We made Ryan's high school senior portraits at Hudson Springs Park in Hudson, OH. It's a great location to get all kinds of great shots. The spring-fed, man-made lake is the centerpiece in this Hudson park, but there are so many things to do here. There is disc golf, playgrounds, a running trail, picnic pavilions, a dog run, sand volleyball, bocce courts, cornhole and lots of open space. You can just about always catch someone kayaking, canoeing or fishing out on the lake. There is a public boat launch and also an area where you can store your watercraft. Both locations have docks that offer up some interesting portrait ideas.
We started the session late in the evening with some cloud cover, which is really great for lighting your subject. I used my speedlight with a Rogue Flashbender to get some soft fill light and also to get some catchlights in Ryan's eyes. When it is overcast like this there really is no other way to get catchlights in the eyes, and the eyes always look better with catchlights.
It's amazing how quickly the setting sun can change the sky at this time of day. When the sun starts to set below the cloud cover, everything starts to glow. The "Golden Hour" in photography is that period just after sunrise or just before sunset. The sun is at a lower angle in the sky at these times, which means the light is less harsh and generally softer.
Ryan - High School Senior Portrait - Hudson High SchoolThe sun was starting to get lower in the skies and peeking below the cloud deck, so it started to illuminate the trees at the far end of the lake.
We made the portrait below when the sun hitting the trees in the background across the lake really made the trees glow. We had to be careful to put Ryan into an area where he wasn't looking directly into the sun and squinting. I just love the light at this time of day.
Ryan - High School Senior Portrait - Hudson High SchoolThe sun was now gleaming under the cloud next and making the trees at the far end of the lake really glow. There are a lot of different types of watercraft that are stored at the lake. Many of them are pretty colorful, so it's always fun to include some of that color in the background of a portrait. The running trail meanders along this part of the lake, and I'm sure Ryan has probably run by it many times while training for Track. The trail is very popular with runners as long as there is not snow and ice on the trail. During the fall the local cross country teams both practice and hold meets here. In the spring the track teams use it for training. There are a few areas where you can get a great hill workout. This trail is part of my summer route with the group of guys that I run with in the mornings (at least when my knee wasn't acting up). The sun rises along the far side of the lake and is always a welcome sight when we exit the woods. This portrait was taken using some of the color from the boats as the backdrop. It was pretty dark under that tree so we had to add a little kiss of light to balance out the background exposure and Ryan's exposure.
Ryan - High School Senior Portrait - Hudson High SchoolBefore heading down to the lake we took some portraits along the trail. The racks for the kayaks and canoes added an interesting pop of color to the background.
The portrait below was taken when the sun was fully gleaming on the trees in the background, which yielded a deep rich green color. But I also thought that the luminance gradations would look cool when converted to black and white. I think this is a great portrait of Ryan.
Ryan - High School Senior Portrait - Hudson High SchoolThis one was taken on the dock when the setting sun was gleaming in the background. While the image in color is really cool, I also thought that converting it to a black and white also made for a very cool portrait.
Ryan was a great sport and has a great natural smile. We tried to take some shots of the "serious" look, but we just couldn't pull it off. We were chimping the back of the camera and just didn't like what we were seeing in those frames. His face probably hurt a bit after the session from all of that smiling. I wanted to take a shot with Ryan and his Mom, Sheila, before we packed up, and this is the result. I thought it was a great moment. Ryan loves his Mom!
Ryan - High School Senior Portrait - Hudson High SchoolJust before I was about to pack up I suggested taking a quick photo of Ryan and his Mom, Sheila. I just thought it was a very sweet picture of the two of them.