The creation of "Best Friends"

December 08, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Best FriendsBest FriendsMy daughter Rori and her puppy English Mastif Roxy watching TV together. 2003 Grand Prize and First Place Children and Animals for the American Humane Association. 2002 American Humane Annual Report. 10th Annual International Picture Contest, First Prize: Candid/Humor, Popular Photography, January 2004, page 88. © Reidar Schopp, All Rights Reserved, www.RLSFoto.com.

“Best Friends”

This photo was created as homework assignment for an advanced photography class for portraiture. The inspiration was seeing my daughter and her 5 month-old English Mastiff puppy Roxy (nearly the size of my 14 year-old daughter) lying on the floor together watching TV. I instantly pictured this as the image, including it being a black & white. As this was created before I built my studio, we converted the den temporarily into a studio.

To capture this image, I had to move the couch into the doorway so I could obtain a straight shot of their feet (paws) and to light the scene as I needed. The den was too small for me to shoot in the same room. I had my daughter (Rori) get into position first. Next, I picked up the dog and placed her on her back on the couch next to Rori. My wife held Roxy in position and keeping the hind legs crossed to mimic Rori's feet. Of course, they had to be pointing toward each other as these two were inseparable.  36 exposures of SCALA (black and white slide film pushed to 1600 ASA) were taken using different lenses, filters, f-stops, and lighting to ensure a good photo for class. As I did not have strobes at the time, I used photofloods. Of course, with the photofloods, you could see the light and shadows which helps tremendously, but the power output is less. Yes, the extent of creating images during the days of film and not seeing what you created instantly! Although not technically a portrait, it was the favored photo of the class.

The lighting set-up was one light above my head while I sat on the floor to cut our everything but the feet. And, it was hot sitting under the one photoflood (500w daylight bulb). The backlight was the same type of 500w bulb but to camera right to provide fill light and trying to keep spill from hitting the back wall.

This photo was awarded Grand Prize in the American Humane Society’s 2003 Humane Images Photo Contest as well as their First Prize in the Children and Animals category. This photo also took First Prize in Popular Photography and Imaging’s 2003 International Photo Contest, published in the January 2004 edition.


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