Thursday, April 3, 2014

Corvette Rig Shot

SouthernThunder

My Corvette rig shot was featured on Flickr Explore two days ago at #356 in the top 500.
I was very happy about that being it was the first time I had attempted a full rig shot in the traditional sense with the whole cross bar and suction cup bracket mounting. Here is a behind the scenes picture of the setup:

Corvette-Rig-Setup


I had two assistants: Ryan See and Jacques Rossouw who helped with the setup. In the photo above we had the bar mounted and I was simply framing up the shot before entering the car to drive it.  I was using a 14mm zoom on a Sigma 8-16.

To actually take the photo my assistant Ryan sat in the passenger seat while I drove the Corvette at around 5 MPH. Jacques ran along side of the car in case something went astray with the setup.

 The Canon 6D has a remote shooting ability via Wi-fi Canon app so Ryan could see what the camera was viewing on my smartphone and activate the shutter. I would then stop the car and tweak the settings via the cell phone and do another run.  The final settings were about 1/10th of a second at around F25 due to the bright sun, but this still gave a nice effect of speed. The Sigma is a dome shaped lens so a ND filter was not possible to attach.

Supplies needed for such a shot:

Crossbar $50
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/996911-REG/impact_bg_acb_9_background_adjacent_crossbar.html
(If you have a heavier camera like a Nikon D800 you might consider a more heavy duty cross bar, I would suggest aluminum piping at Home Depot or the like) or perhaps a speaker mounting pole like:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/277984-REG/Mackie_SPM100_SPM100_Speaker_Mounting.html

2 x Fat Geko's $50ea
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/610980-REG/Delkin_Devices_DDMOUNT_SUCTION_Fat_Gecko_Dual_Suction_Camera.html

Oben Ball Head $75
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/887592-REG/oben_be_117_ball_head.html

2x Monfrotto Superclamps with stud: $30ea
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/546356-REG/Manfrotto_035RL_035RL_Super_Clamp_with.html

2 x Female adapter for Manfrotto Stud (hooks the bracket to the clamp) $4.50ea
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/546506-REG/Manfrotto_066_066_Double_Female_Stud.html

1 x Double sided stud (to mount ball head to pole) $7
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/824397-REG/Impact_ca_100_Double_End_Spigot_with.html

And of course the camera and lens of your choice.

In post the rig was removed via cloning and the color was adjusted to be dramatic.

Tip: To make the rig removal easier in post, on location before you take the camera off the rig set up a tripod and match the cameras height and perspective. Remove the rig from the car. Place the camera on the preset tripod position and take a shot of the car. You can now easily mask out the rig items that were attached to the car instead of endless cloning.

A super cool project that resulted in a very cool shot.

Thanks for reading




Thursday, March 27, 2014

Full Circle

Papa's got a brand new bag

Well say hello to my new set of wheels. I have been between sports cars for a couple years now and as much as I appreciate Honda’s family cars I was very anxious to get back behind the wheel of a great handling and visually striking car.   My search was originally for a Lotus Elise but I started weighing in all that I needed out of a sports car (including space for camera gear) the long road brought me to the car I adored as a child, the American sweetheart known as the Corvette.

As I dug deeper into the reviews and owner feedback I found of all automobiles I had considered the Corvette had an overwhelmingly strong response.  It was winner of one of Motor Trends “Car of the year” and a car with a 9.5 out of 10 overall rating by over 500 owners on Kelly Blue book, the case for the biggest bang for the buck was strongly in favor of the Corvette.

Considering I have for over two decades been the biggest import car fan I hadn’t even considered searching for an American car but this beautiful red head won me over in Daytona and after a day with her I knew this was the driver seat I was meant to be in.
The first day I drove her with the roof off on a winding road, I was a kid again….this car left me speechless and smiling. The thunderous purr, the wind in my hair, the bright red paint shining in the Florida sun…it was heaven on earth.

Another runner in the night

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Gamemaker

Gamemaker by Savage Land Pictures
Gamemaker, a photo by Savage Land Pictures on Flickr.

It wouldn't make more than a Google search to discover my connection with the video game industry by the end of this year I'll have done some combination of sound, music and or direction on over 50 title from EA and EA Sports. So when asked to give a presentation on my past experiences for the studio and provide a recent self-portrait I opted to try out the famous "Joel Grimes" three light array and do a sports cover shot.

As for the Football, a little story about that. If you work at Studio Tiburon for around five years or more John Madden will personally sign a football for you (you can see the signature right under the front crease). The ball represents a sort of right of passage to veteran game development.

