Slingshot Blues

Written by RightLight

The Making of an Award Winning Image

I have learned that grabbing images from client or personal files and bundling them off to competition is not a great way to amass kudos.

With that hard-learned lesson in mind (you don’t have to hit me more than a few dozen times with a hammer before I get it…), I keep my eyes open for opportunities to shoot specifically for competition. Sometimes there are occasions within client sessions where something can be modified or suggested to the client to try a different approach that may result in a good entry.  I have a running deal with some of my clients where, if I’m scheduled to shoot for them and they can arrange for me to have a few minutes with their president, CEO, partner, etc., I’ll do something different than the usual for them, for free! My end of the deal is usage of the image(s) for my own marketing and/or competition.  A win-win.

Slingshot Blues came to me from my usual approach to my old office at Langara College.  As I would walk down the shiny floored hallway, I’d be looking at the office at the end of the hall, with its floor-to-ceiling bathroom glass window.  The chair was always there, along with a few posters on the window and some boxes on the floor.  I kept thinking that something could be made there.  I’m not even sure when the idea crept into my mind (sometimes I leave it unguarded) but the concept sort of put itself together: not just an office, a Principal’s office; a young boy in trouble (no personal memories…therapy took care of them); well, trouble means a slingshot, right?  I guess I was channeling a bit of Norman Rockwell.

A trip to the College daycare and a chat with a few moms lined up my volunteers.  On the day of the shoot, four turned up, three got shy and one stepped up fearlessly.  He sat down, I positioned him with the prop (more in a minute) and shot a few frames.  Some tweaking, a few more frames and done.

Technically, not much done here.  I had to block off the overhead fluorescent lights (thanks for the help, Eric!) and just adjust exposure for the daylight coming from the window in the office; 1/15th sec., f/2.8, ISO 200, 60mm.  A few items were removed from the door, the posters taken off, and clutter cleaned up from the floor inside.

In post-production, I cleaned up the wall and door to remove holes and marks, added the ‘Principal’s Office’ text and shifted all colors towards blue.  This got rid of the institutional beige wall and green door and contributed to the overall ‘blues’ feeling.  The final image is cropped tighter than the original capture; it looked better that way.

The slingshot was really just cardboard and black gaffer tape.


p.s. This image has brought me more hardware than any other: BC Provincial Professional Best Portrait of a Child, Langara College Alumni award, National Professional Best Editorial, 2 Excellence awards, 1 Judge’s Choice and an International Loupe Bronze in Abstract/Illustrative.  Yep, I’m happy!


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