Photo of the Week, Vol. 2

This week my “Photo of the Week” is much different than last week’s. This image blends a “natural” element – rain – with artificial light, creating an image that is dramatic much like a movie scene. On Tuesday afternoon, Tristan, my good friend and talented photographer/cinematographer, and I were having one of our monthly, if not weekly, meetups at a coffeeshop in downtown Lawrence. We began talking about upcoming projects and where we’re looking to improve, but also the need to do projects that are fun – because that’s what it’s all about, right? For a year or so we’ve wanted to build a rain machine, essentially a device that allows us to create “rain,” adding a controllable natrual element that is typically impossible to work in with strobes – as my mom says “electricity and water do not mix.” So, on this 20 degree Tuesday, we finally decided to build our own DIY $15 rain machine (more on this later).

After two trips to Home Depot, one trip to Wal-Mart, two trips to both of our houses and a quick hangout with my cats we had all the supplies necessary to create our masterpiece. Several hours later our rain machine was complete and we were ready for our first test. When it comes to shoots in interesting environments – in this case, the freezing cold – Mackenzie is my go to subject. She’s incredible and this night she was stoked as ever even if it meant standing under a rain machine in dangerously cold temperatures.

By the time she had arrived the sky was dark over our set – Tristan’s backyard – and the temperatures we’re below 15 degrees. We fired off a few frames without Mackenzie, testing light, testing our “rain,” and finally it was time to throw her into the wintery mix. We shot 22 images that night, spanning a little over 13 minutes, and she didn’t complain once – her hair and face were literally frosting over.
Our final image is one of my favorites I’ve created because it’s different than anything I’ve done before perhaps because it was much more “controlled” than I’m use to compared to ordinarily photojournalistic portraits.
The image’s structure and content was untouched, only manipulations were color grading and a tighter crop.
The biggest thanks to Tristan Gramling and Mackenzie Leander, you two inspire me to push the limits of my photography.

Photo Specs:
- Canon 7D Mark II
- Canon 70 - 200 II IS (70mm, f/13)
- 2 PocketWizard MultiMax transceivers
- 2 Paul C. Buff Einstein Strobes with reflectors at about 1/2 power

Photo of the Week, Vol. 1

2015 is a big year for many my age. Many people I’ve gotten to know and work with over the past four years were students at the University of Kansas and have since moved on to new jobs and places. For me, it’s no different. I’ve completed my degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and have finished up at the University Daily Kansan, KU’s campus newspaper and where my passion for still photography began two year ago this month. Now, I’m freelancing for publications around the Midwest in addition to taking on more assignments for KU Athletics. On top of my freelance assignments I continue to do families, portraits, engagements and weddings for my business George Mullinix Photography. It’s a weird feeling not having school anymore but it’s a good feeling, too, because it means more time to put towards my passion, to improving upon my technique and to learn. While balancing school work, the University Daily Kansan, George Mullinix Photography and other photo assignments my days quickly became filled up and the only time I did have to take a breather was devoted to sleep, meaning I had no time to do what I had wanted to do for a long time – blog.

2015 is very young, heck, we just got done with the first week, but I am so grateful for the past 7 days. I got to spend the first couple of days of 2015 with Tom in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, skiing, which was such a relaxing experience, I think we went to bed before 9 p.m. every night. Jackson Hole is such a special place, I was incredibly fortunate to spend three weeks in Jackson Hole in 2014 – it’s always a great place to take a moment and relax. I fired off a few frames but I consciously tried to refrain from using my camera and just soak in the mountain air. When I returned home to Kansas I was again reminded of the gorgeous skies. The past four days have been incredible, I don’t know if it’s the frozen winter skies or the longer days but the sunrises and sunsets have been magical this week. It was actually one of these sunsets that I was chasing with Mackenzie that resulted in what my first “Photo of the Week,” a fun series of images I’ll be doing this year where I pick one image a week that I enjoyed making and give a bit of background. Here goes nothing.

On January 5th, 2015, Mackenzie and I were scouting a stream in south Lawrence that we’ve actually used for a shoot before. We were accompanied by a grouping of waterfowl while walking along the stream’s bank when Mackenzie noticed two bald eagles aerially combating each other high above the tree tops, It truly was a beautiful moment but so brief there was no time for a picture. Shortly after sunset, we began to make our way back into Lawrence when we both noticed a beautiful moonrise. After a bit of cellular research we found out that this particular moon was called the Full Wolf Moon, named so because it’s when Native American Tribes would hear the wolves howl for hunger in the middle of winter. I knew I had to make an image of it.

About an hour later, the sunset’s soft glow was all but gone and the darkness of night began to creep in. Now in complete darkness with the moon rising higher and higher into the night sky I was running out of options. While sitting in my car in complete silence Mackenzie and I began to hear the calls of geese. I immediately jumped out of the car and sprinted into a harvested corn field to photograph these three Kansas Snow Geese – the last three in the grouping. It turned out to be a fun image to make, all three geese in different stages of flight, perfectly spaced from one another. I got plain old lucky. It’s funny how many fun images I make are due to a bit of luck which reminds me of the French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson’s statement, “Of course it’s all luck.”

Thank you for reading. I look forward to sharing more with you as 2015 grows older.

Photo specs:
Canon 7D II
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L (f/2.8, 1/1,250’, 200mm)
Cropped and processed in Photoshop CC

Using Format