Chris Willmott asked me for a casino-themed shoot before I was going to leave the UK. The School of Drama building at the University of Kent had recently been finished and provided a fairly modern setting that would work, seeing as I didn’t really want to go through the whole logistics of working in an actual casino. So, thanks to the university for letting me shoot there.
The photographs ended up somewhere between the styles of James Bond and Gambit. I used Speedlights and PocketWizards to set the mood in terms of lighting, playing around with gels to get some colour contrast and get away from the boring fluorescent light.
The post-processing was a challenge for me. For two of the photographs we wanted the cards to be in mid-air. Getting it all done in-camera turned out really difficult, so I decided that I’d place the cards later on in Photoshop. Thus I ventured forth into Photoshop’s 3D world :) I hope the results look somewhat realistic.
Once I had read Aaron‘s whacky script I knew that I wanted to take part in the project to create this short film. It was a good opportunity to give filming something with an actual script a go. I used two Canon EOS 5D MkII cameras with the Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8L USM and the Canon EF 50mm 1.4 USM lenses. The sound was recorded with the Zoom H4N and a Rhode Stereo Videomic.
We filmed in various locations around Canterbury, such as Aaron’s kitchen, a quiet corner of the Templeman Library, the Monument Pub and Christchurch’s Augustine House. (We got kicked out of the latter though.)
When we were done I handed the files over to Aaron who took care of the editing.
Two recent self portraits that I shot for the Camera Bag and Boats II contests over at dpchallenge.com. No need to worry though, I still prefer being behind the camera rather than in front of it.
For the cathedral shot I placed the 5DII with the Peleng 8mm fisheye at the bottom of the camera bag and used PocketWizards to trigger two flashes, one below the lens in the middle and one to the right (you can still see the bright diffusor panel). For the pirate shot I used Canon’s ETTL system to trigger a 580EX in a softbox over the camera and a 430EX in some ziplog bags under water.
Another year of great artists performing on ugly stages. I think those white tents kill all the atmosphere. Less photography for me this time and more hanging out; it was one of the last days in Canterbury for a couple of my friends.
The Photography and Modelling Society at the University of Kent organized a re-shoot of the Urban Glam shoot which was a bit too short seeing as it was followed by the society elections. This time we met in town and moved around a bit to different locations around Canterbury's south wall.
Models: Christopher Willmott, Daniel Neighbour, Bekki Hawkins.
Before the end of term, Cazz Walker, with whom I've worked before asked me for another shooting. I thought it would be cool to do something along the lines of the Bourne films and Max Payne comics. I scouted for some appropriate urban, shabby locations in Canterbury and previsualized some shots. At home I combined them into a storyline. Alison helped me during the shoot and lent me her Pocketwizards which I used for some of the setups, in others I relied on Canon's ETTL in manual mode. You can look at the individual scenes in the window above or you can download the PDF, ready to be printed on A4: Cazz Walker, Secret Agent. The PDF is published under the following Creative Commons License: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.
Here are some of the sources I used for this comic:
The bar code font on the cover has been created by Anke Arnold.
The font used for the title is Adobe ITC Machine.
The texture used as overlay on the title is from gungetextures.com.
The font used in the speech bubbles is Anime Ace.
If the last post made you think that I’ve joined the X-Files blogscene I have to disappoint you. I’ll stick to the visual arts. Today I bring you a Photoshop tutorial based on a movie poster mock-up I made back in Canterbury.
Hit the jump for a walkthrough of the shoot and a step-by-step explanation of how I used Adobe’s Photoshop to turn my friend Ollie into a Specimen.
After my return from Spain I spent most of my time backing up every single byte from my laptop. With me Murphy's Computer Law has a habit of kicking in just before I cross the channel either way. Better safe than sorry. (And indeed as I type this on my acer, balanced on copies of Wild Fang and Gulliver's Travels to let the air circulate beneath it, it's overheating, the processor is running at 90% and it's just a matter of time before it bites the dust. I hope the Macbook I've ordered will arrive soon...)
To counterbalance the IT frustration I got on my bike and visited the nature reserve in the woods around Chartham Hatch, not far from Canterbury. Turns out getting on the bike to go there was a dumb idea; you're not allowed to cycle in the nature reserve. Even so it was an enjoyable walk through some beautiful areas, and I got the camera with the 10-20mm wide angle lens out of my bag more than once.
