Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bradley in "air"

After fire and water, it's time for the third element: air. As you know, I found this spot sometime ago, when I was looking for a place to take Bradley's photos. And here's what we got.

In the first photo, Bradley has a great look! He's looking right into my camera and he seems like he's got there effortlessly. In this shooting I liked the idea of having him flying "over" LA in the image. You don't see the foreground, so that you don't have a reference and you don't know how high he actually is.

While the first shot is very intense, the second is more dramatic. In this image I like the fact that I tilted the camera and that you don't see his face. These images were taken at sunset. I was hoping for some clouds to make the background more dramatic but as you can way!
So, I decided to set the WB to incandescent and to underexpose the background by one stop. This way the sky turned into an intense blue, almost electric, and I liked it for this.

To light Bradley I used the usual two flashes. Both camera left opposite to the sun that was setting on camera right. One flash gelled with 1+1/2 CTO is the key and it's positioned 3/4 on Bradley's side. The other, with a red gelled on it, is strongly underexposed and gives that little red that helps Bradley to pop out of the bright blue sky.

There were other images that I liked a lot but at the end we chose these two for their distinctive look: one were he look at you right into your eyes and one in which he's very dynamic and dramatic. I think they both fit pretty well in this collection.

PS: after we finished shooting and it was getting dark, guess what, a wonderful full moon appeared at the horizon and took some more nice shots of him dancing (not flying this time...) with the moon in the background. We got some good shots but I'll show them in the near future. now I want to move on to the next element...

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Caitlyn in "water"

Since I proposed this project to Caitlyn she was so excited about it that working with her was really fun. Her photos represent water and as I said in a previous post we went to downtown LA to shoot them.

Since water was the topic of these photos, we chose a proper outfit for her. The idea was to have her dancing literally "on" the water...and I can tell you that we actually tried...without much success though. So, we decided that close to those beautiful fountains was actually good enough.
In this photo, her tutu' seems to wave on her like...water... and her grace and elegance are just outstanding.
I like the fact that she's framed by the fountains and the skyscrapers seem to be the audience of her wonderful show. Finally, one detail I really like of this photo is her profile that beside being almost completely in darkness is outlined by the blue light on her left arm.

This photo is less dynamic compared to the previous one but she's just so beautiful in her ballerina outfit. Also, the fact that she's more to the right but looking left I think makes a nice composition.

As far as technical details, in this case they are pretty simple. I exposed for the sky, dropped two stops and then fired the flash camera left with a 1/2 CTB on it. The flash was also snooted to converge most of the light on her. Its position is obvious if you look at the shadow made by her feet. WB was incandescent and the remote flash was fired by the usual on camera flash.

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Cesar on "fire"

I finally managed to finish my first personal project entitled "Elements of Dance" and I'm here to show you the results of my efforts. But, before I do that, allow me to thank Cesar, Caitlyn, Bradley and Deborah that kindly agreed to work with me on this. It was a pleasure to work with you all and I look forward to do it all over again for another assignment.
So, as you know, I want to submit these photos to the Pasadena Art Walk committee and together with Marta we chose two pictures per dancer.
The first two are those of Cesar dancing under the moonlight. In the framework of this project he represents fire for me and I hope he shows it.
You might have seen these already on flickr, but I want to re-propose them here with a few more details about how I made them and in a larger format so that you can better appreciate the images.

This is the first image. Since he represents fire, we chose it because his look makes the picture. I also love his pose, the detail of the dancing shoe appearing from behind the post and the dynamic. I can see him dancing around that post and I like the intensity of his look and the elegance of his movements.

The second image was shot with the same lighting scheme and we liked it better than others because there is a lot of movement in it. The moonlight shining on the floor and the intensity of his performance.
Cesar is a very talented dancer and I hope my photos render justice to his capabilities.

Moving on to the technical details, I used the lamp post as key light, one flash camera left (snooted and gelled for a warm tone) as fill aimed directly over Cesar's upper torso and another one right behind the post set on a wide angle and gelled to give a light bluish tone on the ground as if it was illuminated by the moon. Actually the moon light wasn't strong enough to do that but I gave it a little kick with the flash. WB was incandescent, so the lamp light appeared neutral, the flash camera left was gelled with 1+1/4 CTO and the other one just with 1/2 CTO, that given the WB setting on camera game a nice light blue tone. Everything was fired remotely by the on camera flash. Unfortunately, since one flash was right behind the post, sometimes it was difficult to trigger it, since I had to be in a spot were on camera flash had a direct sight of the flash sensor but the lens didn't. So I had to play a little bit on my position (and Cesar's) to avoid misfiring that light. Also that light helps me rim Cesar with a nice bluish color from the back so that there is a better separation between him and the background.

As usual, if you click on the image you'll see a larger version, but this time is big enough to appreciate it.

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