Broken Banjo Photography

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Alanna and her Hoop: Bali, Indonesia

This is Alanna.  We met in Ubud, a city on the island of Bali in Indonesia.  I spent a few months living just outside of Ubud in 2009, where I spent most of my time doing things related to photography, agriculture, potlucks, and acro-yoga (not too very different from my life right now).
We had a photo shoot in the tiered outdoor amphitheater behind the Yoga Barn in Ubud.  As you can see, the immaculate grass blends wonderfully with the wooden inset steps, and I had been looking for somebody to shoot in that environment.  We were in a shaded area, and I used only natural light for these images; I was not traveling with any flashes or studio lights at that time.  She needed nearly no instruction besides where to stand, and it was as simple as saying, "Okay...go!"  She hooped, I shot.  Shot with a Nikon D40 (a relatively cheap DSLR, bought in Indonesia) at F-2.8 to blur the background.  I found that shooting at 1/500th of a second blurred the hoop just enough to show motion, but froze it enough to give some great framing effects.
 Alanna and her partner, Atom, had moved to the island around the same time as myself with the intention of focusing on their professional development while living in a gorgeous place.  They were doing their best to pull out of congested places like Los Angeles, while maintaining an income from afar.  This is not an uncommon endeavor.  You'll meet folks looking for that all over the world, expatriates crossing borders to find less a travel experience and more a new home.  I met many of them in Bali.

Alanna and I became fast friends, sharing, among other things, a love of the camera.  At some point in our friendship, she began teaching a hooping class at a local hub, called The Yoga Barn.  As you could probably surmise, The Yoga Barn, set near downtown Ubud and surrounded by rice paddies, was a popular spot for yoga practitioners.  Her hoop classes were popular at the time that I experienced them, and I very much wanted a portrait of Alanna with one of her many arts.
These shots are pretty much out-of-camera, with only some color adjustments on the first image.  As you can see, pumping the vibrance (in the first shot) and slightly tweaking the saturation of the greens makes a huge difference when compared to this out-of-camera version.
It's been a few years now, and we've kept in touch.  She and Atom left Bali around the same time that I did.  Personal and professional issues limited them in ways that were unexpected (or in ways that they had hoped to escape), and they currently reside in the Los Angeles area.  While I visit California for work and play fairly frequently, I almost never get as far south as LA.

But a few months ago, when I scheduled a flight to North Carolina for work, I saw one of my flight options routed through southern California.  With the option of a long layover, I booked a flight with a 5-hour pause in LA, hoping that Alanna was free.  She picked me up an shuttled me far down the freeway, where we found time to have lunch, catch up on life, and then shoot back to get me on a plane.

She now produces remarkable branding and marketing work in LA with her company, Co-Creative Media,  and photography-that-makes-me-wish-I-were-a-model-just-so-she-would-photograph-me at 2nd Chakra Studio.

And it's not a Hula Hoop.  Just a hoop!

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