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The Whiskey River Standoff - Guns, Glory, and NASCAR

 

Every now and then I get the chance to work on a project that could  potentially produce something worthwhile, so long as I can take all of the pieces and arrange them into some semblance of an interesting scene. A while ago I was involved in just such a project, on a whirlwind production day on Dale Earnhardt Jr's property that contains a full size Hollywood quality western town. This place is seriously impressive, with a church, hotel with livable quarters, stables, and even a working and fully stocked bar. It even has a great name, Whiskey River, which coincidentally shares it's name with a more modern version.

I've been on quite a number of NASCAR related shoots and they all have one common issue - there are so many interested parties invested and so much money involved in working with these drivers that the clients all have to piggyback on each other's productions to get what they need. Inevitably the day is based around a video spot which as any still photographer knows, it means that they are going to come second. I was working (as I often do) with Walter Arce and we knew the drill - get there early, set up, and wait for a really really long time, check our facebook feeds over and over, eat too many carbs, (why is catering always entirely comprised of carbs?)  until you get ten minutes with the talent. Luckily for us there were multiple drivers that day, and they were staggered to us between takes for the commercial.

The theme for the shoot was about, not suprisingly.... cowboys. There were some great props on set and some really solid make up artists and everyone looked their part. The drivers left to right are Jeff Hammond, Paul Menard, Junior Johnson, Carl Edwards and Mark Martin, some of the biggest names in NASCAR. Each driver was costumed in a way that spoke to their own character and in the end they all looked wonderfully authentic. We shot each driver separately as they arrived on set and tried to keep the lighting exact, though a few had to be shot another day.

With our lack of time came the question of what background to use. Walter sent one of his staff photographers to the town set while we were working with the drivers and told him to shoot High Dynamic Range brackets of everything he saw. He came back with a great angle of the saloon entrance, which worked wonderfully in the final image. I believe in the end we had a compelling image with a lot of character.

 

Slappa Catalog Retouched by HeavyTheory

New Slappa Catalog and Image Campaign Retouched by HeavyTheory Full

When Slappa, an internationally trusted brand for specialty custom gear for active gamers and jet setting dj's was set to release their new line of high end gear, they called on Peter Taylor Photography, Moss Creative, and HeavyTheory to create a stunning new catalog to highlight all the new gear. Slappa needed five dynamic concepts to appeal to a wide variety of customers. Planning for such a comprehensive release required extensive pre-visualization which Moss Creative worked tirelessly to produce. Since such a high level of detailed planning was achieved before initial photography began, each shot went without a snag. Five very different locations were chosen and high dynamic range images were captured by Peter Taylor Photography and served as backdrops for our final images. In some instances every shot of the scene, product, and models took place on location. In others we chose to capture several components in a studio setting and match them to our backgrounds. HeavyTheory was tasked with the responsibilities of maintaining continuity of lighting and accurate positioning of our models and products as well as compiling every image together. In some cases as many as thirty separate shots went into achieving a final image. When the dust had cleared and every pixel pushed into place, Slappa released it's new catalog which is now being shipped all over the states as well as Europe and China.