...an epic night of awesomeness. I just need to say...
Firstly... I took my last final for all classes ever for my bachelors degree this morning. Tomorrow I pick up my cap and gown, and Saturday I graduate. I am totally excited.
After that I purchased the frames and prints for the Dreaming Art Show (http://wemustbedreaming.com/preview) that I'm partaking in. I'll have three pieces and a few prints available for sale. Hoorah. We took our framed pieces to the venue for hanging and stayed to help them set up. It was really nice to participate in something constructive that was non-school/work related.
Then, I came home and slept because I only slept a hand full of hours the night before. I woke up three hours later perky and ready for morning. Except... by then it was midnight... so, I decided to watch some videos on manual flash. I have been avoiding learning manual flash because it confused me greatly. I'm still a little confused on it, but I had a big break through, so I'm really proud of myself. I used to use ETTL, but I wanted to be able to control the light better. As soon as she returns from California, I plan on learning about outdoor lighting from the amazing photographer Julia Kuzmenko McKim (http://omahaimageproductions.com/). She suggested that I learn manual flash for our session.
I tried quickly trying to teach myself manual flash by reading the manuals that come with the flash units. Stereo instructions. I did not understand what I was doing. Tonight, I thought... I'm going to try learning via YouTube. YouTube is amazing. I learn best from doing, so I grabbed my flashes and followed along a couple videos. Once I felt like I had the hang of it, I grabbed a stuffed bear my mom made from my great grandma's old blanket. I live alone, so I had no one to pose for me, especially at 1 in the morning. My cat is a terrible model. She's very photo-sensitive, so trying to get her to look at the camera when the flash is active is hell.
I experimented with my settings and added in my second flash until I started to feel comfortable that I knew what I was doing. Then I took my camera off the tripod and go into action.
Yeah, that looks nice. Nice rim light (at least that is what I think it's called... :P ). I'm pretty satisfied.
Work it, Bear, work it!!
I can't remember what happened at this point, but I got this idea. Choie sparked something in me. You see, I have my cat trained to do a couple parlor tricks. I utilize a target stick that she follows around. I grabbed a couple treats (reinforcers) and the target stick and tapped on my dining room table. Choie jumped up and waited for her treat. I grabbed my camera and tried taking a few pictures.
Like I said, she is a terrible model. She would not sit still long enough for me to focus at all.
It turns into, "quick! She's distracted! Snap the picture!" I just hope my camera's autofocus works right.
Finally, she turned her back on me. She wanted a treat, so she stayed in the same spot, but she did not want the bright lights in her eyes. She would only look at the camera if I made a weird noise. While this was humorous, it was annoying as hell. Then it hit me; use the reinforcers to shape her behavior! I started giving her treats for looking toward the camera.
Much better! She turned around and at least looked in the general direction of the light. Choie is such a smart kitty though that only two more treats later...
She was looking straight down the lens. This was amazing. She did this on cue! It may be hard to understand my jargon, but basically this means that she would cooperate whenever I said her name. I am floored. I really won't be able to sleep now. Learned manual flash AND trained my cat to look at the camera when I take pictures of her?! AMAZING.
(Note: I did not retouch any of the photos except for the last one, which probably did not need it, but meh. I'm a photoshop junkie.)