Saturday, May 15, 2021

Photography Scavenger Hunt Round 31: Self Portrait

 The 31st round of the Photography Scavenger Hunt is upon us.  This is my entry for the word "self portrait" 

I do a fair amount of self portraiture work, so this category should not be much of a problem for me.  However my creative core crinkles when given an obvious direction, so I decided to do something a little different.  It's not that I didn't want to do a self portrait (I did one for another shot this round, after all), but I wanted to be a little unique and outside-the-box-thinky. So I decided to turn the concept on its side a bit and show Deadpool taking his own photo, showing the back of his camera in the process.

I have a scale camera I could use, so my original thought was to simply pose Deadpool holding that camera.  Then take another of Deadpool to show in the back screen. Composite the two together and I'd be done.  Should take all of 40 minutes to knock this sucker out.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

So I set up the shot and...

... uh... crap.

Turns out the back of the toy camera looks like a dogs breakfast when up close.  This will not do.  No amount of Photoshop is gonna make that look good.  This is what  Micheal Jackson's plastic surgeon on the 8th nose-lift must have felt like... The best one could do is make him look like a slightly less creepy dancing pedophile.  That doesn't fit my vision at all for this shot!

Time to switch some gears and do this in a triple layer composite.

I started by taking an unplanned photo of the back of my camera with my cell phone, like this one (but not exactly this one as I used a different one, but you get the idea):

Then I took a shot of Deadpool to show in the rear screen:

Then some composite time in Photoshop and I had this knocked out.  Took more like 2 hours than 40 minutes, but I am pleased with the results:

Photography Scavenger Hunt Round 31: Fluffy

 The 31st round of the Photography Scavenger Hunt is upon us.  This is my entry for the word "Fluffy" 

I had troubles thinking of ideas for fluffy, and as such it was the last shot I did for this round.  The only idea I had was Deadpool slicing a stuffed toy.  However I had a similar shot, much better executed, in this round already, so it seemed like a cop-out to do a second half-assed one (I prefer to use my whole ass for my work).

However, sometimes a cop-out is required to get a shot for the hunt, especially when one runs out of creative steam after a long, but fun-filled, hunt round.

I got a sack of toys from Good Will which contained a stuffed doll, and decapitated it - ya know, as one does.

I then set up the scene so Deadpool was swinging his katana at the doll.

The doll has a wire shoved through it, and another wire holding the head up.

To save on some gnarly composite work I cheated on the katana posing.  To get the scale I wanted I grabbed the hand and katana from my 18" Deadpool, and mounted it in front of my 12" Deadpoool. This way the blade would be nice and large in frame, but would look like it was attached to the smaller figure.

This is the final shot with no compositing and minimal cleanup and colour grading.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Photography Scavenger Hunt Round 31: Teal

 The 31st round of the Photography Scavenger Hunt is upon us.  This is my entry for the word "teal" 

Teal is a colour.  There is often a colour word in each round of the hunt, so I expected there to be one in this round.  Teal, however, isn't exactly in my normal creative colour palette, so I had trouble coming up with ideas for it.

Tea was also a hunt word this round, and my only thought was "Teal is just tea with an L".  This would become important when I was actually shooting my tea shot.

As I was shooting it, I thought I should just do the tea+l thing.  The idea that came to mind was making a Mrs Nesbitt Tea logo that was painted onto a brick wall - think of those old Coke signs painted on ye-olde shoppes - and having a character spray painting on an L.

So as I was shooting my tea shot, I also posed Buzz Lightyear to look like a spokes-spaceman for Mrs Nesbitts Tea.

I then took that image and processed it to look like a logo that was painted onto a brick wall.  Then I projected the image onto a TV screen and posed Deadpool with a spray can.

After that it was some basic comp work, and adding in some paint splatters.  The final result is here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Photography Scavenger Hunt Round 31: Tiny Creatures

The 31st round of the Photography Scavenger Hunt is upon us.  This is my entry for the word "Tiny Creatures."

Given my genre of choice, tiny creatures should not present much a problem.  I mean, all I do is shoot tiny creatures.   I am literally surrounded by them.  That led to the idea of going meta and taking a self portrait with some of my tiny creatures.

I had actually considered taking some BTS photos of the setup, but neither myself nor my wife can locate them, so they are lost to the void of history.  So let me describe how I got this shot:

A simple setup, really.  I took this on my dining room table, with some black cloth on the wall to block out the window light.  I then setup my laptop, and arranged some characters. I set up one light, a 12" LED panel on a C-stand pointed straight in front of me pointing down at a steep angle.  I tethered my camera to my laptop.  This is one of the easiest shots I've done as I used the laptop I was staring at to remote control the camera, so I could literally watch the camera view as I clicked the shutter.

Easy, peasy.

This is the result.

It was only after I took the shot I decided to add the narrator windows, which look like Deadpool's inner-voice from the comics.  I dunno, I think it furthered the plot.

Photography Scavenger Hunt Round 31: Window

 The 31st round of the Photography Scavenger Hunt is upon us.  This is my entry for the word "Window" 

Window.  Its like a thing you can see out of... almost like a window to the soul, but not.  So I decided to make a self portrait with a window to my soul....

I tried mocking up something, and immediately hated it.  I mean, can you blame me?

