Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pack light, but get a big production look!

A while back my friend Al wanted some portraits done, so he called me up saying he was looking for something a little different than the usual head shot.
After talking a bit and throwing around a few ideas, we decided to do some environmental portraits to showcase him out doing what he loves. 4 wheeling! Since his work requires him to wear a suit and tie, I suggested he bring that along as an alternative to the usual Carhart dirt cloths. I liked the idea of showing both sides of his life in one image.

Thinking about locations, I new I wanted an area that would offer lots of different set ups. Mud holes, forest trails and Mt viewpoints were all on my list, and there was one place that I new would work out great, Goat Mt! Located a little SW of Estacada OR, Goat Mt is little known, but offers a great variety of things to do. There are 4x4 trails, hiking trails, view points and a nice little lake at the base of the Mt. A perfect area for a fun off road shoot.

So a few weeks later we headed out in his old Jeep with a minimal amount of photo gear. I knew we would be getting dirty and muddy so I packed as light as possaible to keep the damage to my gear to a minimum. After stoping and shooting at a few different locations down low on the Mt, we decided to get out of the trees and head to the top to get some nice light.

Once to the top I found a nice open area and had him pull the Jeep into position first. I find it's always best to set the foreground subject up then work the rest of the shot after. Lighting was going to be an issue as I only brought one strobe, so it was time to brain storm a little and get creative. I could make the one light work, I just needed to shoot multiple exposures with the light positioned in different locations. Then later in post, I could put them all together and create the shot I envisioned, but did not bring the gear to create all at once.

First off, after the Jeep was in position, I moved Al into place and had the light set up. This first shot was to act as my base image that all the other exposures would be built around. A tripod here is a must! To shoot for a multilayered image, there must be no movement between frames. Otherwise the images wont line up correctly later in post.

Next came the light for the tire. Leaving the camera set, I had the light moved to a more incident angle. This way it offered much more shape and detail to the tread and gave the lighting a much better overall feel.

I also wanted to have a little more light in the front, but not so much that it drew to much attention. Just a little detail so that I could layer it into the final shot and give it some shape and deffinition. All the while making sure the original position of the camera stayed exactly the same.

 Once I felt I had all the lighting setups that I would need to create the final image, we packed up and headed home. I new that I would need a different sky, but no worries as I  had lots of sky shots to pick from back at the studio. So, once back, I searched some of my stock images and came up with a sky shot that I felt would work well, add some drama, yet still lend a natural feel to the over all shot.

Now for the tricky part. Once back at the studio and on the computer, I took my favorite peaces of each exposure and layered them together. By doing this I was able to create a much better shot than I would have been able to capture in one frame out in the field. With just a tripod, one light, some photoshop software and a little foresight, I was able come away with a shot that my friend was really happy with, and a nice addition to my portfolio.

How to get there.....

Goat Mt is located about an hour SW of Estacada OR off the Hillockburn RD.
There are many winding dirt roads in the area and its pretty easy to get lost. A good 4x4 or a dual sport motorcycle is the only way to get there.

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting how you put the final shot together.