Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Splendor in the Grass

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind...

(William Wordsworth, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality").

I am obviously on a literary artsy streak. This image was part of a week long editorial that I shot in Port Townsend, WA, loosely based on fairy tales imagery. Not quite shooting " John Huston's African Queen", but the talent and crew had to walk through marshes and tall grass, fight mosquitoes, small snakes and the customers of Fat Smitty's bar. Singer and dancer Kristin "Finn" Von Claret, and Chance Koehnen modeled. I had scouted the location in February, and by this time the old tall grass was being replaced by new green offshoots. The cloudy weather created a nice atmosphere.

We shot at noon, but I had brought the big guns to overcome sunlight. a Profoto 7B pack, two heads, a sofliter II (as fill) and to camera left the giant umbrella+diffuser from Alien Bees (which worked flawlessly). The sun was to the right. Shot at f14, 1/160th, ISO 100 and using the 16-35mm Canon lens that I really like. Having a decent amount of watts/sec helped.

The post production editing was somewhat laborious to get the grading right. In order: reduce contrast/desaturate/add gradient masks to the sky and grass close to the fill light/minor retouching of the talent/re-adding contrast were needed/curves/adding a blue-yellow palette later and masking it appropriately. Final adjustments in Lightroom.

I will make a large print tomorrow!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Of Fairy Tales: The last Sparkle brings the Darkness.

I spent the last week shooting and editorial project loosely inspired by fairy tales and the environmental portrait style often seen in Vanity Fair. The subjects are a number of interesting people from the Seattle area, models, performers and photographers. They wore beautiful costumes (courtesy of the UW Theatre Archive), had their hair done and generally had fun and one of them also shoot a side project (see it here) using the same set up and helped me with the styling! This project often involved having a team of almost ten people trudging through the marshes in the Olympic Peninsula, nearby Port Townsend, WA. These images are the first I edited. They were taken with a 16-35mm lens and a large octabank and a medium softliter mounted on two profoto heads (next to camera and to camera left respectively). I underexposed the ambient by one full stop, reduced the contrast in post and then re-added it selectively where needed. Color shift to taste... I really liked they way it came out and the way it captures the magic of sunset. There will be more in the next few days. Stay tuned!