I think I could beat that idea into submission, but it would take a whole lot of work (I even started making a window out of balsa wood to serve as a better mind portal).  However his was about a week before the deadline and I was losing steam.  

So in desperation I looked up to the My Little Pony on my shelf (fun fact: first Christmas I shared with my now-wife, then girlfriend, she asked me what I wanted, and I said "a pony" so she got me a My Little Pony doll.  I had no choice but to marry her after that) ... and inspiration struck. 

My Little Ponies have designs on their asses - they call em cutie marks, I call em ass-tattoos. Throughout my brainstorming for window I kept getting flashbacks to my PTSD inducing IT days brought on by that damnable Windows OS. So doing the math:  pony ass + logo == good enough!

And by definition good enough is good enough, so I grabbed the pony, took it outside and tossed it on a small concrete block retaining wall in my back yard, positioned it for the then setting sun, and started shooting.

One of the straight-from-camera shots looks like this:

Good enough actually turned out to be not that bad at all.  The location was right in front of a chain link fence, and the neighbours house was on the other side.  This made the background a horrid mess (for the shot, the neighbours yard actually looks quite nice).  I played around with a very shallow depth of field to blur all that crap out, and I was left with a rather pleasing photo. 

I tossed a Windows 2000 logo on its ass, and called it a day.  This is what I submitted to the hunt:

Monday, May 10, 2021

Photography Scavenger Hunt Round 31: Tea

The 31st round of the Photography Scavenger Hunt is upon us.  This is my entry for the word "Tea" 

Tea:  It is a nice drink. One I even enjoy on occasion.  However it may be one of the least inspiring words I've seen in a long while. One might say it isn't my cup of tea (hey-ooo!)

However my wife had an idea for a shot a long time ago that we never got around to shooting.  She wanted me to recreate the scene from Toy Story where Buzz Lightyear attended the nieghbours girls tea party as Mrs. Nesbitt.

So I decided to do that.  Now, because I am a complete and total professional at this blogging thing, and a consumate story teller, I completely forgot to take any behind-the-scenes shots for this. 

Go me!

However its pretty standard fair for my work these days.  My wife, the uber-quiltress, made an apron for me. She also let me use a tea set she has sitting around . I 3D printed a hat, made some scale furniture out of XPS foam and craft paint that I painted the pinkest pink I could,  and set everything up.

The hardest part was removing Buzz's arm.

It's a pretty basic shot overall.

Interesting this sort of led to an unplanned mini-series within the hunt, starting with fluffy, this one, and then teal.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Photography Scavenger Hunt Round 31: Sparkle

The 31st round of the Photography Scavenger Hunt is upon us.  This is my entry for the word "Sparkle"

There are some words where ideas come fast and loose, and one is almost spoiled for choice.  Others I have to fight tooth and nail to get even the faintest thread of an idea.  Sparkle was the exact middle - no ideas at all until blind inspiration struck out of the blue.

So when I get a list of hunt words one of the first things I do is write them in a notebook, and then I write some first thoughts associated words beside them.  This helps spark my creative flow.  For example, this is my notebook for Ink:

Contrast that with my notebook entry for sparkle:

So much to work with there, eh?

"Nerts!" I said to myself, and I grabbed my headphones and went for a walk.

I am not sure if it was the muses shining on me or the music of choice or a combination of the two, but I got about half way down the path - right where the path bends to follow the river... you know the place, when the following thought came to mind.  "Tinkerbell has sparkles!  I bet Tinkerbell could become a photo... but,I normally shoot Deadpool.... Tinkerbell... sparkles... shoot... Deadpool.... wouldn't it be great if Deadpool shot Tinkerbell and she exploded in a mass of sparkles?"

Then that became: "It *would* be *freakin' awesome* if Deadpool shot Tinkerbell and she exploded into a sparkle ball!"   Then I started to laugh like a mad man.  I literally LOL'd right there where the path bends to follow the river.  When I laugh at an idea, I know it is a winner. 

When I got back to my studio I hopped into Photoshop to play around to see if I could get a sparkle effect I was looking for.... turns out I could.  So I took a shot of Deadpool to composite into the shot:

If that shot looks weird, its cause it is.  I have been playing around with an idea I've had to shoot figures in front of a TV screen, with the background I plan on using projected behind them.  This allows me to get scale, and more important, angles (light positioning, but also camera angles, and posing) correct for whatever I am going for.  I then still comp out the character as normal, but this way I know the figure is correct for the background.

I comped it together, and I laughed again.  I showed it to my wife, and she loved it.  And the coup-de-grace - I showed it to my 7 year old daughter, expecting her to revolt and the idea of Tinkerbell exploding, but she literally doubled over laughing.  Then she said something that makes me know she's my daughter - "Uh, Daddy... the wand is wrong."

I scoffed at that... then I did research, and dang it, she was right!  So I changed the wand, polished things up, and came up with the final image that I submitted to the hunt.

Ironically this was the first photo I had finished for this round of the hunt.

BTW if you are wondering if Tinkerbell deserved it, I refer you to Peoples Exhibit A: In which you will find she attempted to murder Wendy, and as an adult fairy has dubious intentions towards the minor, Peter.  She is one naughty pixie.