This week’s DPS assignment was solitude: try to convey a the feeling of being alone.
I experimented with two basic approaches. One was to show someone doing a single-person activity. This is represented in the gallery below by the game of solitaire, which I and Ryan sequentially gave a whirl, and reading a book, which Megan was kind enough to demonstrate. These are not bad pictures. Indeed, I was quite pleased with the lighting that I set up for the solitaire shot, if not the overall composition. With the window in the background, I had to balance the key strobe to make the interior flash and exterior daylight match intensity. I then added a second strobe, off to camera right, aiming directly at the subject, to look like sunlight coming in through the window. Without this second light, the interior light looks very artificial.
Nevertheless, these did not really evoke solitude as strongly as I would have liked. So as a second approach, I tried for lonely expressions on the kids sitting by themselves in a place that is meant to be crowded. As it is conveniently near our house, I opted to use the kids’ school cafeteria. Since we are in Southern California, that happens to be outdoors under a sun shade, and accessible but unoccupied all weekend.
Given time constraints, I was not able to wait for optimum lighting, say 1 hour before sunset. So I embraced the high contrast, shot almost into the sun, and found that converting to black and white for most of the shots helped.
In the end, I submitted the shot of Megan alone at the picnic table, as I thought her expression in this one, combined with the lines of empty benches behind her, best conveyed the idea of solitude.
Update 7-May: I placed third with the image I submitted. Still trying to crack the top spot, but 3rd place is better than no place!