My previous post went into the setting up of the foil shoot so in this one I will only concentrate on the image itself. For the shoot I had decided that I want to incorporate an actual crab. Buying one was out of the question cost wise, however my wife mentioned that she thought her Aunt had a brass one. Turns out she was right and we picked up a very ornate brass crab that actually was a long unused ash tray.
For the set I needed to have several shot options available. While I had envisaged that it would be a landscape oriented image, I also shot several images portrait oriented with Sian both standing and kneeling. For these we didn’t need to modify the lighting in any way.
We then moved into the main shoot where I had envisaged Sian being covered by the crabs. The first step was to get her in position and then adjust the main light as she was now much lower than before. I also had to change my shooting angle to be much lower as well. As the final shot was to be composited together the camera was locked onto my tripod.
We stared with a shot with Sian with no crab on her, and then I took a number of images moving the crab around her.
Having all of the shots I now selected the ones that I wanted and loaded them as layers in Photoshop and then masked each layer so only the crab came through.
The star sign Cancer is governed by the moon so I went into the Lightroom catelogue and found some images I had taken of it. I then pulled some astro shots and put them all together. Because I had used a dark background and not lit it the masking between the foil and the stars was made somewhat easier. It was then a matter of changing the colours in the image to look like they were lit by the moon.
Overall I am really pleased with now the image came out as it was essentially how I have envisaged it. When I posted the image, I was expecting one my astro photographer friends to point out that you would not that level of stars on a moonlight night. Fortunately no one did.
On the weekend away to the Glenburn Station, the organisers has arranged for Che to join again to model. After looking around the wool shed in the morning I knew that it would be a great location, so I arranged for Che to meet me before the others arrived. That way I was not competing with the other photographers, and I could help them if they needed it.
Despite the fact that I had brought lighting gear with me, I had worked out that there were pools of natural light in the building that could be used and we made the most of them.
Che bought a couple of outfits but I have chosen to only feature one here.
This is the full series of the dressmaker and the story. If you want to read the background to the shoot you will find it on this post.
The dressmaker lived in poverty but she was extremely talented. All shehad to wear was clothes made from sacks the kind people at a nearby chocolate factory had given her.
All of the rich of the own came to here to make their gowns, but they barely paid her any attention.
The dressmaker dreamed of what it would be like if she could be like them.
As the night of the ball approached she had made quite a number ofdresses, and she wondered what it would be like to wear them.
Then a client told her that she no longer wanted the dress she had made, and she was not going to pay for it. The dressmaker thought what would happen if she did put it on.
The night of masked ball came and the dressmaker decided to put on the unused dress and attend the event. In the new clothes the rich of the town did not recognise her and happily treated as one of their own.
For my readers outside of New Zealand, our country response to the Covid-19 pandemic was to go into lockdown hard and early. While the economy has taken a hit, our health system didn’t, and we ended up with around 1,500 cases and 22 deaths. The vast majority of those deaths occurred in two aged demetia facilities.
The benefit of these action is that we last had a case over 20 days and last Sunday (June 7) the last active case recovered. That meant that from Tuesday we could enter our new normal.
While the borders are closed life within New Zealand could return to a sense of normal. So much so, that over the weekend 60,000 people attended two rugby games, something that other countries can only dream about.
For portrait photographers to lock down was hard as rely on interacting with our subjects. So as soon as the restrictions were fully lifted a Sunday Club for the Fashion Collective was organised. It was great to be able to meet up with people with no need for social distancing.
Adding to the afternoon was the fact that Charlotte Kelleher of CKFilmDesign had brought along some period costumes that her team had made. Combining those items with hair by Wei Jiang and makeup by Nicola Robinson and you could not help but take great images.
While the studio is full of lighting, the triggers that it used did not work on my camera so I could use them. I had taken my own lights but that was a bit of hassle with so many people present. So with the exception of the image of Jordan above, all of the others shots were taken using the ambient light in the room. Fortunately my G9 is pretty good at handling lighting conditions.
In addition to Charlotte, one of the other regular’s, Neen also brought some costumes so I shot her in one of the outfits.
It was great being able to socialise and shoot without any restrictions or fear. I have joined in with Zoom sessions with photographers in the USA and I know that they are far from being able to do that.
Back before the world went crazy with Covid-19, I joined up with members of Hutt Camera Club for a Saturday field trip to Fort Balance on the Miramar Peninsula.
Fort Balance is one of a number of gun emplacements scattered around the entrance to the harbour, and unlike Palmer Head still has a lot of graffiti. I had seem in used in lots of shoots but never got there myself. It was built in 1886 as a result of fears that the Russians would invade.
Figuring that there would be areas inside the complex I packed my Godox speed light and strobe. This meant that I could shoot by myself rather than having others shooting over my shoulder.
The trip organiser also brought along Che who is one of her regular models along with quite a collection of dresses.
When we arrived at the location I dropped the gear and spent a good ten minutes looking around before even picking up the camera. This time let me sort out the types of shots I was looking for. I also spotted two areas that I thought had good possibilities.
One was a stair case that had walls on both sides covered with graffiti. I had my wide angle lens with me and I used the distortion it created to use the walls as wings.
The second was a brightly painted wall that matched the colour of the second dress Che was wearing.
Che is only 14 and therefore does occasional slip into goofy behaviour. I thought that we could capture that with the help of one of the largest pieces of art on the walls. The result is the image below
Overall it was a pleasant outing with good company. I plan on going back to Fort Balance at some stage in the future.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For the shoot with Delaney I raided petals from a plant that grows out the back of my place like a weed.
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.
Since these photos were taken we have completely remodelled the bathroom and I can’t wait to shoot someone else in the new setup.