Zodiac series – taurus

My shot for Taurus was one of the first in the zodiac sequence. The model is Te Manava Syme Buchanan and was shot at the 2018 Great Trentham Collaboration. The headdress was designed by me, but the rest of the costume came from CKFilmDesign.

Te Manava is over six foot six in height so I ended up shooting from a stool the get the angle right.

In the chasm with moana

Towards the end of last year I joined up with a number of other photographers, makeup artists and models for a day trip over to the Patuma Chasm in the southern Wairarapa.

This is an amazing open cave system in the middle of a farm.

For my shoots I was teamed up with Moana (who I had shot before). Over the course of a hour she went through several costume changes as we worked ourselves deeper into the chasm.

She never complained once even though the water was fairly cool.

Given that we were walking through water to get to each spot I was travelling very light. In addition to the camera I brought a single Lume Cube to provide light as I knew this was water resistant.

In the final image we had ventured a reasonable way into the cave and it was quite dark. I then spotted a point in the water that was being lit by sunlight coming through a small gap in the walls and trees. This produced a natural spotlight to use.

bodyscapes with shelley (NSFW)

A bodyscape is an image that focuses on the shape of the body and its curves, rather than the whole. You use light to reveal and conceal, and they are generally shot with a single light on low power aimed to rim the subject.

This series of images was shot with Shelley after we had completed the timelapse series.

Over the years I have shot a number of bodyscapes and I really enjoy shooting them. The lighting is very much trial and error as there is no real formula to follow. Therefore it is both a technical and an artistic challenge at the same time.

In addition to the naked flesh I have found that using beads adds to the interest. At the end of the shoot Shelley applied oil to her body and we sprayed her with water. This again makes for some great images.

In most cases the face is not shown in a bodyscape therefore they are anonymous. Therefore this final image is not strictly fit the others however the pose does emphasis the shape.

Shelley timelapse (NSFW)

This is another post that concerns a shoot that happened last year. I have been really slack in getting them loaded.

One of the photographers I have followed for a while is Peter Coulson from Australia. He posted a stop motion video shot with a nude model that I thought was quite neat. You can see the video on this link.

As my camera can shoot time-lapse and generate videos from them, I thought that I would give it a try. So I approached Shelley to see if she was interested and she jumped at the opportunity.

In my prop cupboard I have a very unusual helmet that I wanted to incorporate, and I manage to borrow some awesome heels. My original plan was to borrow a military style rifle to use in the shoot, but a week before it was planned a lowlife scum invaded a Christchurch mosque during Friday prayers and murdered 51 innocent people. The rifle was no longer appropriate so we supplemented a baseball bat.

The shoot was relatively straight forward. The camera was set on a tripod and for the first shoot was set to fire 1,200 times at three second intervals. The lighting was provided by my two elinchrom strobes who for the most part handled it well. One did start to misfire towards the end of the shoot and you can see this is the video.

Then we decided to change outfits and use a hula hoop and a mask. For this shoot we only shot 400 frames which resulted in a very short video.

While I was pleased with the results there are a couple of things that I would change.

Firstly video is shot in a very wide format (16:9) so you need plenty of space to shoot it. We shot in my garage that has a low ceiling and my backdrop couldn’t go the whole way across. This meant that in post I had to extend it. If I did this again I would shoot against a plain background so the extension is not that obvious.

Secondly despite the fact that it does take a while to shoot you do need to record a lot of frames to produce a video that is not too short. The 400 frames in the second shoot only generated 5 seconds of video.

Finally I would probably shoot using constant light rather than strobes. While they did handle the job you can see the times that one strobe failed in the video.

Three shoots in the bath (NSFW)

I have always enjoyed doing shoots that involve water, and when it is too cold to shoot with the pool outside will resort to using our bathroom. The bathroom is not all that large and so getting all of the lighting gear in place is somewhat tricky.

I have done a shoot in the past where I carefully balanced myself across the bath. Fortunately, that is no longer required, with the ability to connect the G9 to an app on the iPad, and boom the camera above the bath.

After one of my posts received a lot of attention I had three models all want to shoot in the bath.

For my shoot with Niki I raided the flowers from our camellia tree. These were very useful in creating Facebook friendly images.

Niki

For the shoot with Delaney I raided petals from a plant that grows out the back of my place like a weed.

Delaney

For the third shoot with Bree I wanted to do something a little different and so we built a storyline around her in a red dress and mask. We also used candles and coloured gels to light the scene. That way it was different to the other ones I had shot.

Bree

Since these photos were taken we have completely remodelled the bathroom and I can’t wait to shoot someone else in the new setup.

Zodiac Series – Leo

Leo was the second staged shoot in my Zodiac sequence. I had a couple of concerts in mind with Luke was be my main model. In the first part of the shoot I used a mask I had bought online and with a strobe in a small reflector used it to cast a shadow on the wall. I then had Luke remove the mask and a second shot was taken. The two images were merged in Photoshop.

For the second shoot, I had also recruited two additional models Martina and David who were to play the parts of the unlucky staff being bailed out because of poor performance.

David forgot about the shoot which left me one person short. Fortunately the G9 has a phone app and so I was able to position myself in the shot and still fire the camera.

Lighting for this shot was a main fill light in a seven foot umbrella and a smaller gridded light focused on Luke.

Zodiac Series – Gemini

I am currently working through a zodiac series with the ultimate aim of it being made into a set for submission for honours with the Photographic Society of New Zealand. It has been on the drawing board for a long time. To make the series more particular I am trying to recruit models that are actually the star signs that I am shooting. I was therefore really pleased when I discovered that twins Evie and Emily happened to be Geminis.

They are both fashion designers who have designed a lingerie range so it was an easy pick to ask them to wear black and white outfits.

The costuming allowed me to play with the notion of a split personality (good vs evil), and we made use of the mirrors in the studio. Then it was an easy photoshop masking to bring the images together.

I also wanted to look at the notion of Yin-Yang and the costume colours fitted well with that. I had them lay on the floor and boomed the camera overhead, under a large umbrella.

I has originally planned for them to be on a fake grass and I was going to surround them with bushed to make it look like they were in the womb. Unfortunately the grass could not be found, and my efforts to cut them out and place them on a real grass background did not look convincing so I ended up scrubbing the idea and giving the image a lot of texture in post processing.

The final image has done very well. It received honours in a club competition, was selected in the North Shore Salon and appeared in the 2019 issue of New Zealand Camera.