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2007/01/18

Enrolling, Unrolling


(For a story on classes being full but over all enrollment numbers being low at the local college)
University of New Mexico-Gallup student Colleen Palmer uses a computer Wednesday at the Student Service center in Gurley Hall to check her class schedule while other students wait in line to enroll in classes. Palmer is completing coursework for her associates degree in psychology.

Jennifer Verdugo-Black holds a pair of the blue jeans that she used to wear eight months ago before undergoing gastric by-pass surgery. Since having the surgery she has lost 137 pounds, and is still working to lose even more.

We don't have a studio space at our office. After all, newspapers are usually about things happening in the real world. We do have an empty room between the old darkroom and the new press hall. It is dingy and cinder block with ugly flourescent lighting. But with not enough lighting that it has to be a problem. The walls and ceiling are all the same nuetral color - near white.
I decided that the best way to do this portrait was to make the image stark and try to convey the idea of a person overcoming a personal battle with weight (a battle I know all too well). So to make the image I utilized Nikon's wireless flash system. I placed two SB-800 strobes directly behind the subject, one aiming about three feet up the wall, the second aimed about 6 feet up the wall. Then I manually set them to fire at 100% power. Then I set the third flash unit (which triggered the other two) on camera and pointed it to the left and up, giving a smooth, low contrast bounce that gave some shape and form to Jennifer. The two lights in the back blasted the wall, over exposing it and turning it to pure white. Instant portrait studio for a high key background.
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