Walk Before Dinner

About a month ago I published a Blog post titled A Perfect Moment – Capturing A Greek Summer In Grey November Link Here
Walk Before Dinner is another image from that same shoot captured in chilly November.
I captured this background for use as a Lifestyle shot well over a year but for one reason or another I never have.
The background is of St Pauls Bay below Lyndos village Rhodes Greece.
It was created from approx 27 individual frames mostly to allow me a more flattering perspective and to keep the Chapel below and the Temple above from getting lost completely in the image.

The technical aspects of capturing Nathan & Emma was much simpler than in The Perfect Moment image.
For starters the lighting in this image was soft rather than directional which previously required matching with the direction and quality of the background.
Creating images without the models feet showing that otherwise need realistic shadows created is also much simpler hence why many people based composites are 3/4 not full lengths.

I rarely time these things but the final composite not including the background creation took approx 6 to 8 hours to complete.

 

 


End Of Season, Rhodes

It’s been a busy end to what has been a slightly unusual year with both new exciting opportunities as well as a few challenges too but life is never linear or dull as an image creative!

October saw me back in Rhodes for a third time in 3 years but this time I chose to spend my time filming rather than capturing stills which I seem to be doing more and more of these days.
I decided (for the most part) to keep the gear to an absolute minimum. Apart from the Video time lapse section which was shot with my Canon 5D Mk4 most of the remaining filming was captured on iPhone and my Sony RX100 pocket point and shoot albeit a high end one!
My biggest dilemma was wether to take my gimble but I decided it would be a great exercise in adaptability and creativity to do without it plus I simply couldn’t be arsed to carry it !


Beach Front Living, Greece

Yep I’ve been back there again to one of my favourite places to shoot in Rhodes Greece.
Unlike the previous two visits this time I wanted to concentrate more on doing some filming that I had pre planned rather than shooting stills and I’ll be publishing that finished video very soon.

Having said all that I still managed to capture plenty of still images like this location close to the beach at Faliraki.
The scene I found in front of me reminded me of one of those amazing large format Peter Lavery landscapes found in the Marlborough adverts from back in the mid 80’s (Google em kids) captured in the wild deserts of the U.S.A.

I came across this and several other small caravans dotted close to the beach area and although this was obviously made into someones home at some point I’m unsure it or the others were still actually being lived in. Either way instead as seeing them as some kind of eye sore so close to the beautiful beachfront they actually made me smile because of it.

 

 


Blind woman on the edge of the Volcano

I captured this image in the near deserted village of Stefanos Greece.
The village is located on the edge of the Stefanos volcano on the island of Nisyros in the South Aegean Greece.
Over the years the village had almost been vacated entirely due to the volcano but a few people still remain.
One such brave resident was this lady whom I unfortunately did not get the chance to speak too.
She was blind and lived alone in her home above the crater with her herd of Goats.
As we approached the location and the scene in front of us unfolded someone described it as being biblical which I think was a perfect description.


Lifestyle In Loret De Mar

Back in October I made a trip to the Catalonian resort of Loret De Mar.
Unfortunately the weather was the worst seen along the Spanish coast for decades which of course hindered things slightly !
Fortunately the weather did break albeit just for two brief periods and I managed to capture several locations I had scouted.
Several months on with my models Susie Coats and Andy Elvin arranged (see blog post Pre Production For Post Production) I then photographed the models images and went into post production to composite the images together into the final shots shown here.


Path To The Cove

One of the first times I visited Kynance cove was is the early 90’s while shooting a lifestyle campaign for Clarks Shoes active sandals.
This shot was captured a decade later but not from the popular viewpoint that is most often used for postcard and book sales.
It’s sometimes hard to find a good vantage to call your own at well known locations but I see little point in replicating what’s been done countless times before.
I loved this vantage point I think it was the winding path and the stream leading down to the cove and beach cafe that made me stop and shoot from this spot.

Path and Stream Kynance Cove Cornwall


Pre Production For Post Production. Composite Lifestyle Shooting.

Tomorrow I have a location lifestyle shoot planned with a couple of models so I thought I’d give a glimpse on how I prepare for some of my shoots.

It can be surprising to some people just how much pre-production can go into even the smallest shoots especially if they are on location.
My shoot tomorrow has it’s own particular added elements that need careful preparation and close attention and that is because the backgrounds have already been captured several months before.
When I travel I often will go out capturing my chosen locations before dawn or dusk for the best light (depending on what I’m after).
If I have a choice I prefer dawn not because I love to get up at 4am (in the summer) but because there is less likely to be any tourists around especially in popular city locations.
Saying that having been a retoucher for 21 years I know some clever techniques to very simply remove people from images in post without the need for any stress while on location if needed.

My models will be captured either in my studio or as is more often the case outside in natural daylight and supplemented with lighting if required.

So for this shoot to be captured and be successfully blended realistically in post-production there are many things that need careful attention. Here are just a few of the basics.

The light quality
Light angle
Light temperature
The surrounding elements and their colour
Camera height
Camera angle (perspective)
Lens focal length (this can be tweaked a little)

As I said these are just a few things that I’m carefully looking at.
To help me with this I create a markup image for quick reference (shown below).

Here are a few samples from a previous shoot.

As you will see in the second picture in the bottom row if possible I’ll always take a snap of myself in the scene.
You have probably already guessed that this gives me a great reference when I shoot my models to how the light in the scene should be interacting on them even if it’s not a pretty picture!

So one question you may ask is why go to so much trouble why not shoot the models in situ like many photographers?
Well, I first should add I’m definitely not against doing it all in camera and often do however there is a multitude of reasons why it might not always be possible.
The main one is simply the logistics of getting models, stylist, makeup artist and the many other people that make up a production crew to a particular location at a certain time.
For me, it’s partly the above plus, of course, the substantial costs involved as some of these images are purely self-funded portfolio pieces so budgets can be naturally tight.
The other more personal reason is it enables me the luxury of more time to concentrate on capturing the changing light and various angles the locations has to offer with more flexibility.

It was interesting to read that Lord Litchfield towards the latter end of his career shot in a similar way.
As far as the post-production is concerned there is, of course, some work (and cost involved)  pulling all the elements together but then how often these days does an image not have some retouching applied before being published? If planned and executed correctly the image can often come together remarkably quickly.

As I said above I’m quite happy working and doing it all in camera and have done so many times but for me working this way provides a flexible alternative providing it’s planned accordingly.