Archive for February, 2012

  • A great model & inspiring location

     

    I processed this one to make it look more like a MOVIE SET than anything. I wanted a futuristic look here.

    A client of mine asked me to photograph her in my studio a couple of weeks ago.  It was, however, during this shoot that I noticed something great about her.  She has an insanely unique look and a very fit figure so I thought I needed to get her out of the studio and shoot her up against one of California's most unique areas in El Mirage and the Dry Lake Bed.  I threw out the idea to Anna (the model's name by the way) and she loved it.  So we coordinated schedules and set a shoot date for Sunday, February 26th.  I am glad we set that date because the rest of this week has been bone-chillingly cold - well, it's cold for California. I have become a CA pussy in the sense that when it drops below 60 degrees I start to shiver.  Fortunately, we didn't have that problem Sunday. I grabbed my friend and assistant, Crafty and had Anna come over to the house so my wife could do her makeup.  We got started at 9:30am and finished with the car loading and makeup about an hour or so later.  Anna and I got into my Jeep and picked up Crafty and then drove to El Mirage.  I had never been here before but knew a lot about it.  Actually, I had been wanting to shoot here for a year now but haven't had the time or the right model.  Working on the documentary had a lot to do with my availability but now that it is in the hands of an editor my photography business is back to almost full strength with 7 shoots already this year.

    El Mirage, CA at sunset

    When we arrived at El Mirage I was a little apprehensive considering my last shoot in the desert (Joshua Tree) proved to be a challenge with wind, dust and cacti.  I noticed a lot of dust initially but then realized the dust was from the off-road vehicles driving around the dry lake bed.  I knew we would be stationary and that's when I got really excited.  There was some wind swirling around but nothing like Joshua Tree. For this shoot I wanted to pack light knowing wind could be an issue and I wanted to spend more time shooting than setting up and tearing down softboxes.  That said, I packed only a few stands and light modifiers.  Here's the list of what I brought for the shoot:
    • 4 light and C-Stands
    • Nikon D3s and D300
    • Elinchrom Ranger RX, Elinchrom Quadra, Elinchrom RX600 (with external power supply)
    • 27" Beauty Dish with diffuser
    • Paul Buff 86" PLM (My new favorite light modifier)
    • 2 SB-800 Speedlights
    • 1 Elinchrom shoot through umbrella
    • 3 Lastolite reflectors/scrims
    • 8 stop variable ND Filter
    • Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 lens and 70-200mm 2.8 lens
    While this seems like a large list it really is not.  It's about half of my gear but all of these light modifiers are easy to put on and easy to take off.  But the BEST item I had in my arsenal that day was my Singh Ray variable ND filter which allows me 8 stops of light with which to play.  On a day like this where we were dealing with sunlight from 12:30pm to night, the light is bright, harsh and challenging.  I knew going in I needed something to combat this sun and allow me to shoot at a shallow depth of field while being able to see detail in the sky and the surrounding hills and texture of the dry lake bed.   It was very, very bright considering the earth at this location is a light tan color and was reflective.  Looking toward the sun always caused me to squint even when the sun was starting to set.  It was considerably brighter than I had expected. Here are the images from the shoot.  The first 5 images are from my assistant shooting the D300 with everything averaged out.  He was not trying to make a picture just wanting to document the day.
    Annalyn posing at the Jeep

    Annalyn posing at the Jeep

    Annalyn getting shot at sunset

    Annalyn getting shot at sunset

    Shooting Annalyn with the 70-200mm lens

    Shooting Annalyn with the 70-200mm lens

    Annalyn getting shot at diusk wearing the gas mask

    Annalyn getting shot at diusk wearing the gas mask

    Annalyn wearing the gas mask at dusk and looking somewaht apocalyptic

    Annalyn wearing the gas mask at dusk and looking somewaht apocalyptic

    These last images are what I shot and post processed.  Enjoy and thanks for reading; I hope this location and images inspire you as much as it inspired me.
    This is RAW and straight out of the camera.  This was taken at 1pm with an incredibly bright sun.

    This is RAW and straight out of the camera. This was taken at 1pm with an incredibly bright sun.

    RAW file taken straight from the camera showing the great detail I got with a ND filter and the right lights

    RAW file taken straight from the camera showing the great detail I got with a ND filter and the right lights

    Another RAW image taken straight from the camera with NO processing

    Another RAW image taken straight from the camera with NO processing

    I processed this one to make it look more like a MOVIE SET than anything.  I wanted a futuristic look here.

    I processed this one to make it look more like a MOVIE SET than anything. I wanted a futuristic look here.

    This was processed to look like a TV promo piece

    This was processed to look like a TV promo piece

    I call this Apocalypt-chic

    I call this Apocalypt-chic

    Until next time, SH

    Like what you see? Why not share it?