Portrait of an Athlete named Amy.

I swim with Amy at our master's workouts a few times a week. Amy is a dedicated and talented triathlete and she divides her time between swimming, biking and running (when she's not working at her job...).  I'm more linear, I'm usually just swimming. One day I asked Amy if I could photograph her as I see her sometimes, soaking wet, right after a tough workout. She agreed.

We met at the pool after the normal work day and she pounded out some yards.  Then we headed to my studio.  She's quiet.  I talk too much. But it worked out for me.  This image was made in my Sony a77 camera with an 85mm 2.8 Sony DT lens.  I shot at 50 ISO using a Profoto Acute B600 pack and one head bounced into a 72 inch umbrella.  The umbrella had a diffusion sock that softened the light.  Then the light went through another 3/4 stop diffusion fabric on a 48 by 48 inch Chimera frame before flowing across Amy's face. I used an Elinchrom monolight on the back wall of the studio, which is painted gray.  That light was turned almost completely down and projected through a 20 degree grid.

To get the water drops to show I would occasionally stop and spritz her with warm water. An interesting change of pace for most subjects... calls for closing your eyes and holding your breath...

I made corrections to the color file in Lightroom for exposure and contrast but I used Snapseed for my black and white conversion.  I like this style of shooting.

I also shot two rolls of 120mm black and white film in a Hasselblad 501 CM with a 150mm lens. The film will be back from the lab tomorrow and I'll make a few scans and see how it all compares.  To date, this is my favorite technical rendition of a digital portrait file converted to black and white.  I plan to keep working on it.


  1. Great expression and BxW conversion! Its also good to see some light on your background. :-)

  2. Beautiful. I like the drops of water on her neck, and how the think necklace is just on the edge of focus. It really draws the eye.
    It seems like a lot of your black and white portraits I see are shot with film, not digital, so it's good to see a digital one.

  3. Really nice one, Kirk. Inspiring. I belong to an art gallery coop, and your work has inspired me to do portraits of all 20 or so of the members. I'd been planning on doing the environmental portrait style. But this convinces me to focus simply on faces as well.

  4. Very nice and I really like the boarder. Some people don't like boarders that were not conceived in the camera but I'm not one of them. For the most part I'm creating images for non-photogs who wouldn't know the difference, they just like the look. I think photographers can take a lesson here and accept things for what they are and not have preconceived judgments about things. Oops, sorry for the rant!

  5. Brilliant. Subtle and absolutely brilliant.


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