Love Thy Axe

DanOstergren

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This shot was meant to show a more vulnerable side of Jack, and to express more of the way that I envision men. I feel like often men try to put on this masculine facade that I see right through. To me, vulnerability shows more strength than trying to cover up one's weaknesses with the macho facade, which to be frank I find boring and uninspiring.
I really love this shot, and love the sort of insight it shows into Jack's softer side, but I feel like I could have done better. I don't like that the lower portion of his body is out of focus. I had my aperture set wide open to f/2, and with the available light I wasn't able to get a super fast shutter speed at a low ISO setting. I would love some advice to be able to shoot at a slower aperture to capture more detail in low/moody lighting conditions, but not have to really boost up the ISO super high. I'm shooting on a 5D classic, so noise becomes a bit of an issue above 800 ISO. Perhaps a tripod would help? I rarely use a tripod, although I have one. I also prefer not to use artificial lighting. What would you suggest? At this point, I really like the shot, but want to re-take it in order to capture a better version of it.

love_thy_axe_by_danostergren-d6dth65.jpg
 

tirediron

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I'm afraid this one doesn't really work for me Dan; the double-bit and the shale he's laying on both say to me anything but, 'soft, gentle, etc'. I think a diffused speedlight low and right would have improved the overall image significantly.
 
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DanOstergren

DanOstergren

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I'm afraid this one doesn't really work for me Dan; the double-bit and the shale he's laying on both say to me anything but, 'soft, gentle, etc'. I think a diffused speedlight low and right would have improved the overall image significantly.
For me it's the pose of him lying on his back being photographed from above with the axe being held close to his heart and the expression that translate the softness/ vulnerability, and I like the contrast it has between the vulnerable pose and the hardness of the setting and prop. This is simply what I see though; I'm not trying to disprove or say that your point of view has not merit.

I'm trying to avoid using my speedlite as much as possible these days, especially for personal work. Maybe a reflector for fill would be a decent alternative, and using a tripod so I can get slower shutter speed and aperture?
 
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frommrstomommy

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Something about the angle feels off to me.. I loved the others you posted of this guy. He's pretty awesome. lol I think maybe straight overhead.. in a more grassy area would have translated better for me. I think too its kinda odd that the hands holding the axe are not in focus.
 
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DanOstergren

DanOstergren

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Something about the angle feels off to me.. I loved the others you posted of this guy. He's pretty awesome. lol I think maybe straight overhead.. in a more grassy area would have translated better for me. I think too its kinda odd that the hands holding the axe are not in focus.
During the shoot I was totally kicking myself for not bringing a ladder! It's decided, I'm going to retake this shot! Thank you for the feedback!
 

leighthal

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Snow White pose. Yep, that's first impression. Second thought was Viking death pose. Neither thoughts focused on his soft side or vulnerability. Try again. I think you were closer to your goal with the shot of him sitting by the river.
 

runnah

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Men with beards have no vulnerability. It's a hair shield to block emotion!

As for the shot, I give it a B-. The concept, while very high-minded falls a bit flat during the execution. Personally I think you are trying to show vulnerability by putting masculine subjects in typical feminine poses, which is one way to do it but also a little too overt for my tastes. Perhaps a more subtle approach, a pensive look or object correlation might be a better course.
 

Tiller

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Maybe in the reshoot, the axe could be in the background.

My vision would be to have him sitting on a log, one hand grasping his hair like he's extremely upset, with him axe behind him and OOF.

I definitely think it's worth reshooting.
 

DanielLewis76

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I totally get the sentiment. For me though the lower (left hand) is the low point. It has a kind of impromptu finger tip grab, maybe needs to be wrapped over in a cuddle type pose. Also the wedding ring detracts from the sentiment of cuddling the axe (rather than the misses).

Totally get the idea though and love it!
 

amolitor

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The fact that he is lifting his head makes this feel off to me. Is he struggling to get up? I think you're perhaps going for a feeling of surrender to emotion here, but I am getting more of a sense of struggle here. Mild, but there.

You're obviously going for mixed messages here, but I think they're perhaps too mixed. Two strong, consistent, threads of concept, I think, with nothing ambiguous between. If the pose is surrender/feminine/emtional, make it 100% that right to the fingertips.
 

cgipson1

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Axes show vulnerability? lol!
 

runnah

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If the pose is surrender/feminine/emtional, make it 100% that right to the fingertips.

I am almost offended by the notion that male vulnerability can only be achieved by being feminine. Same if you posed women in masculine poses to show how "tough" they are. I think you can show both with out reverting to gender roles to blur gender lines. If that makes sense.
 

amolitor

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Well, yeah. I was actually picking up on your reference to femininity. I think that might be what Dan's going for here, and I am ok with that. I agree that it's certainly not the only way for men to look vulnerable.

I think Dan might dig blurring gender lines, but possibly I am leaping to a conclusion too far.
 

cgipson1

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Well, yeah. I was actually picking up on your reference to femininity. I think that might be what Dan's going for here, and I am ok with that. I agree that it's certainly not the only way for men to look vulnerable.

I think Dan might dig blurring gender lines, but possibly I am leaping to a conclusion too far.

Based on past images... and comments... Not much of a leap! ;)
 

pixmedic

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I'm afraid this one doesn't really work for me Dan; the double-bit and the shale he's laying on both say to me anything but, 'soft, gentle, etc'. I think a diffused speedlight low and right would have improved the overall image significantly.
For me it's the pose of him lying on his back being photographed from above with the axe being held close to his heart and the expression that translate the softness/ vulnerability, and I like the contrast it has between the vulnerable pose and the hardness of the setting and prop. This is simply what I see though; I'm not trying to disprove or say that your point of view has not merit.

I'm trying to avoid using my speedlite as much as possible these days, especially for personal work. Maybe a reflector for fill would be a decent alternative, and using a tripod so I can get slower shutter speed and aperture?

why on earth are you trying to avoid using a speedlight?!? thats crazy talk man! flash is your friend! you get far more control with a flash than with a reflector. you can do MORE with a flash than you can with a reflector. plus, with a flash, you aren't completely reliant on how much "natural light" is in the particular spot you want to shoot in.
If you already know how to use a flash on and off camera, use it! you have more directional control with a flash, you can soften light with a flash, and you can offset mixed lighting with a flash.

anyway, if you are really set on handicapping yourself for theses shots, yes, a reflector might help a little, depending on how much light is actually getting through there to reflect. you might also try using a tripod to get your shutter speed lower. the only disadvantage there is you cant get as high up. best option? off camera flash and stand on a ladder. dont get all hung up on "artificial" light. light is light. use what you can to get the best result. all light sources look "natural" when used correctly. lighting with a flash will also let you stop down your lens a bit for more DOF.
your only options are: add more light, slower shutter speed, or higher ISO.
best option for lighting is a flash, tripod for slower shutter speed, ISO you said you were already maxed on.
 

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