UPAA Blog 2020-21 #6 – 10/20/20 (text and photos by Jay Drowns)

Jay Drowns is assistant director of photography at Utah Valley University Marketing & Communications. His Campus Environment category photo 'Fibonacci-ish' was voted Best in Show in the September 2020 Monthly Image Competition.

Quick tech stuff—camera model, focal length, exposure data, lighting used (if any):

•Canon EOS 5DS

•16-35 f/2.8 @ 16mm

•1/25 f4 ISO 800

•C-Stand w/camera plate from the variable friction arm.

Briefly go through the process of how the photo came about: Assignment or found/self-assigned? 

This assignment started with a conversation with the designer assigned to produce the annual report for the president's office. Initially because of a short time frame they were going to use an archive image. There was a collaborative discussion during a planning meeting which included the design and photo staff. I had previously shot a lifestyle shoot in the stairwell and pulled it up for the group. There was a positive reaction, so we put the plan into action.

Any unique logistics in making the photo? What sort of post processing (or not)?

The previous shot was handheld. I didn't feel it made the most of the repetitive graphic elements. For the final shoot, I mounted the camera to the end of a C-Stand arm hanging over the rail. Personally, I like the image in B&W as a horizontal. The report cover called for a vertical and the designer wanted color. The image submitted to the MIC was toned in Adobe Camera Raw. I used a Gradient Map for a controlled split-toning effect for the cover photo.

What (if anything) would you do differently if you could re-shoot this today?

I would like to experiment with lighting the space. I would like to do a rear curtain drag for the shot. I would also like to get a longer arm to extend the camera further.

What would your dream assignment be? 

This is a tough question. There are so many possibilities it is hard to nail it down to just one dream assignment. I want to photograph the culture and action surrounding a Buzkashi match.


"We passed upon the stair, we spoke of was and when..." David Bowie 

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