I’d been trying to get to shoot with Rachelle for quite a while and dates never seemed to gel.
Eventually, they did, and we spent a happy 4 hours wondering around West Lothian getting soaking wet as the liquid version of sunshine was pouring from the skies.
Undeterred, Rachelle cracked on with it, worked her socks off to give me some great images.
Simon and I decided that we would travel North for a change.
A casting was produced, and from the respondents, the wonderful Kat Folan was chosen.
This was primarily a research and testing mission, and as Simon and I have very little knowledge of “The North”, Kat was our guide.
Our favourite spot was the fantastic Slains Castle, somewhere north of Aberdeen.
And no one called us to the land
And no one knows the where’s or why’s.
Something stirs and something tries
Starts to climb toward the light.
Simon came round last night and on the spur of the moment, we went up to the old Fever Hospital at Thornton. We’d previously visited the site in May and while there discussed the shoot potential of the site.
It’s popularity as a location seems to be growing amongst photographers in this neck of the woods, even with people bringing their own props – and leaving them there – as well as models.
Last nights visit was a spur of the moment thing, and after wading through soaking wet nettles, grass and thistles (rain seems to be a predominant feature of us visiting this site as it was tipping it down last time too) we went for a wander around in the fast fading light
Simon did his bit, go his shot, and then I did my thing. We always try to do different things when out together, with varying degrees of success, and sometimes we do use bits of each others setups. In this case, the prop was already there (it wasn’t there in May).
Messing around with long exposures at the local pond.
The weir is in full flow with both flood routes active beside the 3 main sluices, leading to a horse-shoe shape of white water.
These shots were taken in the evening. When I returned in the morning with the dog, the weir was back to it’s normal trickle
I cant help revisiting this shoot with Chrissy last year.
Every shoot with Chrissy is an enjoyable and productive experience.
There’s still plenty more to give from this shoot, and I’m slowly working my way through it.
This is also the first time I’ve used my old, re-vamped desktop to edit (and the first time I’ve been able to use Silver Efex as it won’t run on my laptop. Must need RAM on then graphics card or something); more than happy with the hardware, jury is out on the software.
Simon and I went out to a local woods in the dark to mess around a bit.
OK, let me re-phrase that in a slightly less innuendo kinda way.
Simon and I grabbed our camera kit and went off in to a local woods for a bit of night-time experimentation using a couple of lighting rigs I had lovingly fashioned out of bits and bobs and loads of sticky tape (I got mine before the rush to B&Q following the release of a certain film).
There was plenty of atmospherics about – low grey cloud reflecting the street lights and a mist / fog that was thick enough to be a pain, but not thick enough to be useful – with it being a really moist night.
We parked up – for once not in the local dogging hotspot -, grabbed our kit and off we jolly well went.
After a bit of the normal fannying about the photographers do in the dark we eventually came upon a plan, and set forth realising the dream.
This is my final image, and Simon’s image can be found by clicking here
How the Superlight Highway was made
The Superlight Highway is a composite image of 5 different shots taken with the camera on a tripod and not moved during each shot.
Composite images tend to work better if you have an idea in mind – this means that all the component parts will drop together in the frame without any major issues.
Simon and I were essentially shooting the same shot, but if you look at Simon’s you’ll see he has a different image, caused by locating his camera in a different place to mine. This means that we can share each others lighting ideas and methodologies, but we get different images.
So, I’ve shot my images, banged them in to Lightroom (keyworded them as I’m getting better at using LR) now what?
I’m not the worlds best post-processor, far from it, and there are many different ways to do the same thing – and what I like someone else may not. I’m not telling you what you should do; I’m saying what I did.
I opened the base layer in Photoshop as a smart object:
The I opened the smart object in Adobe Camera RAW
and messed around a bit with the colour sliders as I didn’t want all the same colours
Then I opened the middle section in to Photoshop, which I left in the original blue colour
This was then Select All > Copy and Pasted as new layer above the Base layer
I then messed around with the blending options until I found the one I liked the best
I mucked around with the final layer to get the colour that I wanted,
and then added that as a layer above the other two, and once again, mucked around with the blending options until I found the one I wanted.
That just left me with 4 bars of colour, and a black(ish) background with loads of light bleed.
So … say hello to Halogen …
This was added to the layers and the blend mode changed … again to one that I liked
I was then left with an image that was a bit too light, so introducing …. CREE LED …
Again, this was added to the top of the stack and the blending mode played with a bit.
I played around with the opacity of both the Halogen and CREE LED layers after the blending modes to try to get the right balance between the two colours of light and the shadows …
The finished Photoshop stack looks like this:
You can see that a layer mask has been added to the Dark Blue layer … this was because there is a lot of light bleed in the dark blue, which I believe is due to the moisture in the air. I just tided it up a bit by painting the layer below through.
I also added a Brightness Contrast layer, and upped the contrast a touch.
Compositing an image doesn’t need to be hard work – there is very little brush work here, it’s all just messing around with blending modes and opacities.
It’s been cold, wet, windy and snowy. In fact, the weather has been against me as every time the skies been clear, I’ve gone out to try to re-take star trails over Dedridge Pond, and within 10 mins of setting up, the clouds have came and hidden every thing, so I’ve given up and gone home.
I set out to take some long exposures of the weir at the pond and I’d just shot this image
and out came the snow Snow’s a bit of an understatement. Blizzard, really.
So I retreated under the bridge to keep the kit dry … and to carry on shooting
and from a slightly different angle
So I went out one night around the pond in the snow. It was clear – and bloody cold – and after I set up, out came the clouds and the clear skies vanished, along with the stars, leaving a flat, boring orange sky.