Pipes Result - Monster

On Saturday I wrote a post about my ideas for using a couple of giant pipe segments in a conceptual photo. I ended up having a couple of lovely friends Francisco Graciano and Eran Bugge come over and play the roles of savior and damsel. Here is the result (Click to enlarge): Monster

As you can see it ended up a bit differently than I had originally planned (as things like this usually do). First, I gave up on the caving idea, no exciting enough, plus I couldn't get my hands on the equipment I'd need to make it believable anyhow. That's when I came up with the idea of them running from the imagined jaws of a cthulhu-like monster from beneath the ground.

PipesPeople-228The first thing I had to do was move the pipes and gravel pile to a more desolate location, so I co-opted a landscape I took on the salt flats at the bottom of Death Valley at dawn. Much better. Cisco and Eran showed up and we shot about 30 pictures of them if various forms of the pose with Cisco standing on the edge of a table (with my friend Guillaume serving as a counterweight. As you can see I had a soft light from below blasting them to match the light from the pipe, plus one behind to rim light Cisco a little bit. There was also another strobe next to the camera bouncing off the wall to give some overall illumination to the shadows that the other two lights caused.

Compositing the two together was the hard part, along with the random science photos of tentacles. That stuff took a couple of hours. Cleaning up the masks on each element, playing with curves to try to get the contrast and brightness to match between layers.

I posted a version on facebook and G+ last night at around this point. I knew normally I'd spend another hour or two playing with it to really polish things up, but I was tired so I went to sleep. This morning however I added the final touches. Smoke coming up from the pipes, a minor lens flare or two, a lightning bolt, plus a whole lot more 1 or 2 pixel clean-ups.

Is the end result believable? Well it is a giant underground octopus attacking my friends in the middle of Death Valley so let's be reasonable about the answer to that question. That said, I think it's successful and silly, and a lot of fun. It ended up very different than I originally intended, but also much better. Not bad for a weekend project.


"Slugger" Cover

So my good friend Dave Keener asked me to help shoot and design his new CD cover, and I excitedly obliged since I had done the same for his previous album called The Easy Way a couple of years ago. The record was going to be called "Slugger", so I thought it would be fun to stick Dave in baseball card. The problem is, of course, that baseball cards are rectangular and covers are square. So the question was how to convert a rectangle to a square? In the end I decided to make Dave's card just one in a pile. Luckily I have a small collection of old cards that I shot as a background with a speedlight bouncing off the opposite wall, even shot a card on top (It was a signed Reggie Jackson!) to use for it's slightly beat up edges. I also made Dave's picture match the old school original by applying a color halftone screen to make it look like it had been printed (see below). It's the details that count, right?

The music is great by the way, it's available for download on July 4th. Here's the Amazon MP3 Link. I got to play some piano and organ on it to boot!

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Frame Your Photographs the Right Way

frameDestination I shot the photograph above about 2 years ago at the beginning of 2011 in the diner up the street from me. It feature the actual proprietor Nick, hitting on a a beautiful woman in a red dress played by my lovely partner Heather. And of course, my friend Claude looks on in disgust from the other end of the counter. I had been meaning to bring Nick a print to put on the wall ever since I shot the picture, but it just kept getting pushed down my to-do list. So I finally printed out an 13x19" print on my favorite Red River Ultra Pro Satin paper and then promptly let the whole thing go back to the back burner again for a week when I realized that I'd have to order a frame. However, I just remembered that I already HAD a frame I could use.

A few months ago when we were doing some promotional work together for the podcast, Frame Destination sent me an sample of what they could and I had it in my closet waiting to decide on a print that was worthy of it's loveliness. So I said, 'screw it' and decided to use the frame for the diner print I was giving to Nick.

Frame Destination will custom cut frames of almost any size from very high-quality materials. Basically it's the same or better quality than you'd get at your professional local framer, but for a fraction of the cost. Really top-notch product. I've used them to frame my Drabbles show at SoHo Photo a few years ago, and it saved me a bundle. The catch is that you've got to mount the print in the frame yourself. Static electricity and dust can be a real nightmare at times, but nothing a reader of this site can't handle. It was also the first time I had used the non-glare plexi instead of glass it I have to admit that it looks beautiful.

For those who are wondering, here's the parts list for the above frame: Nielsen Profile 97 - Matte Black 21 (Anodized) - 18x24 Plexiglas® Non-Glare Acrylic 1/10” - 18x24 Alpharag 8-Ply - White 8660 - 13x19(18x24) Foamboard Acid Free Artcare 3/16 inch - 18x24

So take this a reminder to print, mount, and hang some of your work so other people can enjoy it for years. If you decide to place and order with Frame Destination, try using the coupon code OTP at checkout and I think you might still get a few bucks off... It's certainly worth a try.