delivery to one household?

      Could we fuel the delivery truck or provide hardware and tools like nails, hooks and other supplies used to repair furniture and hang photos in refugee homes?

      As a community that appreciates photographic art, you and I could pay for a month's rent on WTAP's office and storage facility or fuel the delivery truck?     

     The more pieces of artwork that fly out the door, the more gets raised for WTAP.

      Is it conceivable that we could raise enough to cover all of the above?

               Go to D'Elia Photographic Photoscapes store!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Easy as Trash!

Our model for the morning, with no special lighting technique.
     "It's a pile of trash," she began.


     "No, really, I mean it is a pile of trash collected from the landfill from the 1970's arranged as a sort of sculpture," the client continued.

     They needed a picture for the center spread of an annual report for a trash management organization in the Valley.

     I can hear it now, its a pile of trash, how hard can that be? Some might even call it a snapshot.

     But this is for an annual report, she wanted it done right, photographed beautifully. 

Bottles show when light is pushed through them.
     You're thinking, "ick, a pile of trash," I'm thinking, this will be fun.

     It really is a fairly straightforward approach.

     Very simple, anyone could do it.

     It's only four lights and two umbrellas.

     And a gobo.

     And a foam core background.

Testing the rim light
     My plan, create a dramatic rim light to make it pop, to add that sense of something special to the objects while showing the bottles' color and transparency.

     The only way to really light glass is from above and or behind.

     Two lights with grid spots, done.

Every client needs options, so vertical
as well as horizontal with room for type.
     Next, with so many facets to the object I need to use two lights in front, to my left and right so that the viewer may see details. This light also needs to be soft and creamy to contrast with the rim light and create that sort of soft, inviting quality, so, that front lighting is fired into umbrellas.

     That said, I also don't want flat, no-texture lighting, so I set one umbrella dimmer than the other, allowing shadows to remain while still allowing visibility.

     That done, I need to reevaluate the difference between the rim lighting which should give some sense of crispness and sparkle, so I have to be sure that it's a little bit brighter than the umbrellas. 

     One more thing.

     Lens choice. 

     We're shooting in the middle of an office, so I'm looking for the narrow view of a longer lens to be sure I don't see extra stuff. Also, my background of foam core may show subtle texture, I want it completely blurred out. So I have to adjust the stobe power settings so that I can use a low enough aperture, be sure that only the trash focused.
Two backround/rim lights, two umbrellas and a gobo, right,  to keep out lens flare from the light on the right. O yeah and a couple of traffic cops to secure the location at the intersection of two hallways. 

     Once I start shooting I realize I have one more problem to solve. One of the rim lights, is spilling onto my lens, causing flare. No problem, clip a piece of foam core to another stand and position it close to the camera. This blocks the path of light from the strobe itself to my lens, while still allowing me to see my subject just fine.

     What I knew a long time ago, but what I discover with each shoot, is that the simplest thing, requires a great deal of effort and technique to create a great photograph.

      My client expressed surpise at all that went into the image. She was also very pleased that she chose a pro rather than making the image herself.

     Piece of cake. Anyone could do it.

The final image with room for design, as requested.