The Making Of An Image

Very few people know what goes into taking an idea and turning it into a photograph.

I had the idea for this image months before it actually came to life. This photograph was created in Colorado at the end of a very long road trip. I flew from Los Angeles to Colorado and rented a Prius, then drove to Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and then back to Colorado. Along the way I  meet families in each state, photographed the children, and asked each child what they would do in the future if elected as president of the United States.

When I arrived at the campground in Colorado I met a family and spoke with them about the project. They were camped out at the perfect location right by the river. Once they agreed to be in the book, I started setting up my Profoto light and began taking light meter readings to find out what the ambient light read, and then adjusted my strobe light to read a one stop more.

When reading the ambient light for this image I needed to know the bright sun reading and not the shadow reading where my subject would stand. I metered the sunlight then adjusted my strobe light to read above the sun reading. To further explain this, Let's say the area where the trees in the background and river are is reading F 16 @ 1/125, but the shadow area is reading F 5.6. How would I expose this image?

I wouldn't care about the ambient reading in the shadow area. I need to know the light reading in the background. I dialed my strobe to read F 16.7 to F.22.0, This would make a proper exposure on my subject but keep the background from blowing out.

Bright sun reading: F 16.0 @ 1/125

Strobe reading: F 16.7 @ !/125

Shot: F 16.7 @ 1/125th


Driving this part of the country is incredibly beautiful, especially Montana and Wyoming, but you must constantly be on the lookout for deer. There were a few close calls with deer and countless times when I observed the remains of deer on the side of the road. At the end of this trip I made the decision to stop driving at night and to be extra careful on the highways.

Always dream big!