Comments welcomed and encouraged
Putting together an image that I think will capture the attention of the viewer, isn't always a simple process.
Sometimes it takes a great deal of thought. Even taking a few days of thought so I can allow my ideas to enter my brain, get churned up with other unrelated ideas, and then get set aside or dismissed.
I saw this hockey goalie helmet the other day and knew that I had to photograph it.
It's got that ominous appearance that requires a moment to take in. I wanted to light it in a way to express how I felt personally about the object. I knew it had to be backlit to show the general shape while leaving the centre of the helmet darker. In this way, the object would present as scary. Like walking down a street at night, passing an alleyway that is almost black with lack of street lighting. That sort of "I wonder what is lurking down there" appearance.
Before I photographed the helmet, I did some searching for smoke photographed against a black background. Finding a few images available freely on Creative Commons at Unsplash.com, I played with the smoke images until I found a pleasing arrangement. Then, time to shoot the hero.
The key was the back lighting. This set the mood for the image. I had to base all my additional lighting on that.
After shooting, I pulled the helmet images into software and worked with the smoke and helmet together.
Sometimes, this takes just a few moments. And others, it takes hours or days. This time it took the latter. About 3 hours from start to finish. The helmet was the only element I had to photograph. The helmet is the hero of the shot and the smoke is the supporting cast. Interesting is that I envisioned this as a horizontal image, but after establishing the look with the smoke and helmet combined, I knew that a vertical would be more suitable. As a horizontal, the image was clearly about the smoke. As a vertical, the image was decidedly about the helmet.
The image came together well. I'm totally satisfied and feel that all the effort was well justified.
Photographers rarely shoot a product "as is" unless they are shooting for an ecommerce production. Most of my images are photographed in parts and assembled to give an end product to suit a need. Most of it is real. Sometimes, it takes a lot of work to make it look "real".
Photo-Artist working a personal vision.
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