On Sunday, death comes to visit!

Posted on January 23, 2012

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My plans for Sunday evening were thrown wide open as the job I had (can’t mention too much about it as it is still a secret) was cancelled on last minute.
As a photographer you get used to living with the uncertainty and sudden call-ups and cancellations, but this gave me time to play with a little idea that I got while on one of my numerous drives along the M6 motorway.

Recently I have been starting to experiment on portrait type of images and some self-portraits in a ‘scary format’ – suppose there is a reason why many people call me ‘Spook’ 😉 After a day long head-ache – and enough pain killers to douce an elephant, the lighting was somehow set-up downstairs… now all I had to do was to convince my wife to play along with me.. not the easiest thing to do when you talk about covering yourself in various sticky substances and food items. Lucky for her, she had just had a shower, so yours truly was to be the ‘dead one’.

The set-up for the images was as follows (and shown on the picture below) – two Yongnuo flash-guns set on S1 mode, to trigger at the same time as the Canon 580EXII main flash-gun, which was attached to the top of the Canon 5D MKII and triggered by a PocketWizard. Camera was remote triggered by me with a wireless trigger on my right hand. Lens for this experiment was a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8. As the image shows, two of the flashes were positioned high above the table – pointing down to light up the person on the table, the third flash was behind the person on the table and lighting up the person standing behind the table.
First thing was to set the camera up, I think I went for shutter speed of around 1/250, aperture around f8 and ISO around 100. (except the ones with the light trail – where f-stop was upped to around 11 and shutter speed to 8 seconds.

Set-Up for the shoot

Problems with trying to get multiple poses on this was that you had to check the camera every now and then, which meant scooping all the ‘gung’ off my stomach and checking the screen – I can already see why it pays to have models doing this type of stuff, so you can spend your whole time behind the camera.
It also easier to switch the focal length when you take the images and keep seeing them ‘fresh’ – with this shoot I noticed later on that it really would have benefitted to have the camera closer to the table, as now there was lots of needless cropping of the images and the light stands do get into the picture edges. But, all work in progress and only affects the surrounding of the images.

All in all we probably took around 50 images during a little over an hour – some of them were immediately deleted, but few of them were good enough to warrant some processing work to get them looking ‘spookier’.
I have few pre-set actions that I’ve become attached to when editing these images – including a selection of edits ranging from curves, high pass, hue/saturation, etc.. although as you can see, some images have not been touched too strongly (suppose I look scared enough as it is).
There’s a little dodging and burning going on as well in most of the images – to darken/lighten certain areas of the images.

Here is one sample of the finished images – if you feel like having more of a look, there is about six/seven images on the Gallery behind the URL : http://googabuphotos.zenfolio.com/p791460904/slideshow   http://googabuphotos.zenfolio.com/p791460904/slideshow

The Death Story

I would really appreciate some feedback – comments on the images, and if any photographers feel like commenting on how to improve them.. all is gladly welcomed!!

All Images on this article © Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd

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Posted in: Photography