I recently got to shoot the wonderful Briana here in Atlanta and we had such good timing, too. Fall had settled in nicely and the colors were just spectacular. We roamed around the trails at Soap Creek and WOW! I am so in love with these images!
Let me tell you a story of how I decided to shoot bubbles outside with wind. I did manage to freeze.
The day before the bro (^above) and I went to buy bubbles, bubble machines, and to find a wall plain enough that will allow me to photoshop with ease.
When we went out to shoot it, we were so ready, all excited for this shoot. I set up the two bubble machines on the right of him and had him stand in the frame of my camera that was on a tripod about 10 feet away. I use a tripod so there would be little movement later and the shots can blend seamlessly together but that wasn’t really needed in the end for this shot and I’ll tell you more later.
So I start the machines and the bubbles go and then pop almost instantaneously. Why? Because there’s wind. I am stubborn though and instead of giving up I shoot and shoot and shoot hoping to catch some bastards in my shot. Did it work? In the end, yes. I would have wanted more of the little ones up higher but that didn’t happen.
After getting quite a lot shot I decided to move him out of frame and shoot some with the same focus as if he was there. That way I could get his help. I had one of those old school bubble wands, the big kind, and had him blow while I shot. Because up until then I let the wind blow some as I held the wand with mu right hand and shot with my left. It was entertaining to watch, I’m sure.
Then we set up the two machines on the ladder near the camera and hot some closer to the lens. Then I took a whole lot more photos alternating the focus so some closer to the camera would be in focus as opposed to the ones that were closer to the wall.
I got a lot of shots. I pulled all the ones that had bubbles into a folder as jpgs and started photoshopping.
I chose the base image where my brother was as I liked him, the umbrella wasn’t hiding too much and his hand wasn’t in his pocket looking awkward but warm.
I copied bubbles out of all the other images and pasted them onto the base image and eventually it looked like this.
Yes, crazy looking I know. That is about 50 layers of bubbles. I must say it wasn’t as bad as I imagined it would be to photoshop all these bubbles in. In retrospect I would have kept the wall plain but maybe darker so the bubbles would stand out more.
So after masking each layer and clearing out the data from around the bubbles themselves I got this.
After some tinkering in post, color adjusting and highlighting the highlights of the bubbles, I got this.
I gotta say, despite freezing my trigger finger off I am mighty happy with the outcome. I hope you all like it too. Let me know if you have questions! And if you try this, please let me know since I’d love to see your image!
A few photographers lately I’ve seen talk about their growth as a photographer. Looking back on past work and comparing it to current work.
I think whether you’re a writer, an engineer, an artist or whatnot, it’s a good to make a point once in a while to reflect on how you’ve grown.
Lately I’ve been struggling with the notion that I am an artist. Sure I went to school with a fine art program, sure I’ll have a bachelor in Fine Arts, sure my stuff is pretty but is that enough? As a student of the arts I was always told that your art has to have a message, you have to tell people something. Yet, whether or not they see that is another story.
And then I got to thinking if that has to always be the case. Writers don’t set out to tell their story with a lesson and message in mind, so why should I? Is it necessary? Sure, I have a concept and idea when I go out shooting but what if what you see in my work isn’t what I see?
It doesn’t matter, I realized. As long as you love it you are in control of your work. As long as you have fun you and creating, who’s to say it’s not art. As long as you’re telling your story, it’s art.
So I went through past work and decided to do a little compare and contrast. Remind myself that I have grown, and hopefully gotten better.
Some of these are a little embarrassing to show, but hell, we all started somewhere, right?
A recent book cover for Erin Downing’s None of the Regular Rules:
But to sit in the valley, to gaze up at their majesty.
Each path, your journey, guided by the greeting of the mountains.
They soar so high to dance in clouds. They bow a welcome, beckoning.
Both sky and river meet as only they know how.
As they caress down mountainsides to worship with the mornin’ dew.
Seven years is a long time not to see someone. To be away from your homeland for seven years one would think that so much would have changed and yet I find myself back exactly where I left off when I was here last time, after my high school graduation.
On occasion I look and see that yes, my cousin isn’t 2 years old anymore but is a fun, lively school girl. I notice that my aunt’s still the kind sweet soul she always was but with a tad more gray hair and a certain sadness that has now crept in the corners of her eyes. My grandma, still sturdy and strong, has eyes that are cloudier than they used to be.
But above all else, I notice how my family in Bulgaria is so resilient, so unmoving, so full of life. There’s a simplicity to everything they do and it has been a joy to witness and to be reminded that there’s happiness in the smaller things of life.
I had the great pleasure of working with Noelle (my fabulous hair stylist) and Elle from Aura Hair & Makeup who did the hair & makeup for my shoot. My wonderful model Joyce was so amazing and I cannot wait to show you our pictures soon. For now, here’s one to hold you over until my full post.