A lot of my ideas for photos come from a mental database of music and lyrics, stored away in my brain, only to come out when a word or phrase triggers a line from a song, or a title of an album. It might not make sense, unless you hang out with me and hear it happen in person. A phrase will be spoken, I'll recognize it as a lyric, and I'll start singing it as the line to the song that just got unearthed from my memory banks. This is why so often, I use lyrics to title photos or in the case of this, I'll try to create a photo based upon a line that comes from this vast musical database floating around in my head.
This morning, in church, my pastor referenced a line from the Bible that immediately made me think of an album title from a band called As Cities Burn. The album/biblical reference? "Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest". The idea behind it, being that for all the times we fail as humans, the countless mistakes we make, to God, it matters not. In our darkest moments, he has always loved us and desired to let us know that his forgiveness is limitless. I, for one have needed this never ending grace time and time again.
It's with that theme, that I started crafting the idea for this photo in my head. I gave myself one lens to use and whatever tools I had in my car. This consisted of a ring flash, a reflector, and a light stand, doubling as a tripod in this case. We bounced the flash off of the reflector, creating a less harsh light and also helping to keep a warmer tone to the night time photo. I mounted my camera onto the light stand and dropped my shutter speed down to 1/8th of a second. The lens is manual focus only, so I had to use the flashlight on my iPhone to light his face while I found my focus point. I then killed the flashlight and started firing my shutter. After a few single exposures, I worked with creating a double exposure. With the constant background in place, due to the camera mounted to the light stand, I had Gage move slightly from his original standing point, so that his face was seen a second time in the double exposure. In order for me to get the feel of the photo to represent the reference that spawned the idea, it needed to be at night. There had to be a light and dark element to the photo, with a sense of hopefulness and an equal amount of despair mixed in.
This whole set up took the helping hands of my son Christian (holding the reflector) and my buddy Jake (pointing the flash towards the reflector) to make this work. Final photo information for this shot is as follows: ISO 2000. Helios 58mm manual focus lens, set to f/4. Shutter speed at 1/8th of a second, mounted to the tripod to allow for sharper resolution. Camera info for final image (below) is as follows: ISO 50. Shutter at 1/200th of a second. f/16. Camera flash was set to manual, at my flash's dimmest setting.