MIC Q&A-2019 October


(photos by Rhett Butler) Jonathan Rhett Butler (He goes by “Rhett” and yes, Gone With the Wind fans, that’s really his middle name!) is a University Communications Photographer in the News Services office at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. He is a former newspaper photographer who has been at ECU for two and a half years and a UPAA member for just over a year. His Campus Environment photo “Foggy Morning” was voted Best in Show in the October 2019 Monthly Image Competition.

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

•Canon EOS-R

•70mm (EF 70-200mm)

•1/400 @ 3.5 ISO 800

Assignment or found/self-assigned? Any unique logistics in making the photo? What sort of post processing (or not)? 

This was basically a found photo, although part of my job description is to photograph scenic images on campus when time permits. On the day this photo was taken, I arrived to work just before 7:30 a.m. and I immediately noticed the campus was shrouded in fog. I haven’t had the opportunity to shoot campus images in this situation lately, so I decided to grab my gear and walk across camps. Our marketing and social media team always need new and unique images of the iconic Cupola on ECU’s main campus, so I decided to focus on it. I had a pretty good idea the fog and the structure would make a nice image, but I knew it needed a little something more. I waited until I got students walking around the Cupola on their way to class and hoped that would add a nice touch to the frame. Post processing was very minimal on this shot. We pretty much bump up the clarity, dehaze and vibrance in Lightroom by about +10 points as standard procedure on all our images. After that I just adjusted exposure and color balance until I felt like it was an accurate representation of the scene.


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

If I could reshoot this image I would wait around a little longer for more students to walk past the Cupola and try to work the negative space a little better.

Where do you look for inspiration, feedback and motivation?

Lately, I have found inspiration from following other university Instagram accounts from around the world. I’m also inspired by the UPAA MIC winners each month. Much of my motivation comes from the surprise of seeing my work being used in different university publications and websites on campus.

What would be you dream job or project? 

When I was younger, my dream job was working for a large newspaper or magazine covering human interest stories or a professional sports team. Now that I’m older and have a family, I really enjoy the pace of working as a university photographer and I take great pride and satisfaction in my job.


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