Behind the Scenes with The Hero of Time

In case you missed it, the best Legend of Zelda game ever (The Breath of The Wild) came out a year ago, today. Every few years the kingdom of Hyrule, once again, finds itself in a perilous fight against the dark forces of Ganon (the main antagonist in the series). The fate of the land rests squarely on the shoulders of our intrepid adventurer and hero, Link.

Something’s Not Quite Right

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There have been studies suggesting that people with symmetrical faces are generally perceived to be more attractive than those without. It’s also commonly accepted that most people have some form or another of asymmetry. Either an ear or an eye is lower on one side, or perhaps you’re prone to the “crooked smile” and have a few extra wrinkles on that side.

Crowd-Sourced Creation Fodder.

There’s only so much non-photo work I can do before I either have a boredom-related breakdown or start obsessively photographing whatever’s within reach. The problem with the latter option is that everything you look at daily just seems boring. It might not be, but it’s just so ordinary you don’t even thing about its value as the subject of a image.

That’s why I implemented a tactic from a few years back: Crowd sourcing anti-boredom assignments.

The first run of this was just after I graduated with my Associate’s Degree. I was still fresh enough that I didn’t have constant work, and I was also so used to assignments that it was a bit tricky to think of one-off images that didn’t involve a full-blown project. After pondering the situation, I asked the folks of the internet to suggest everyday items of which I could create unique images. The resulting images from those suggestions yielded 6 pictures that are still in my permanent portfolio, and 3 of the most popular stock images I’ve ever shot.

Well,  I’ve had a ton of supplementary work lately and I’ve been gettin’ the ol’ photo itch. So, I put out the request and the feedback was just lovely.

There were a few that I’d certainly like to try out (lava lamp, pocket watch, tea kettle…) but those will have to wait for next time. One of the pleasant side effects of the project was that it got me pondering the visual value of other common items. As it is, I’ve been making home-made sausage lately and realized those should also be included in the lineup. PB&J was easily the most time-consuming.

If you’re ever in a pickle and need a bit of inspiration, be sure to turn to the internet.  The folks of the interwebs are full of interesting ideas.

Here are some of my favorites – enjoy the shots!

– Jon

OH MAN!! I am pumped… like REALLY pumped.

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So, you see that big star-looking thing over there on the right, sticking out of the button that says “CLASSES?”   Well, I’ll betcha you’ve already figured out what’s going on.

I’M TEACHING COURSES!!

There are currently 6 courses being offered at 5 venues in the metro area.  The site is chock-full of all kinds of handy info, like course descriptions, info about all the venues, links to super-talented photographers, and lists of local and digital photo stores!

In the next few weeks, I’ll be adding…. well heck!  All this stuff is over THERE.  Go check it out.

And if you’re interested, join the mailing list and be the first in line for info on all the new developments!

– Jon

Just a Little Fun

Here’s a brief interlude to your day.

In my last post, I showed you a few of my shots from Chicago.  Well, while I was there, I sank my teeth into a project I’m working on.  See, a photographer by the name of Chris Clor has been a substantial inspiration for the past number of year, his creative ideas for imagery aside, a driving factor in his work revolves around stitching together pieces of a picture to create something that simply couldn’t exist in real life.  Now, I don’t have an intention of trying to replicate his work (I have my own style).  One process he uses, however, is simply a good idea regardless of who you are.  Whether he is working on a specific image or just out shooting, Chris continually ads to his collection of pictures that could be, at some later date, used in a larger project.

As it was described to me back in the day by one of my first photo teachers, I tend to have a “cinematic style.”  That being said, I began looking for settings that had a kind of movie-like-still look to them.  Almost as if you could see the main character holding a conversation or looking for clues to a mystery in such a dark ally.

So, while I was in Chicago, I scoped out some fairly movie-esque scenes that could fit a subject shot at a later date.

– Jon

Here’s the first shot from the Chicago backgrounds:

And here are the pieces:

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Big-Time Post Production

I’d like to follow up my post from a couple weeks ago regarding retouching and the general process of “Photoshopping.”  To be clear this is not really part 2 of that post series.  That will be on it’s way in a few days.  This is more so the other end of the argument.

While it’s the best possible choice to get things right in-camera, sometimes it’s just not an option.  By just not an option, I mean nowhere remotely close to an option.  A good example is advertisement photography.

You probably know that no product or service is ever the same as you see it in an ad.  EVER.  If you disagree, I’d like you to compare your Whopper you’ll be having for lunch with the one on the menu.  Sure – this is slightly different issue.  That burger never existed in the first place – it was made out of mashed potatoes and spackle before the picture was even taken.  Instead, let’s focus on something clearly different than the original picture.

You’ve probably seen this video:

That’s an issue that happens more than you’d think/more than you’d like to know/ALL THE TIME.

However, there is one reason to justify such an obscene level of post production – finances.  Sometimes it’s just impractical to fly a model to outer Mongolia.  If there’s a small budget, if time constraints are fundamentally impossible, or if the picture of the setting already exists – sometimes the picture can be stitched together later.  Now, I know what you (might) be saying: “Where’s the photographic skill?  isn’t that just going to breakdown to someone drawing on a computer until the final image looks ‘good enough’ ?”

Not really.

Sure -there’s a descent amount of isolating, some burning/dodging, and a handful of trial and error.  BUT…

The picture still HAS to be correct in camera.  In many ways, it has to be “more correct” than a normal picture.  It all comes down to my favorite part of photography:  LIGHT.

If the background was photographed outside at sunset and the person/object was shot in a black studio with on-board flash, the color, angle of light, depth of field, and separation will look completely wrong .  So many factors have to be considered, I feel this type of post production absolutely qualifies as “good photography.”

Of course, I’m always open to comments and varying opinions.

That said – here’s a small sampling of some “image combination” I started as a side project a number of months ago.  Let me know what you think!

– Jon

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