This year I'll have been in game development 12 years and have made games on nearly every gaming platform since the PS2 era.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Endurance Race Of Creativity



Happy New Year everyone!

As the New Year rolls in I don't think I am alone in wanting to dive deeper into creative projects.

In my last post I talked about wanting to pursue image creation that told a story in 2014; This got me really thinking of what that really entailed. I have been looking at a lot of creative shots on Flickr for inspiration and reminisced about projects I had attempted in the past that were more than just pretty lights, cars and color.

I recently gave a talk in Orlando about the importance of a vision in assisting creativity in photography. In this lecture I also made mention that it is "artistic vision" that help answer both the questions of "How can one stand out when everyone seems to be a photographer these days?" and "What is a professional photographer anyway?" I also talk about the importance of having a creative circle of friends or peers to help the artist deal with things like being creatively overwhelmed, creative block or the inability to progress.

The talk is about  creative vision in photography, feel free to listen in here:


Beyond that it was requested by one of the attendees of the local lecture that I walk them through the entire creative process of a shot from concept to creation. I was happy to find in my archives that I had enough material to show how back in 2009 that a creative group of friends and I were able to bring a video game character to life in a project called "Photographs from the Mirrors Edge"

The Mirrors Edge Cosplay Photo breakdown 


My top 4 Creative Vision tips:
- Design a vision: Start with a storyboard or description on paper.
- Form a creative circle of friends: The cure for creative block!
- Never give up: Many people give up not knowing how close they were to success. Learn and try again.
- When it comes to gear: Own the vision – rent everything else

Looking for more inspiration?

Recommended reading:
Eric Curry - Painting with Light: Lighting & Photoshop Techniques

Recommended viewing:
Ric Burns – PBS Ansel Adams Documentary
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWxmv4iT3TI

Ted.com: Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius
http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

Ted.com: J.J. Abrams: The mystery box
http://www.ted.com/talks/j_j_abrams_mystery_box.html

Ben Shapiro – Gregory Crewdson Brief Encounters
This movie is on Netflix currently


Creative Photographers on Flickr

Aaron Nace - http://www.flickr.com/photos/aknacer/
Benjamin Von Wong - http://www.flickr.com/photos/iintrigue/
Emily Soto - http://www.flickr.com/photos/emsoto/
Kirsty Mitchell - http://www.flickr.com/photos/kirsty841/
Marco Villani - http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcovillani/
Eric Curry - http://www.flickr.com/photos/43349201@N04/
Kim Carrier - http://www.flickr.com/photos/23242298@N05/
Rosie Hardy - http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosie_hardy/
Elena Kalis - http://www.flickr.com/photos/sugarock/
LaraJade - http://www.flickr.com/photos/larajade/
anka zhuravleva - http://www.flickr.com/photos/anka_zhuravleva/
An Le - jackbritboy - http://www.flickr.com/photos/alvdesign/
Benjamin Bjorn -  http://www.flickr.com/photos/benbjorn/
Hannu Huhtamo - http://www.flickr.com/photos/hhuhtamo/
Joel Grimes- http://www.flickr.com/photos/joelgrimesphotography/
Ben Heine - http://www.flickr.com/photos/benheine/
Chris Hutchison - Dark Stars Photography - http://www.flickr.com/photos/darkstarsphoto/
Norbert - Noro8 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/noro8/
Whendell S - http://www.flickr.com/photos/whendelsouz/ 
Crystal - http://www.flickr.com/photos/crystal-/
Brad Wagner - http://www.flickr.com/photos/iambradical/
Eve North - http://www.flickr.com/photos/evenorth/
David Talley - http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidtalley/
Alexstoddard - http://www.flickr.com/photos/alex-stoddard/

Creative Groups on Flickr
Light Junkies - http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightjunkies/
.:Utterly Surreal:.  - http://www.flickr.com/groups/utterlysurreal/
dream or reality? - http://www.flickr.com/groups/dream-or-reality/
Anime Cosplay Photo Magic - http://www.flickr.com/groups/undyingmagiccosplay/
Dramatic Portraits - http://www.flickr.com/groups/dramatic-portraits/
d r e a m s c a p e s - http://www.flickr.com/groups/dreamscapes/

I hope you find some inspiration in all of this and have a wonderfully creative start to 2014!

Cheers,
- Jesse

Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Best Photos from 2013

2013 was a fantastic year for photography, so many diverse projects and wonderful opportunities for me.
I had a lot of fun working with medium format film seriously for the first time as well learning a whole lot more about creative lighting.

 Here are my absolute favorite images from the year and a little back-story for each.

























