Monday, February 22, 2010

How To Get A Model To Pose

Based on the title of today's post you might think it's a little "tongue in cheek". It's about impossible to get a "critter" to pose, unless the little guy is of the inquisitive sort. Some animals are shy, some are bold and threatening, some are just curious. I'd like to say we snuck up on this guy out in the tall grass, but the truth is he was in the St Louis Zoo. Max (that's what I'll call him) and his buddies were wandering around their enclosure, popping up on their hind feet every once in awhile. They'd sit there for a moment or two and then scamper off to play. The key to isolating a "model" like Max is to use a shallow Depth of Field (DoF). Keeping the subject sharp and creating some bokeh as a background serves to "pop" the subject out from the background. Some people object to zoo animals in photograph. Their thinking is something along the lines of not enough suffering went into "getting the shot". I don't know? I don't "suffer" a whole lot when I set up a top table or do a product shot with a light tent in the gallery. I'm nice and warm (or cool, depending on the season), I have a beverage nearby, I'm controlling the light and life is good. There are times when a field trip is called for and hunting down an elusive whatever is the way to go. If a client is paying you for a shot of a mountain goat in Rocky Mountain National Park you'd better not try to fool 'em with a shot taken at the local Cabela's. If you'd like to read the story about how we happened to be at the St. Louis Zoo, read the "read more".

Before opening "The Kayview Gallery" last year, I had a career at a little west coast startup called Intel. Oh, what's that you say, you've heard of them? Oh my! A friend, who happened to be Intel liaison with the Circuit City chain asked if I could go down to Dallas with a couple of peers and him for a CCs manager's meeting. I talked to my boss and he said "if he wants you to be part of the team, go for it". I quickly started looking up flight information and found a couple of likely candidates. It was then I had a thought and called the other half of the gallery. I asked my wife if she was interested in going for a ride. Naturally she asked where and I told her "Dallas". She thought for a moment and said "sure, why not". I had to be there on a Tuesday and Monday would be a travel day anyway, so we left on Saturday morning and were there right on time on Tuesday. The meeting ran two days and we headed back, leisurely, on Thursday. I had told my boss I was going to take Friday and Monday as vacation time.

We went north from Dallas, up into Oklahoma and angled off toward the northeast. As we crossed the Arkansas border we stopped in at the first tourist information kiosk. They had a poster of a striking looking town. Inquiring, we found out it was Eureka Springs and decided that would be our destination for the night. Great little town. Only place I know of that has a five story hotel and every story is a ground floor. (Think about it.) We drove through Branson MO just to see what it was all about and stopped again a little west of St Louis. Next morning, after crossing the Mississippi River we saw signs for the Zoo. Since we had the time, we said "why not" and went to the St Louis Zoo. So, that's the story about how I came to get a shot of Max.