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GutterGirl - Cinematic Lighting, HDR and a Very Bloody Knee

 

There is a parking deck uptown that I was kicked out of while back  for taking pictures of clouds..... yes clouds. As much as Mr. Rent-a-cop Droopyface would have liked to have scared me away, I was not detered. Next time I came on foot, tripod in hand, with the intention of getting a cool HDR background plate of a dingy sodium-vapor lamp illuminating a dirty wall and some sort of ominous looking water valve reminiscent of an 80's horror movie   ... and well, that is what I did.

For those of you who do not know about HDRi or High Dynamic Range imaging , it is a photographic technique used to render images that encompass a larger range of luminosity, similar to what our eyes do effortlessly. By combining a group or bracket of images captured at different exposures which encompass the entire range of the scene, we can put together a High Dynamic Range image that looks truer to the physical world. If you would like to try this out for yourself, check out Photomatix.  For more information, and some really awesome HDR tutorials, check out Trey Ratcliff's blog.  He's kinda the go-to-guy for this sort of thing, has the most visited travel photography site on the internet, and on top of all that he wears cool looking glasses.

After putting the background plate together I realized that I needed an epic hero to be the subject of the image, after all it's basically an empty spotlight without one. I racked my brain for while as to who that hero could be - a hip hop artist? (Nope, I don't know any.),  a hot chick wrapped in caution tape and wearing a gas mask? (Nope, ModelMayhem has that covered.), Banksy? (Yeah, then I could just leave it empty!).... I couldn't get my mind around it and I don't believe in forcing ideas to completion so alas, with a lack of realistic ideas, I sat on this one for well over a year and explored other pursuits.

Many long months later I had an upcoming test shoot with my friend Danielle. We were tossing ideas back and forth and she mentioned that she was a skater... and finally I had my first good idea for a hero shot - shoot a hot model who also looks like a real person showing some true to life character - cooler than a gas mask indeed. On the day of the shoot we met up at my studio. Danielle brought her skate board, her silly jokes, and a tiny girlfriend of hers who could do a flawless imitation of Ms. Swan from Mad TV. In order to fit Danielle into the background image I had her pose up against the studio wall with her board. I lit her from directly overhead using a 36 inch strip bank with a grid and also from the front high above the camera with a beauty dish. This allowed me to recreate the original environment as well as bringing some exposure to her face and a nice catch light to her eyes.

The final way in which we created a mood was to add a bit more authenticity... also known as blood. I thought that having her appear a bit worse for wear would sell the idea better. For legal reasons I can't describe the technique we employed to achieve this effect, but I can say that it involved a lead pipe and two consenting adults... Danielle was quite the trooper and you can hardly tell that she walks with a slight limp... I'm horrible - I did it all in Photoshop.

 

Software used:

Capture One Pro

Adobe Creative Cloud

Photomatix

 

 

 

Large Format Photo Manipulation for Print

 

Partnering once again with Peter Taylor Photography, I was given the task of creating a 26 foot banner that is now on permanent display in the Charlotte office of Northeastern University, a private research university based in Boston.  I tend to enjoy the more involved photo retouching projects so this was a fun one for me.

I assisted Peter on set both on location in Charlotte as well as in Boston. The first shoot took place at the Charlotte branch, which was the focus of this campaign. Using rough layout of the banner from Wray Ward we were able to decide on a camera angle and move forward. Since each key school personality was photographed individually and in different locations, careful detail was paid to insure that the lighting was uniform across the entire scene.  From one of the building's offices Peter and I captured roughly 80 bracketed exposures to create the large high dynamic range panorama that appears in the background of the final image. The same workflow and attention to detail was continued a week later when we flew to the main university location in Boston.

A few days and a several revisions later I delivered massive final (printing at 150dpi at 26 feet across makes for a rather large file!) which now is on display at Northeastern University in uptown Charlotte NC.  The most fun aspect of the banner is that it takes up most of the real estate of the office which faces the city's main thoroughfare.

This is a great example of why I enjoy working closely with my clients from an idea's inception to it's final completion. It isn't a stretch to say that any image can be improved upon, but including your retoucher in the conversation from the very beginning can greatly improve the end result.

 

 

 

Mike Carroll and HeavyTheory for ScanSource

ScanSource_HeavyTheory_Mike_Carroll

Once again HeavyTheory has teamed up with Mike Carroll Photography -  this time to create a dramatic series of images for ScanSource, a POS and barcoding company.  The common visual theme of this series is a bright orange source of light emanating from a number of devices such as smart phones and speaker phones. Click the image above to see the final effect complete with the client's copy and dark vignette.

HeavyTheory and ActionSports Collaboration

Aaaaaaannnnddd We're Back!.... Whew.  Apologies for my long absence, but I've been kept very busy by many new ventures - not least of which is an exciting collaboration with ActionSports Photography. ASP is a leader in sports related stock photography, but is also a big player in our local NASCAR culture.  ASP and HeavyTheory have created many vibrant images in this past year including the image in this post. I think it is a great statement for jump starting this site back into action. It displays a great feeling of self improvement and following through. I hope you will check back often as their will be much in the way of new images, testimonials,  and retouching tutorials. Stay tuned!

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.