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Pat Kight
Works at Oregon Sea Grant
Lives in Albany, OR
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Pat Kight

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The Storyteller

The sixth and final lesson in +Morgana Creely's Single Frame mentorship, part of the wonderful +G+ Mentorship Program for Photographers series, and after exploring the images and techniques of cinematographers in many genres, she threw us a curve ball and asked us each to make a photograph that represents who we are as storytellers.

I owe my concept to my best girl, +Liz Loveday, who, when I was puzzling over how to tell that story, laughed, grabbed my wrists and rendered me temporarily, sputteringly mute. Those of you who've met me will understand: I literally cannot tell a story without my hands.

This works as a metaphor for photography: Technical skills and clever ideas are great, but until you throw something of yourself into it, grab it and play with it and give it your own distinct touch, it won't be truly yours. I suspect this is the heart of what people call a "style," and what so many of us struggle to find.

It's dawned on me, through this mentorship, that story is nothing new to me. I've been telling them all my life, in one medium or another: a crayon poem s scrawled on the liner of my mother's 78 RPM  boxed set of "The Firebird Suite" ("a little bird came up to me i was so so hungery he sat down i stood up pup pup pup pup pup pup pup" ) to a theatre degree, learning to make stories come alive on stage... a first career in journalism, another as a science writer and more recently, Webmaker. And always, always, sitting with friends, as humans have since we lived in caves, trading our own stories, hands dancing and laughter ringing.

Things this mentorship, Morgana's well thought-out assignments and the dazzlingly good work of my fellow students taught me:

~ To think of photographs as single frames of a larger, longer story, and consider the who/what/when/where/how (just as I did when I was writing for newspapers - fancy that!).

~ To consider framing, not only as a technical element of composition, but as a tool for focusing the viewer's eye on the story. I played with cinematic/letterboxed framing early on and decided to work with that for the entire mentorship, just for the fun of it. It made for some interesting compositional challenges, but I'm happy with the small body of work it produced, and expect to play with that more in the future.

~  Some new-to-me approaches to light, the real paintbrush of our art, and how the absence of light - shadow - can say so much about mood.

~ A new way to brainstorm - that who/what/etc process gave all our images more context and a clearer story, I think. Keeping that!

Among other things, I really appreciated the videos Morgana made and shared with us to launch each week's lesson. It's a great approach, and the examples she showed - of her work, and others' - really helped stimulate my imagination.

This is my third Mentorship, and each has given me new skills to add to my photographic toolbox - but even more important than the techniques that build craft, new ways of thinking about what I'm doing, or trying to do, that push me closer and closer to art.

(If you've read this far and think "hey that sounds like fun," add the +G+ Mentorship Program for Photographers to your circles and watch for announcements about new mentorships. They really are like post-graduate mini-courses in photography, and they will make you a better photographer.)
Mary Wardell's profile photoAlex Lapidus's profile photoDrew McCarthy's profile photoJeanmarie Matteson's profile photo
What a fabulous post!  Thank you for sharing this!
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Week 21 - She's a Standout
Shelly Gunderson's profile photoMarie Hélène Visconti's profile photoPat Kight's profile photoMary Wardell's profile photo
Very true. :)
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Week 5 PLUS post

This edition of the +G+ Mentorship Program for Photographers is rocking right along, and this week's lessons included:
* Props can make or break the story
* Light - and shadow - are your friends
* Shooting a scene from different perspectives opens up all kinds of story-telling possibilities.
* Removing distracting elements (cat hair, some boxes that had been stacked behind the chair, a power cord snaking along the baseboard) is much easier done before shooting than in post!
* Ambiguity is not necessarily a bad thing.

This week we were asked to shoot three scenes in a room of our house from the same tripod position, at different heights/angles/zooms, still with story in mind. From there, +Morgana Creely's instructions got a wee bit ambiguous (different props or the same ones? One story or three?) but in the long run, I think that pushed us all to get a little more creative with our visual story-telling!

I interpreted the assignment as "come up with three stories, choose one, shoot it three ways." My living room served as the location for a tale of domestic tragedy, and lighting was confined to a single speed light and ambient late afternoon light through a window off left. One prop moves from scene to scene - can you spot it? Do you understand the story?
Alex Lapidus's profile photosteve abbott's profile photoMorgana Creely's profile photoPat Kight's profile photo
blush* you are all too kind.
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Week 20 - Office Tech, Old School

Still on my desk, and still in use
Drew McCarthy's profile photoJim Migliore's profile photoPat Kight's profile photo
Been shooting with my 50mm prime lately, such a sweet lens at wide aperture!
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Katini Adiwinoto's profile photoAlison Christensen's profile photoPat Kight's profile photoLady Fran W's profile photo
Wonderfully romantic feel to this. 
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Looks like my Sweet Pea. 
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11/26: Self-Portrait
#BWProject26 | Curated by +Tisha Montgomery +Brandon Luk +Lauri Novak +Alison Christensen 
Katini Adiwinoto's profile photoLiz Loveday (Elisabeth Khadijah)'s profile photojay flagg's profile photoAna Mari Pérez Marin's profile photo
Oh, so dramatic!
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+Laura Blanchard It certainly did! I thought I'd managed to kill them two summers ago when I was gone for most of July and the garden got badly parched. Nothing much came up last spring, but this year, they're back in full force and form.
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Heather Szarka's profile photoJohn Bump's profile photoPat Kight's profile photoDrew McCarthy's profile photo
Do you live near a Fire Swamp?
Keep an eye out for R.O.U.S. ...
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After a few weeks of study and reference-building, +Morgana Creely's Single Frame mentorship students got a chance to shoot some of the story ideas we were asked to come up with last week, using a who/where/when/what/how prompt.

