Thursday, July 21, 2011

the return of supergirl

Last week I started taking an online photography class - Superhero Photo. I've been meaning to write about this and share some of the photos I've taken, but right now we're going to skip ahead a bit, because this post can't wait. I had more fun today than I have in ages.

This week's focus is on self-portraits and the assignment was to use the camera's timer to take photos of yourself "flying" onto the bed, Superhero-Style.

Now before I share anything else, a couple of back stories:

1. When I was 12, I broke my foot jumping on a trampoline. This happened mere weeks before the sixth grade pool party. I'm still bitter about that. (Though I did get an awesome glow-in-the-dark cast!)

2. When I was 21, I took a flying leap onto a bed in front of my college roommates. The bed went careening across the room and I missed smashing my face against the wall by inches. I was wearing a dress when I did this. After the leap, I looked back at my friends, grinning, and announced "I'm wearing red underwear!", to which they all replied "We know!" Oops. (I'm pretty sure it was a beer-fueled jump.) Anyway, from that point on, my ex-boyfriend called me Supergirl. Which, to be honest, is a pretty awesome and self-esteem boosting nickname (despite the fact that our relationship went up in flames a few years later).

I think that was the last time I jumped on a bed. However, when I saw this week's assignment, I knew it was perfect. It was time for the return of Supergirl.

A few other things to note: I had hip surgery a few years ago. Also, my joints are crap. This whole flying/jumping/launching-one's-body-across-the-room thing is better left to those with able bodies. Because seriously, I think I need crutches a wheelchair now. And also some vicodin.

So, here's the attempt at the superhero photo. This was extremely challenging. The shutter typically went off as I was crash landing. Evidently, gravity is more effective than my attempts at flying.
superhero, attempt #34
So I ditched the whole flying thing and decided it was more fun to jump on the bed. And let me tell you, that shit is tiring. And fun. Really fun. I'd say jumping on the bed when you're 32 is just as fun as jumping on the bed as when you're 4...except when you're 4 you don't end up with sore knees, a pinched sciatic nerve, a pulled groin, and whiplash.
Over an hour later, I had 350+ photos of myself jumping on the bed and I feared I would soon go into cardiac arrest. I was sweating buckets. I haven't gotten that much exercise in, well, years. And it felt great. By the end of it I could hardly walk, but I was addicted to trying one more time to get that perfect shot. I'd literally drag my wrecked bag of bones across the floor to set the camera up for one more go. Holy OW.
I died.
I died.

After I died a breather (and stuffing my face with a couple slices of chocolate zucchini bread - hey, I figured I deserved it since I had just burned 10,000 calories), I sat down to delete the outtakes - you know, the ones of my butt, the ones where I'm completely out of the frame, etc. Seriously, 99% of the photos looked like crap. Fortunately, I'm a big fan of taking unflattering photos of myself and then sharing them on the internet. As I was about to delete the rejects, I realized that the whole fun of this exercise was the process...not the outcome (though I did get a few awesome shots)!

So I decided to share all 350ish photos in a stop-motion video. Warts and all - here's Supergirl in action! I kept all the rejects in here - photos of my badonkadonk, unflattering expressions, just about everything - the only exception being the ones that show the color of my underwear!

I am Superhero. from Funnelcloud Rachel on Vimeo.

Seriously, that was SO fun! I need to do something like this every day.

yeah, gorilla dance!
Yeah, gorilla dance!

OMG. My hair. AND MY FACE!

shake your money maker
Shake your money-maker!

put on your game face and jump
And don't forget to put on your game face!

I highly suggest trying this exercise at home (and sharing the pictures with me!) And if you do, please heed the advice below:

Lessons Learned
1. Don't bother making your bed beforehand. It will be soon be trashed.
2. Don't bother brushing your hair beforehand. It, too, will soon be trashed. 
3. Wear deodorant.
I think I need a chiropractor.
I think I need a chiropractor.


Michael - Innkeeper said...

oh. m. g.

this is the best thing ever. seriously!!! just loving it. and the video ... ah-freakin-mazing! so fun. i hope this class has a contest or winner ... because ... my dear ... you. would. WIN!!

thanks for sharing this. truly magic.

Sarah Rooftops said...

These are wonderful!

Jennifer said...

Great photos! How in the world do you get your action shots so clear?? I have a Canon with an automatic setting for "action shots" and it stinks. Maybe I need to try the manual settings but they are so scary.

PS- You deserve an A+ on your assignment! :)

Sarah Rosemary said...

This. is. awesome. !! I found this post super inspiring. Your fearless attitude shows through your photographs. I love it! (PS - I broke my wrist jumping on a trampoline...while wearing high heels. Not my finest moment...)

kadfoto said...

This is awesome, you are awesome! Thanks for sharing, really brought a smile to my face. Magical effort!

Madhouse said...

Love the video and your post. It's fantastic, funny, inspiring and ... I could go on and on. Great job on the assignment.

Each day has moments that make it special ... your post is at the top of the list for today.

mary elizabeth said...

Seriously? You just made my day! The video completely rocked it.

Pickles and Dimes said...

That video was completely awesome. I love the ones with the dogs crashing the shot and the Matrix-style montage where it looked like you were going around in a circle. Just great!

smstokesbury said...

Wow Rachel - you're a bad ass. Loved the video and all the pics and can't wait to see you next Friday at the Mullins' shin dig!

Andrea Scher said...

You are so brave and awesome!! xo Andrea

Juanita said...

You're a total nutter - and I'm sure the world around you is better for it :-)

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

Thanks for the nice comments, everyone! I had such fun with this - and highly suggest everyone try jumping on the bed!

@Jen - I did use the action/sport mode on my camera to get the shots clear (I am shooting with a DSLR, though - I've found that the action mode on point and shoots is useless). You could also try shooting in shutter priority mode to get the shutter speed fast enough for a crisp shot. I've never had much luck shooting in full manual for a moving subject.

@Sarah Rosemary - High heels on the trampoline? Yikes! I can hardly walk in heels, much less jump in them!

@Pickles and Dimes - Banjo totally photobombed me! I even told him his a-hole was going to be on camera, but he didn't seem to care.

goodstorysarah said...

Fantastic! I want to run upstairs and jump on my bed now too!

I also have that fabulous yellow quilt!