Mexico Workshop, April 2009
Mexico was an absolute blast this year. We had about 14 models who were there for the “Girls of Rocky Point” calendar shoot. Weather was amazing, and the resort made us feel right at home. I had a chance to shoot a couple of shots with the guys and decided to share a few with you all.
We still have some room at the Cleveland workshop, and the June workshops have some space as well. Come on out and enjoy a really intense, incredibly fun and real-time-hand-on-see-do-learn workshop. Your photography will improve by several times no matter what your level.
Special thanks BTW to my wonderful sponsors BorrowLenses.com, SmugMugPro and the Las Palmas Resort in Rocky Point Mexico. All the attendees to any workshop will receive a 10% discount for any vacation rental at that incredible place. Don’t let the media hype scare you off… it is a pretty incredible place and easy and safe to get to.
I also should publicly thank my friends Megan, James, Jerry, JimmyV, Evan, Alex and Jesse for coming down and working with us. Some were there only to shoot the calendar, but spent time shooting with the guys and having an all out great time. Special kudos to Jesika (who came all the way from Houston for this workshop) and Christine and Laura, from Phoenix. They came with the calendar but spent a heck of a lot of time with the workshop guys and that was wonderful.
Well, let’s look at this first image. It is one I did on Sunday and features Laura. I rarely get to shoot at the workshops, but the guys were all shooting some shots of the calendar models and I had a moment to set something up. Dan helped Jerry and I make this shot. We used a Dynalite 400WS Monobloc with a Vagabond for power. Light modifier is a 22″ beauty dish and it was on a stand that we improvised into a boom for the carbon-based-voice-activated light stands.
I loved the little ledge with the water behind and wanted to feature the graphical nature of the shot. Laura had this incredible green scarf thing that was driving her crazy in the wind. I liked that too… so the shot was hatched.
Laura on the wall with the green scarf blowing. All was set except the light. It was coming at Laura at a nearly oblique angle and barring her looking right at the sun, there was no light on her front at all. I wanted to have light filling her face and form. I knew a reflector wasn’t going to be enough so that left only the strobe alternative.
I chose a wide angle Canon 20-35MM zoom so I could grab a lot of the location behind her and make the shot have a feeling of ‘place’ to it. A tripod was next and since mine was all the way back at the casita, I just grabbed Jesse’s video tripod and made it work.
How to shoot this shot with the strobe in it was an easy decision. It was obvious that I could shoot the light in the shot and simply take it out with drag and drop ease. Simply by shooting the image without the light in it provided the right hand side of the shot with no light. Easy to cut, drag and drop that right side onto the shot with the light and be done with it.
Well… it was a little more complex than that… but not much.
Here is the shot with the light in it:
As soon as I was finished with the shots, I had Jerry take the light out and I shot one frame with Laura in place and no lighting gear. This is the shot I used for the right side of the image. There would be a few things to deal with in the post work, but it would be rather easy. One thing that made it easier was shooting on a tripod. It gave me a set of images that matched and that is what I needed.
I had to fix the horizon a bit, and then carefully made a cut on the lightless shot and moved it over to the shot with the light in it. A little finessing and it slipped right in. I then had to do a little shadow repair on the grass, remove the flashmeter that was inadvertently left in the shot and make sure that the sky had no line in it. I also had to take out the corner of the lightless shot that had a little light in it as well as that creepy thing that got on my sensor sometime Sunday morning. Hmmm… if that sucker is a flu virus I am gonna be soooo mad.
The final shot was then worked with luminance masks and sharpened. And that was it.
I visualized the shot and then made it happen… that is the way to do it as far as I am concerned.
I wasn’t done yet though… I had another shot to do, and it was done the same way.
Above is the contact sheet with the images I shot of Jazmin on the zero edge pool. I did the final shot much the same way. Below is the shot without Jerry holding the light. I have the notes I made on it as well.
Here is the shot with the Photoshop tweaks and the added contrast and saturation. I also used some masks to bring out the contrast in certain image luminance ranges, and added a touch of grain to rough it up a bit.