I'd imagined a young woman running through a park, and asked myself how changing just one element (in this case, "when") might change the whole story. Lacking the gear to set up a night-time location shoot, I met my model, Jessica, in a local park yesterday,  having scouted for light and angles the day before. Then I came home and spent most of the evening trying to turn a bright, sunny afternoon into a creepy night scene. It took a lot of work, but I'm happy with the results; the two versions of this shot have entirely different moods that suggest entirely different stories.

Things I learned this week:
~ Scouting a location in advance can save a ton of time during a shoot.
~ It's not necessary to show the whole person to tell a compelling story. As Morgana says, "If you can't shoot the elephant, shoot its toenail."
~ When working with multiple photoshop layers, save your master and do final adjustments in a copy. I wound up having to rebuild my "night" shot from scratch because my original inadvertently cut out most of her right thigh and I didn't realize it until I'd already flattened the layers and saved over the master file. Doh!

(Single Frame is part of the +G+ Mentorship Program for Photographers - an amazing, free opportunity to improve your photographic skills.)
Morgana Creely's profile photoPat Kight's profile photoCarla McMahon's profile photoJohn Palmer's profile photo
That's good advice for any complicated project. There are also versioning tools and techniques that I know are available for various projects - I'm sure some of them must be available or adaptable for photography (or other artwork - e.g., set design).
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Week 19 - Fractal

The prettiest Brassica ever ...
Patt Dickson's profile photoMary Wardell's profile photoPat Kight's profile photojay flagg's profile photo
+Pat Kight Aha!
I'm not used to digital tech yet. X-)
You did a great job of capturing the fractal nature.
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May the Fourth Be With You

How timely: I hung out with a group of actor/nerd friends this weekend reading scripts, as we do now & then. For a change of pace, instead of plays we read an old Star Trek script ... and people brought their Trek nerd toys, including this scale model of the Enterprise. Of course I shot it, and then decided it needed a bit of warp-drive blur and a better background than the coffee table...  ETA: In addition to being a nerd, I am a dork, and brainfarted "Trek" for "Wars". Apologies to the SW fans...

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+Pat Kight thanks. This is awesome.
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Have her in circles
15,028 people
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I work with words, pictures and invisible electrical particles to make cool things and communicate ideas.
My secret superpower: I can take a 10-page research paper, boil it down to 250 words and make it both interesting and accurate.
  • Oregon Sea Grant
    Web | Words | Photos, 1993 - present
  • The Oregonian
    reporter, 1987 - 1993
  • Various clients
    freelance writer/editor/photographer, 1985 - 1993
  • Corvallis Gazette-Times
    reporter, 1978 - 1985
  • Associated Press, Detroit
    reporter, 1976 - 1978
  • Sault Ste Marie Evening News
    reporter, 1973 - 1976
Basic Information
December 3, 1949
Other names
kightp, Jezebel
If you think I'm "that Pat Kight," I probably am.
"... a Molotov cocktail-throwing Brenda Starr." - my old college adviser, with delight, on seeing me for the first time since 1974.

When people ask "what do you do?" my profession isn't the first thing that springs to mind. I do ... all kinds of things.

Things that interest me: live theater, photography, knitting, communication technology, the Internet as a force for change, Web accessibility, communicating science, cooking, gardening, the localvore movement, liberal politics, feminism, ebooks, speculative fiction, geeks, creativity, craft, intelligence, beauty, compassion, peace, living lightly on this earth.

I'm "following" a lot of people I don't actually know on G+ simply because they have interesting things to say. If you're among them, please don't feel obligated to add me to your circles (although you're welcomed, if you want to). 

If you encircle me, don't take it personally if I don't reciprocate. Thanks largely to photography circle-sharing, I keep hitting the 5000-person max G+ sets on how many people we can encircle, and when that happens, I can't add more till I find time to do some house-cleaning.  

I try to sort what I post according to who might be interested in it, although all my photography posts (the bulk of what I share) are public. Special interests that (mostly) get posted to select circles include:
  • Knitting and yarn-crack
  • Theater 
  • Cooking  and eating well. NOT about dieting/weight-loss.
  • Politics 
My politics are decidedly left of center, and while I welcome intelligent, respectful conversation with people of other persuasions, I'm not interested in demagoguery of any stripe. In particular, if you are any brand of religionist bent on saving or converting me, someone who believes Fox has the only "true" news on television, a Tea-Partier or a raving Libertarian, do us both a favor and don't encircle me. Life's too short to argue with people being Wrong On The Internet. Unless it involves snark.
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Albany, OR
Corvallis, OR - Detroit, MI - Sault Ste. Marie, MI - Roseville, CA - Kincheloe AFB, MI - Sargeant Bluff, IA - Dyess AFB, TX - Abilene, TX - Itazuke AFB, Japan - Montgomery, AL - Harmon AFB, Newfoundland - Long Beach, CA - Houston, TX