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.

Wellington Cosplay Photofest 2019 – Jasmine & Ruan

My final shoot in the Wellington Cosplay Photofest was with Jasmine and Ryan who were dressed as Kisuke Urahara and Rangiku Matsumoto from Bleach, another Japanese Anime.

The shoot took place in the Botanical Gardens and over the course of nearly two hours we managed to wander over most of it.

The shoot happened late in the day and the lighting conditions were quite challenging at times when the sun came out quite low and direct.

Ruan was certainly very confident wearing his Japanese shoes even climbing trees in them.

At the end of the shoot we were back at the Lady Norwood rose garden just as golden light started to appear so I just had to use it.

Wellington Cosplay Photofest 2019 – Sarah

After my shoot with Chris I had a little time before my final shot of the day, which was being held back in the Botanical Gardens. While I was scoping out locations I came across Sarah dressed as Princess Aurora, who was also waiting for her next shot.

Although not planned Sarah was willing to kills some time so we headed into the Begonia House and then onto the Japanese Garden.

I ended up shooting a time-lapse of Sarah spinning but it will not allow me to load it up here.

Wellington Cosplay Photofest 2019 – Chris

The second shoot on Day Two of the Wellington Cosplay Photofest was with Chris who was dressed in a full stormtrooper uniform from the Star Wars movies.

I had discussed with Chris doing two very different types of shoot with him. Initially we started with a serious style shot in the grounds of Parliament. As stormtroopers all look the same it meant that I could take multiple shots of Chris and then blend them together in Photoshop.

Chris drew quite a bit of attention to himself and with practically every shot we had people asking to take photos of him.

For the second part of the shoot I had had an idea of recreating a famous photo from the Vietnam War protests of the woman putting a flower in a soldier gun. I had arranged with a local pub for Chris to be photographed at the bar, and when we walked in he attracted a lot of attention from the patrons, especially a little girl dining with her family. I asked her if she would put a flower in the gun which she if somewhat hesitantly.

I had wanted to photograph the stormtrooper doing regular things, and by sheer chance as we passed the cathedral next to Parliament the choir was just coming out. Three of the choir members agreed to pose with Chris as well as taking selfies.

We ended up at a local supermarket for a shot I wanted with an ATM. It was hard work for Chris to walk in the suit but we were both really pleased with the shots I was able to get.

Wellington Cosplay Photofest 2019 – Rebecca

Day Two of the Wellington Cosplay Photofest started early with Rebecca who was dressed as Rem from “Re:Zero” which is also a Japanese Anime series.

As we both lived in the Hutt Valley we decided to hold the shoot there and met at Percy’s Reserve in Lower Hutt. The reserve had a small waterfall that we decided to walk to.

Although the morning had dawned with clear skies the track and the waterfall were in areas of shadow, so I needed my battery powered strobes to add light into the images.

As we were walking back to the car at the end of the shoot I noticed a patch of sampled light and decided to use it for a low key look and was really pleased with the result.

Wellington Cosplay Photofest 2019 – Briana

The second shoot on Day One of the Wellington Cosplay Photofest was with Briana who was dressed as Arrietty from “The secret world of Arrietty Ghibli” which she explained was an Japanese Anime series.

For the shoot we arranged to meet at the Botanical Gardens as I wanted to incorporate a Japanese look into some of the images. We started shooting in the Begonia House by the large lily pond. Fortunately the area was not too busy and I didn’t have too much trouble with other people.

I liked the reflections that I could see in the water so for a series of images I positioned the camera closer to the water to get the mirror image.

Part of Arrietty’s costume is a throwing hook and rope so we tried to get an image showing Briana using it. Getting the timing right on this this proved a lot harder than thought especially as the version that Briana had created did not have the full weight that a proper version would have. Therefore it did not pull the rope as well.

Still it was a great shoot and a good end to Day one.

Wellington Cosplay Photofest 2019 – Hayley

At the end of 2018 I saw a Facebook post that invited photographers to take part in a weekend event being organised by members of the Wellington Cosplay community. Those selected would be paired with cosplayers and over the two days we would have four or five shoots.

I figured it would be a lot of fun, and so I applied and was accepted. The format was very similar to what I had been used to with the GTC collaborations except that once we were paired up we could arrange the time and place of the shoot.

When one of my original selections pulled out I was offered the opportunity to shoot with Hayley who was a special guest of the weekend and travelling from Sydney just to take part. She is a very experienced cosplayer and model which I knew but both make my job easier, but at the same time more difficult.

Now I have shot lots of models and costumes but cosplay was going to be different as I was dealing with a character that needed to occupy a world. Halley was outfitted as Battle Suit Cammy who is a street fighter. When I learned that it was obvious that the bunker at Palmers Head would be perfect.

The shoot with Hayley went very smoothly and it was a great start to what ended up being six shoots over the two days.

Noah (mildly NSFW)

Regular readers will know that I am a member of the Fashion Collective which is a group of models, designers, makeup artists and photographers who get together and collaborate on projects.

Occasionally the group will have hang out sessions in one of the studios and anyone who wants to shoot can arrange something on the spot. It was at one such gathering that I met Noah.

We started off grabbing a number of items from the clothing collection and then headed into the studio that has a bedroom scene as one of the sets.

This enabled us to do a boudoir shoot in a space set up so that it had room for lights. In this case I was using two lights with fill light being provided by a large umbrella, and a smaller softbox as the main light .

Noah had a very European look so after a quick wardrobe change we headed up to the French Cafe in the grandstand and shot using natural light. I felt that the image was always going to be best in black & white.

At the top of grandstand ramp there is an area that appears to a wind trap for leaves and so we made good use of it.

For the final image in the sequence I wanted to portray Noah as a determined and confident person, and what better way that having her striding down the ramp.

Amilee at the bunker

At the start of the year I had a period where I was not in paid work, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to get some mid-week shots in.

I posted a casting call, and Amilee answered it so we arranged for me to pick her up in Wellington and we headed up the Palmer Head gun emplacement.

Amilee was in the lat days of a working holiday to New Zealand before she headed across to Australia and then back to Mauritius where she was originally from.

She had bought a couple of bags of outfits and we had fun mixing and matching with them. We also improvised with materials found at the bunkers.

Lighting for the shoot was a mixture of natural light and speed light. We had to be very careful where the lights were positioned as it was really windy and the lights were getting blown over.

We probably spent the best part of two hours shooting, and it was a really great day.

A photographic journey

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