This is the last photoshoot I did for inQuire this term. The shops are Punky Fish for the girls and Third Eye for the boys, so the wardrobe was street/punk/skate themed. The decision to shoot outdoors in Canterbury's less glamorous parking lot and warehouse areas was easy. The weather was dry but overcast, which is always a plus because it makes it easier to underexpose the ambient within the camera's flash sync limit (the 40D's is at 1/250th). Alison was there again to help me out. When you keep moving between locations and setting up new shots every ten minutes it's good to have someone around who knows how I work and what I mean when I say 'Drop the B slave by half a stop and flag it, I don't want the rimlight to bleed into the exposure.'
Thanks to Laura for organizing the shoot, to Alison for helping me and to the models: Liam, Katy, Cazz, Sarah, Rosie and Daniel.
One of the last meetings I organized as photography president of the University of Kent Photography and Modelling Society was an exploration of the places in Canterbury that would be best suited, from my point of view, for photographers to shoot, be it because they are worthwile in their own right or because they offer themselves as nice backdrops for photoshootings with models. First we went up to the Westgate panorama tower which is part of the Westgate Museum, as most participants had not yet been up there and it's only around 75p for students to go. Then we made our way to Greyfriars, a former monastry which has its nondescript entrance in Stour Street. Some of the monastry's walls still stand and it's a nice park-like place to hang out and just read too. From there we went to Canterbury Castle, or the remains of it rather. It was used by a gas company decades ago and they knocked through some of the walls to get their pipelines installed.
While we were there the rainclouds which are inevitable when I organize a phototrip caught up with us and we returned to town centre to take shelter in Starbucks. -- What? Which one of the three? :)
At the end of February I lugged my camera and tripod up to the flagtower of Canterbury's Westgate. The tower isn't accessible to the public and it took a while to get permission to shoot from this wonderful vantage point, which offers one of the best views of the cathedral and the city centre. So I climbed the metal steps past an owl statuette that's meant to scare away the pigeons and got my tripod set up next to the flagpole. It's not hard to tell why Westgate's highest tower isn't open for the average Canterbury tourist: there's only about half a metre of space on any side of the flagpole and the wall surrounding it wasn't very high either.
First off I took the above panorama looking south with the 70-200. It consists of 48 individual photos that were stitched together in PTgui. The resulting panorama had 180 Megapixel - with over 50'000 pixel length it was beyond the limitations of either JPEG or PSD files and I had to save it in Adobe's large file format (PSB). The version above has been resized to just over 27000px wide.
After that I got out my trusted Peleng 8mm Fisheye lens to create a 360/180° QTVR image looking north onto St Dunstan's Road, which you can see below. These panoramas are taken in the same way as other panoramas, except that the camera makes a full 360° rotation looking down, then straight ahead, then up. Unfortunately I don't (yet) have a QTVR panorama head in my camera bag, which is necessary to match the camera's nodal point with the axis of rotation. That's why the panorama below has some rather ugly glitches - have a look at the stairs, for instance.
For some reason it has rained at each and every DPChallenge get-together I've been to over the last year. No surprise then that the one I hosted myself didn't greet us with sunshine. Even so Dain McGowan came all the way down to Canterbury to explore the city and the cathedral with me and Sebastian Andersson. In the afternoon we went up to campus to take photos at Artsfest.
Before the Easter holidays the Photography and Modeling society met up for a last shooting session. We started in the Cathedral Cloisters where the basics of flash photography and balancing it with ambient light were covered. I lent my camera to someone else so I have no pictures of that part. After a delicious Sunday lunch in the Dolphin we decided to take some group shots in the nearby park area as well as the pictures of Charlotte in the daffodils. For the eTTL adepts out there I'm happy to report that the 430EXs had no trouble picking up the master signal from the 580EX in broad sunlight from about 15 metres.
Singer, actor and musical director Jean Carlos Lopez met me in town for a shooting on an overcast afternoon. Locations in Canterbury included Westgate, the Westgate gardens, Greyfriars, High Street, and the Cathedral.