Number: 1
Name: "Vegas Baby"
Why: The pure artistry of it
The Story:  The short version: body-paint artist Kyle Vest, model Christie Matheis and I came up with a very unique vision, an avatar of Las Vegas. Shot in only 12ft of space using only auxiliary lights as the main strobe was out of commission, we created something quite unique and very artistic.

The full story including a short behind the scenes video here "Vegas Baby"

I have a large canvas version of "Vegas Baby" in my office and it looks just like a painting, it's very inspirational.



Number: 2
Name: Black tie affair
Why: The exclusivity of it
The story: Two AMG SLS's in a private airport hanger, how can that not lead to a great story and great photos?

This particular shot was done through a door frame as I set up a second half-day of shooting the SLS coupe and roadster with the exclusive (and at the time not publicly seen) MEC Design tuner packages.

This is one of the first large scale automotive shoots that I incorporated the use of medium format film and the results were stunning. The IMAX sized frame captured a heavenly depth of field effects and wonderful dynamic range.

The full behind the scenes story can be found here: http://www.savagelandpictures.com/2013/02/the-mec-design-automotive-photoshoot.html




Number: 3
Name: Pagani Huayra
Why: Reversing the rules
The Story: While shooting the Orlando Festival of Speed I opted to put my Canon 6D up on a platform above an admiring crowd. The center of attention was the $1.7 Million Pagani Huayra.

Typically when I compose shots I try to create a focal point using depth, light and or color. In most cases I make the subject the most colorful element in the shot but in this case the subject was black with wonderful colors all around; I decided to go with the flow and reduced the saturation of the automobile to immerse it in a circle of color.

The shot was pulled off using the remote WiFi shooting ability of the Canon 6D, the single feature that has completely won me over to this camera.  I remember looking at my cell phone as the photo popped up and the person next to me saying "Oh my gosh did you just shoot that with your cell phone?!" my response "Well sort of."



Number: 4
Name: Red Bull GT3 - shot 6
Why: Taking complete control of mid-day sun.
The Story: Of course this Lotus with an amazing history of being designed and raced by Adrien Newey is enough (full story on that here http://www.savagelandpictures.com/2013/11/the-red-bull-racing-exige-gt3.html) however on the technical side - this shot (and the series with it) took a lot of ideas I have had about light-painting and strobe photography and mashed them together.

Early in the year I had read Eric Curry's book "Painting with Light: Lighting & Photoshop Techniques for Photographers" that really opened my mind to painting specific details with light one shot at a time and layering them together. This shot was done with a 900 watt powered strobe allowing me to achieve very controlled light under what normally would have been considered harsh mid-day sunlight.  Using a small dolly with the lighting rig, I was able to rotate around the car getting all the details I would need. After a little masking and layering in post the shot that I was ultimately after came to life.


Number: 5
Name: A dramatic entrance
Why: The inspiration
The Story:  There is this photo by Larry Chen of drift champ Mad Mike that I saw this while working some heavy hours in the video game business. I swore that when I got a free weekend that I was going to find a way to try to get a shot that captured that kind of intensity. Considering that Larry Chen is perhaps one of the absolute best automotive photographers in the business this was going to be no small challenge.

W-Drift America had made a stop in Orlando during the month of May. I found a way to make a window in my schedule to shoot the event.  I shot all afternoon getting pretty good shots from different positions along the race wall but none that grabbed me the way Larry's photo had; suddenly an unknown driver blasted past the grandstands in a Nissan Silvia, I saw the moment I was after and took the shot. The single frame captured all that I was after, looking close you can see the intensity of the drivers concentration, the heat of the tires as they melted away below the car and the beautiful blur of the trees that sold the speed factor; together it was all that I was after.

I still think Larry's photo is a work of art but I am grateful for the inspiration.



Number: 6
Name: Lair of the Supercars
Why: A great shot under pressure.
The Story: Considering the the caliber of automobiles in this shot it is an obvious choice. With over $3 million dollars in front of the lens it was a dream opportunity, however the challenge was to light the room and shoot this on medium format film in 15 minutes. Needless to say I am grateful for having all my equipment in order for a fast set up, I was able to shoot this and a few other shots from this extraordinary collection and walk away with some truly impressive images.





Number: 7
Name: 1965 Lamborghini 350 GT Back
Why: The perception of another era
The Story:  Shot at 6:30 am in the morning outside a historic home in central Florida for RM Auctions, the elegant lines of the Lamborghini 350GT and the beautiful architecture behind it transports the viewer back a half century to a quaint village in Italy. The soft morning light was accented by a high powered strobe through a massive beauty dish to bring out all the subtle details in the automobile, most notably the wire wheels.



