ABSTRACT ME – 2012 SELF-PORTRAIT
At least ONCE a year, I design a new self-portrait; not for any amount or reason for ego’s sake, or for self-absorption. The fact that I usually only do this once a year, should explain away any need to use myself as “subject”.
Self-portraits, for me, are more a learning process. I ask myself: “OK, what strange thing can I do to produce an interesting self-portrait…this year.” I like paint, painting and art, so I thought I would just use myself as the canvas and make an “Abstract Me” for my 2012 Self-Portrait.
THE WORST PART
The worst thing about paint on skin is when it starts to dry – feels strange, uncomfortable, and of course, it is a mess. Once I was painted up, I needed the help of an assistant, but there are a few things I did prior to the painting.
The camera and lighting need to be set up and exposures tested ahead of the self-painting. Once painted, I had to work fast, and get the assistance of an assistant to press the shutter button.
The shutter speed was 1/50 sec, and the aperture was f/11. I used the internal flash set at –3.0, of course, aimed directly. On camera-right, I used a 600-Watt studio light without any light modification – it was set at 1/2 power.
REDISCOVERY OF FULLY MANUAL – THOUGHT-PROVOKING TECHNICALITIES
I am so glad that I re-discovered my NIKKOR 35-70, f/3.3 lens: It is the lens I used for this self-portrait. It is an EXTREMELY thought-provoking lens. By “thought-provoking” I mean that it is an auto-focus lens, but using it with my newer NIKON camera body, it is TOTALLY manual.
There is a story that goes along with this lens: long-ago, when I got this lens, it developed fungus on one of the inner most lens elements. Therefore, I totally dismantled the lens, element by element, and hand cleaned each piece of glass, and then reassembled the lens. Unfortunately, I damaged the auto-focus electronics at some point in my lens home surgery.
Therefore, when using this lens with my new NIKON camera body, there is NO auto focus – NO auto exposure – and NO auto TTL Flash: It is FULLY MANUAL. I think it is so awesome that I have a lens that makes me think like a photographer again. There is NO Auto anything, so I have to calculate everything, pre-focus, and guesstamate my exposure settings, making test shots to pre-focus, tweak exposure settings, and plan my flash set-ups.
So there it is, my 2012 Self-Portrait.