Unlikely Opportunities

 

Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary

 

When an opportunity presents itself are you ready for the unexpected?  Not all opportunities are fully realized immediately, but leaving yourself open to the possibilities may prove to be beneficial more often then not.

  

About a year ago I answered a call from Concentrek Group, an advertising agency and a very good client of mine,  hesitantly asking me if I might be interested in shooting some images pro-bono.  My first reaction was “What d’ya have?”  When he said  the Glass City Rollers, a Toledo based flat track roller derby league, a hundred ideas burst into my head all at once.
 

We met a week later to discuss the team and the direction of the photo shoot.  One of the first things that struck me was that each team member had a unique name and a rather interesting and creative bio–like Satan’s Little Helper, No-Holds Barbie and Moxie Morbid.  I suggested interpreting each team member’s alter-ego to its extreme. 
 

Now the fun began, since I had to locate an appropriate location to shoot all 16 team members.  We decided on an old abandoned factory in Ohio.  The grounds were overgrown with brush, piles of scrap metal were heaped everywhere, windows were broken out of buildings and the walls were decaying—a perfect setting to bring these characters to life.  Since we were going to shoot in an abandoned factory and the last thing I wanted was to have 26 people arrested, I made sure to get approval to be on the property the day of the shoot.  With all the legalities out of the way we were clear to begin the shoot.
 
The day of the shoot, we had several make-up and hair stylists as well as a number of assistants to handle the high volume of shots to be done in a very short amount of time.  The girls did exactly what I had hoped for and embraced their persona's fully in order to get the perfect shot.   No matter what I asked of them, they were great and willing to give it their all.   Eight hours later, the shoot was complete but now the real work began post-production.
 

I wanted to enhance the edginess of each character leaning towards a more hyper-realistic effect.  This process in total took more than 100 hours to complete.  I will be highlighting some of the color channel techniques I used in the final images in my PS Pointers video tutorial starting on November 5.
 

This project took many days to prep, arrange, shoot and complete but the experience and final images were well worth every minute.  Sometimes as creatives we need the opportunity to extend our creative muscle every now and then and to see where the opportunity will lead us.  This project gave me the chance to create some unique images for my portfolio with the cooperation and energy of a lot of people that otherwise would have been extremely difficult for me to orchestrate on my own.  As a result, I have won a number of awards for this series which is great for the ego and several jobs from new agencies that saw and liked my work which is great for the pocketbook–a win-win situation! 

Sometimes its worth taking the time to explore the possibilities of projects that are placed in front of you, you never know where it may lead.  If you accept the challenge, never compromise your work whether or not you're compensated.  Remember your work should represent you so treat it with the same respect.  Donating your time and talents may also have rewards that no monetary value can compare, so be prepared to reap the benefits when you least expect it.



"It is those who can spot opportunities who are truly exceptional."  anonymous

 

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Eric Eggly Photography

Lighting Continuity: The Breakdown

 

I recently had the opportunity to work on a new self-promo which is part of a larger series.  The dynamic talent I photographed for this particular shot is Edwin “Skip” Bunton, personal trainer and owner of Body Specs gym in Ann Arbor, MI.  It’s really great when you find talent like Skip that is so willing to give everything in order to capture that perfect shot. 


The concept actually evolved from Skip’s “Train Different” branding strategy.  I feel the shot captures the essence in a dramatically powerful and illustrative way. Working on a concept that has multiple images requires particular attention to make sure the lighting is harmonious and congruent  for the final image to be successful. 

The first step for this image was scouting the cityscape background.  We found a perfect location in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan with tall buildings and enough available lighting for a 3:30am shoot; a perfect time when the streets are empty.  The plan was to use a HDR technique so I shot 7 exposures on each perspective.

 

The next step was to photograph Skip in his gym.  I had planned on two hours which was just enough time.  I matched perspective (height of camera/lens) to the cityscape and determined the correct lighting to achieve the effect I was after.  I used the FJ Westcott 7’ Octobank as a front fill along with the ProFoto Acute Ringlite as my main light source.  I also used 2 large Westcott strip lights with front panel only and the  internal diffusion removed for a more direct highlight on either side of Skip.  Two lights were used on the back wall to light the chains.  I really have to commend Skip for all his hard work in pulling the chains, they were heavy and I had him pulling countless times.

Shooting the vehicles was a little harder than I originally thought or had planned on since most scrapyards start stripping cars as soon as they are on-site. I don’t give up easily and luck was on my side when I spotted two vehicles that worked perfectly other than requiring them to be tilted slightly.   I had to photograph the tires separately.  The vehicles were shot with two Nikon Speedlights on either side of the vehicles to add a little street light feel and the fill was diffused daylight. 

The image of Skip and the vehicles were partially outlined with PS CS5 and the rest with OnOne MaskPro 4.1 to separate out the backgrounds.  Several FX were added to the various layers, some of which I’ll be discussing in more detail in PS Pointers.


Hope you enjoy.

 

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Welcome!

 

Welcome to my blog…a place I will share some of my experiences, occasionally my challenges but mostly my take on this dynamic and ever changing world of commercial photography.

 

Some of what to expect starting in November 2010

 

PS Pointers will highlight PhotoShop techniques and shortcuts the first Friday of every month.  Look for Tech Tuesday where I will discuss equipment I use from cameras to software (the 3rd Tues of the month).   Occasionally, I will talk about whats going on in the business and showcase some of my latest work.

 

If you would like to discuss something specific let me know, I'll do my best to get to it.

 

Here’s to a great journey…
Eric