Photographic Conceptualizations of Jarrad Henderson

Advanced Techniques: Fill & Balance

probate_fillAnother week of Advanced Techniques training is under my belt and Im beginning to feel a lot more comfortable with flash.  This weeks assignment was to produce a fill light or to balance the existing light with a single flash.  I decided to take many images.  I’m still learning the flash I’m using.  I have a better understanding of flash although I’m still trying to really grasp the concept.  I’m using the SB-900 and need to sit down to read the dang manual because event though fill and balance was fairly simple, Im still trying to figure to how to use my flash quickly on manual mode.  I’m stuck with calculating ratios and I’ve already wasted precious time trying to figure out the dang flash (not in time to catch the image of course).

The image above was shot on Monday, April 6, 2009 and depicts the end of a “death march”, a symbolic march that represents the end of an old self in preparation for introduction of the new person one has become (which takes place at the probate).  This public tradition is mostly common among members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. although members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. have been documented of doing the same thing at Jackson State in the 60s.  Other organizations do things that also symbolize the same concept as the death march, defined by Dr. Walter Kimbrough in his book “Black Greek 101“:

“The death march was a final activity of pledging, most invariably associated with the fraternities, where probates spent literally hours marching as a final test of their worthiness.  In many cases, probates had to hold and object or objects, like a cinder block, and they may have had to recite poems or history while moving slowly, sometimes one step at a time every few minutes.”

At this point, the four men are led into Conservation Hall by Aaron Henderson, Zeta Alpha Director of Intake (front left, holding paddle), where the probate will take place.  This journey is unique in that the newly initiated neophytes and older members of the Fraternity singing ‘pledge’ songs and recite history as they walk to their final destination.

I had a blast photographing the probate, which you can see images of below this post.  The flash technique is a great one which I really think I know how to use.  I didn’t find it to be lucky like some of the other images I have done in Advanced so far.  I will probably use this technique over other ones I have learned so far.  It was difficult shooting in back-lit situations.  I had to play around with the settings before I found a good light balance.

Ok, so at this point, I wanted to show you the image I will actually turn in for class.  I put all that text above this paragraph to deter people from scrolling down.  I was challenged to get out of my comfort zone and will show you the image I REALLY am turning in for this assignment.  If you;re n my Advanced class and are reading this, please dont ruin it for me. Act like you haven;t seen my image so I can have people guess in class! 🙂  Here is the Image:


I really liked shooting in ACME.  The company in downtown Columbia produces custom T-Shirts at a descent price.  I really liked the set up of the shop.  I was welcomed with open arms with only one stipulation (I couldn’t photograph the wall of t-shirts on the wall…although I found a way to bend that rule!)  I have about 50 other images like this that just didn’t quite work out.  I tried to position my flash just right so I could get my subjects face and finally, it worked!  I really liked how this image came out.  In the future, I would have liked to get her facial expression.  Maybe a smile as she talks to one of her co-workers or something although I think overall this works well.  were SO many crazy things going on that day.  There was a dog in the shop, people galore, and it was just ridiculously busy.  Let me know what you think!

One response

  1. Geordan

    Great photos (talking about the one’s in the previous post too). I think that the girl in the ACME not smiling works, because of the lighting and just the environment she’s in. It’s like you captured her focus.. she doesn’t look too happy doing that work though.

    April 10, 2009 at 12:07 pm

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