Photoshop World is less than a month away now! I’m so excited, twice a year the greatest gathering of instructors and students come together for three days of just pure fun. It’s education at its finest. You get to hear from the industry leaders on the latest technology, newest toys and sharpest techniques. What more could you ask for? If you don’t have this on your bucket list this year then put it on it! If you are going then I will see you in Atlanta.
One of the really cool aspects of the Precon this past Tuesday was the re-in-actors that came in and posed for in front of the planes. These guys actually do this as a hobby between there regular jobs. They go around to different events and try and bring back the look and feel of the era. They really are good WWII reinactors. At one point they were laying underneath the wing of the C-47 which was a common thing to do at air force bases. Ground crews would use the shade produced by the planes wing to cool off. As you can see, in the hot Florida sun, these guys had the same idea.
Yet again Precon didn’t disappoint! It was a marvelous day over at Fantasy of Flight with some truly spectacular aircraft. We weren’t sure what was going to be pulled out this time and to our great surprise, and enjoyment, they had about a dozen different aircraft out. This time it was a regular smorgasbord of rare planes. including a C-47, P-51C, L1, B-26 and many others. This particular one is a favorite of mine and is one that i have been wanting to photograph ever since I first saw it.
This is a Sikorsky S-39. It is the only flying example and one of the only surviving examples of this type of aircraft outside of museums. The “Spirit of Igor” is named after the Johnsons and Igor Sikorsky. This plane took nearly 40 years to complete the restoration. It is only one of several pieces of aviation history preserved in Kermit Weeks’s collection.
After months of waiting and preparing it’s time for Photoshop World! Having just flown in last night I am totally pumped to be back in Orlando for PSW. Right now there is no better way to start off the week then with the Precon. Every event I have been too in the past has had great Precons. Each one is different and each one yields different results. I truly cannot wait to see what happens at today’s Precon Photo Safari.
It’s Halloween! some may have celebrated this past weekend seeing how Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year but nevertheless it is today! I hope everyone has their costume ready I have no doubt that my good friend Russel Brown does. After all he seems to be the costume master. As I was trying to figure out what to blog for Halloween this year I realized that I already had a bunch of fun and scary files from this past years Photoshop World. Russel did a great portrait session as Dr. Frankenstein and his Monster for Westcott. It was electrifying.
I never have been real big with working with models as subjects but ever since I started in Aviation the need arose to get better. It’s a common thread in photography to evolve or parish, thus is the same with life. At Bonnie Springs we had four great models, two cowboys and two saloon girls. The Marshall had his town well under control.
Melissa was one of our best models at the shoot. In my mind the saloon girls both had a unique side to them as far as where their background came from. Melissa seemed more like the east coast girl that just came out west, while Charmane (below) had already been out west for some time and had a harder life. With Melissa’s fair tone soft light was key. Here it was a diffuser on top to block out the hot spots from the sun and a gold trigrip below bouncing light back in.
Charmane was a lot simpler to light. She was on a covered porch that acted as our diffuser. With no hard light behind her the background faded away. The only light source that was desired was a simple gold reflector trigrip bouncing more light into here face and hair. The big trick with each of these two was feathering the light on them instead of full beam from the trigrip. It takes a little practice and is far easier with two people then just one.
The Marshall was the exact opposite of the saloon girls. Edgy, gritty and rough was exactly the looked needed to make the marshal seem like he has seen it all. Getting the desired affect here was real easy, a gold reflector on this backlit subject made him pop out and the background stay dark. All really simple tricks that can yield to some nice results. It’s fun to play with these things.
Every time I go out shooting it is a different experience, usually because every time I go out either I get the shot that I wasn’t thinking I was going to get or something else comes up completely that i was predicting. It’s one of the best parts and the most frustrating parts of being a photographer. Well for the last couple of Photoshop Worlds I have been too I have had the great honor of assisting at the Precon Photo Safari with Moose Peterson and Joe McNally.
What sets this one apart from all the rest is each one is different from the last. It’s whatever wherever we can find. A year and a half ago in Orlando it was PBY’s, Trimotor’s, Mustangs and Jets at Fantasy of Flight and Stallion 51. This past March it was a Civil War Reenactment group at a plantation outside of DC.
What will today’s Precon be? What will these crazy guys come up with next? I don’t know but I can’t wait to find out and share it with everyone. Stay tuned.
That’s right it’s drawing ever so near. Only a few more days and the start of Photoshop World Vegas will begin. I am honestly so excited I can hardly stand working today. Always more of those little things to get done but man this weekend is going to fly by and then it will be time for fun and learning. Truly the best part of Photoshop World is the amount of info streaming into your head. Afterwards you need a vacation!
This is from the Precon Real Live Concert Photography, which is a ton of fun. It’s hosted by two of my good friends Alan Hess and Scott Diussa.
One of the really cool things about this Photoshop World was that, our hotel was only a few blocks away from the National Mall. Which meant that whenever there was some down time anyone could walk over or take a cab real inexpensively to go see the monuments, museums, or memorials. On the last night of the event, I went out with the folks and a couple of good friends and we went over to the Lincoln Memorial to do some night shooting. Now the last time I was some this memorial I was kid and it was big then. Now… it still seems big.
Amazingly enough the crowds, which are definitely smaller at night and thus even more in the early morning, are still quite large at 10:00pm. It was well worth the trip over to see this great place. It still amazes me how it was built so long ago and still remains. The photography wasn’t bad either.
Black and White wasn’t the only thing going for these guys, the light which wasn’t the greatest when we first got there, was getting better and helped create a lot of nice shadows. Shadows can be a very powerful aspect when included in the composition. For a lot of those shots when the light was harsh the shadows were great to have. The reenactor below, who couldn’t keep a straight face if her life depended on it, posed beautifully on the staircase where the shadows actually add to her surrounding.
Then of course you have this General who was probably the quietest out of all the reenactors but made a very convinsing somber man. It seemed like the only places we had him were besides buildings, but that’s okay his shadow did wonders.
As you can see the background made everything with these guys and the buildings on the Sully Plantation were just killer. The General was a great sport and stood here in front of this particular buildings for a good 20 minutes before he finally walked away. In case any of you were wondering none of this was flash everything was just natural light.
Now in case anyone was wondering why i choose to use a 70-200 for these shots instead of something like a 50 f/1.4, it’s for two reasons. The first and most important, when working with people you haven’t worked with before and you’re in a big group, getting physically close to them with a camera can be very uncomfortable for that person. The 70-200 gives enough range that I don’t have to be close. The second reason just has to do with courtesy, since there was 60 of us there, if everyone got up close then there would always be someone in the shot. It’s just more polite and easier to move around this way.