Number: 8
Name: Awakened
Why: Collaborative work
The Story:  Flickr photographer Jason Sha'ul and I worked together on this series Ferrari 458 of photos. The entire project was based in experiments in light painting. Shot on a golf course in the middle of the night, Jason and I used a set of inexpensive video lights attached to monopods to light up the night.  We both set up our cameras in different spaces and made the light-paint dash after the camera timers were set. Having two people light paint in tandem can really make shots exciting.  I know most photographers are super secretive about their work and techniques but let photos like these exist to say, working with other photographers can yield amazing shots and honestly even with us both in the same environment our shots came out pretty different as no two people see or photograph the world the same way.



Number: 9
Name:  Alyx Vance, Half Life 3
Why: Bringing the virtual world to life
The Story: Many photographers who have a significant other get asked to do photoshoots of them for Facebook or the like. I have done several for my better half here but this time out I wanted to try something a little different.

Most know that I also work in the video game industry and in doing so am a huge video game fan. Half-Life 2 was one of my top 5 favorite games and anyone who has played it knows both Alyx Vance and the Gravity Gun are synonymous with the game.  It took me a month to build the Gravity Gun from scratch including all the wiring for it. Alyx's clothing was picked out based on some concept art I had seen for Half-Life 3.  I finally had the ingredients for a cool Cosplay shoot but I opted to take it a notch higher by shooting the series on 220 medium format film in an industrial park, I really thought this shot fit the nature of the Half-life series...a lot of work but well worth it.




Number: 10
Name:  The Tron Lightcycle and The Batman Tumbler
Why: Oh come on, Batman and Tron together at last!
The Story:  While shooting the grounds of the Festival of Speed before the main event I heard the Tumbler roll in. When I looked over the hill and saw it there I was in near disbelief, so much so that I abandoned the shot I was attempting on a Lamborghini. As I waited for another photographer to finish his set, the Tron Lightcycle shows up. My friend Jason and I plotted out what would be a great set of shots and when the opportunity presented itself we captured this still with a tandem light-paint.  It is a great scene of two very iconic vehicles. As the shot popped up on my lcd screen the owners were in awe.

___________________________

So what are my intentions for 2014? Well to be honest I really hope to move on artistically to shots that tell a story. I have been very interested in the work of Gregory Crewdson as his images are visually stunning and have so much depth. I am looking deeply into the concept of telling stories about the human/automotive relationship...staying true to what I am passionate about but venturing off into something that is more emotionally dramatic.

Wish me luck and as always thanks for reading. Have a great new year.

- Jesse

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The ETV

The ETV by Savage Land Pictures
The ETV, a photo by Savage Land Pictures on Flickr.

Yes it's a real car, created by "The Car Factory" here in Florida, the ETV (Extra Terrestrial Vehicle) can be purchased through kitcarmike.com/

I shot this the night before the Orlando Festival of Speed.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2 Million Views on Flickr

2 Million Views by Savage Land Pictures
2 Million Views, a photo by Savage Land Pictures on Flickr.

I caught wind of my stats on the rise a little while back and about fell out of my seat today when I saw this number….two million views. I know in this day and age many people have achieved this or a higher level of exposure on You Tube or the like when a project goes viral but when I contemplate this is me and how many people this really is it’s simply overwhelming and humbling.

As an artist all one can really hope for is that the work that we create is seen and it takes the viewer away, even for a moment. Whatever emotion the work coveys in some way it is a reflection of the person who created it…perhaps their dreams, fears, or simply an interpreted perspective.

I am grateful to all those who have checked out my work over the years and chimed in now and then. I am thankful for all the other photographers who have inspired my work as I have progressed and the many I have exchanged ideas with online. I am also very grateful that I live in a day and age that all of this is even possible in the first place.

The life of an artist is often isolated as we work in solitude behind the faint glow of a computer screen for hours on end; you never know if that thing you have worked so hard on will be considered good work. Creativity can be an endless roller-coaster of self-doubt and utter elation….catching a muse is a tantalizing hunt. When the work is done it’s a big moment to let the world see it, clicking “Upload” can be a suspenseful leap of faith.

It’s hard to contemplate that this work travels down a wire and may show up on another screen thousands of miles away… and another screen and another. That some image I created may bring joy to someone who may really need it, show someone something in the world they have never seen or inspire someone I may never meet to achieve their own artistic goals. As photographers we are nearly oblivious to the reactions given to what we put up except for comments and stats that are like flickers of light in the vast abyss of the internet….perhaps that is how “Flickr” got its name.

Cheers to all of my fellow photographers out there and thank you for the support.

-Jesse