Digital Photography Class – Project One

Tammy Judd Jenny
Art 222 – Digital Photography class

Project One – Environmental portraits of people who are important to you
My assignment was to take four “environmental portraits of people important to me. My husband agreed to let me take his picture but since most of my family live elsewhere I was worried about finding three other people here in Petersburg who would let me take their portrait. I thought I’d ask my husband’s friend/boss but wasn’t sure who else.

My teacher suggested I talk with shop owners downtown to see if anyone would be willing to be my subject. That was a great idea.

One shop owner immediately came to mind. Although I didn’t know her well personally, from various interactions around town I knew that Savann Guthrie was friendly and usually sports a beautiful smile. I visited her in her shop and asked if she’d be willing to have her portrait taken. She agreed.


I decided to take Savann’s portrait in her store, The Fabric Basket, a bright and cheerful environment that is surely a quilter’s haven. During the shoot, I had her stand in several different areas of the store to give me a variety of photos from which to choose for the assignment. I decided for this assignment to turn in a shot from the final setting in which she perched on a row of fabric bolts in front of a display of Valentine’s Day themed notions.

I took the photos with my Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D camera using its standard 18-70 lens. Although I did experiment with a couple different camera settings during the shoot, I wound up taking this picture with the auto setting, automatic focus and without a flash. I handheld the camera. Initially I used a tripod but being kind of nervous about taking the pictures and not having much experience with the tripod, I went back to holding the camera, which felt more comfortable for me.

Savann was very gracious about me taking her time that evening. I plan to share the best of each photo setting with her so she can use them as she’d like.

Savann Guthrie, avid quilter and owner of The Fabric Basket in Petersburg, Alaska. Feb. 1, 2013.

I chose to take the picture of Doug, my husband, down near the harbor. After 30 years as a heavy equipment operator, Doug will be retiring from the State of Alaska in May. After his retirement, he plans to go back to commercial fishing, which he grew up doing. He has been dreaming of getting his own boat and going back to trolling for quite a long time so I thought the harbor setting was perfect for his portrait.

Again for his portrait I used my Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D camera and the 18-70 lens. I hand held the camera and used the auto setting and no flash. I believe this was auto focus although a few shots were manual focused and I didn’t keep good records of which were which.  As you will see in this picture and actually most of my photos, I tend to prefer placing the subject off to one side or the other rather than putting them smack in the middle.

I took several shots in this location with Doug looking at the camera but also tried a few where he’s looking somewhere else. We walked down the ramp and I took some photos of him up closer to the front of a boat but I wound up choosing this portrait of him looking at something outside the frame with lots of boats in the background. At the time, I didn’t notice that there was an eagle sitting atop of a pole in the background. After the fact, I’m told that the eagle is sitting on the pole of a trolling boat.

Douglas Jenny is looking forward to retiring from the State and resuming his career as a commercial fisherman. Feb. 3, 2013

Devren Bennett is another local shop owner here in Petersburg that I’d approached about the portrait assignment. I did know him already, though, as he and my husband are buddies who had served together in the Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department (my husband has since retired from PVFD). Devren, who owns a computer and boat electronics repair store, did not want his portrait taken in his shop and instead suggested we do it at the fire station where he spends quite a bit of his time.  Devren had warned me that he isn’t very photogenic but I decided to give it a shot anyway. We tried several different places around the station and I did have a little trouble getting decent shots of him. But from the ones that were alright, I chose to use this one of him standing next to an antique fire extinquisher. I used the same camera, Konica Minolta, and the same lens. I prefer to use natural lighting rather than a flash. I did keep my settings on automatic with auto focus. I composed the shot with him in the right hand side of the picture and hand held the camera.

Devren Bennett, volunteer fireman and local Petersburg businessman. Feb. 4, 2013.

My last portrait is of Ted Sokol who works for Alaska Department of Transportation. He is my husband’s friend and boss. He works as the airport manager and graciously agreed to let me take his picture.
I decided to take Ted’s picture at the DOT shop at the airport. I took pictures of him up on equipment and some outside the shop. At his suggestion, we took a drive out on the runway.  In this photo, Ted was facing down the runway before he looked over at my camera. I was a little bit challenged by the drizzly weather. The photos I took of Ted standing in front of the long runway were too dark to see his face and while I could probably adjust some of that in Photoshop, for this assignment, I decided to use this portrait of Ted which also captured the beautiful mist-covered hills next to the runway.
Again I composed the shot with Ted standing off-center. I used the Konica-Minolta camera and my standard lens. The camera was hand held and I used automatic mode and auto-focus. No flash.

Ted asked me to come back sometime when the sun is shining and take more photos of him. He is getting ready to retire soon to spend time with his family while he can. He’s fighting cancer.

Ted Sokol, airport manager at Petersburg Airport. Feb. 7, 2013.

3 thoughts on “Digital Photography Class – Project One

  1. Eva Wilson

    Tammy, I love your photographs! There is such a great variety of settings. I have been sick for weeks with whichever & every crud that is going around now, so all of mine are of family members and were taken at home.

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