My weekend in the Civil War

A few weekends ago I was helping out on a video shoot that would play at the upcoming American Advertising Federation D.C. chapter’s Addys Awards gala. No spoilers here, but the video tells the story of one brave lady’s journey through a Civil War reenactment. During some down time I had the opportunity to make some images of the re-enactors. I was incredibly impressed with their attention to detail, ability to take direction and do the little things to make the scene better, and their overall joy with what they were doing. If you ever find yourself with the need for Civil War or just period actors, talk to Guy over at Old Timey Casting.

Shooting Notes: The conditions on shoot were all over the place. We started with snow on the ground and uniform cloud cover. Over the course of the day, the snow melted, the sun came and went (and came and went some more), and the wind picked up. The only consistent element was that it was chilly! All images were made with either a Canon 5Dmk3 or 5Dmk4, and the Sigma 35mm ART, Canon 85 f1.4L IS, or the Canon 24-70 f2.8L. Some of the portraits benefited from a Profoto A1 shot through an umbrella. I had dreams of using the B1’s with a bigger modifier but the weather conditions were uncertain enough that I didn’t want to risk it without an assistant. All of these images were imported into CaptureOne Pro and “mussed up” in Nik Analog Efex Pro 2. If any of these make it to my portfolio they will likely get further worked in Photoshop.

Michael Douglas for Science News

No, not that Michael Douglas. 

Here are some outtakes and "sketch" images (see below) for the last of a three part shoot I did for Science News earlier this spring. Michael Douglas, who was adopted, has a genetic disease called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. As a result of this, his blood vessels don't constrict properly and he has had a constant migraine for over years. Using three different testing companies and some sleuthing, he found his birth family in southern Maryland, and was able to learn more about his family's medical history. We shot these images on a perfectly cloudy day on Solomon's Island.

I like to "sketch" images from shoots. These are basically just quick stylistic treatments that aren't necessarily how I imagine they'll be used by the client, but nevertheless provide a good way to explore different "feels". Increasingly, I am previsioning shoots with different post production styles in mind. (Look at me getting all artsy!)

Most often for these sketches I'll use Analog Efex Pro 2 by Nik software (recently purchased by DxO). I rarely save recipes because I want to avoid being in a rut, utilizing the same "tricks" time after time. Having said that, I do have a few basic recipes that I start with as a base and I will individually salt to taste each image afterwards.

Big thanks to assistant Steven Wesley for humoring me, arriving 2 hours early to scout the location and listen to me mutter, "it's gonna rain any second now..." Also big thanks to Erin Otwell at Science News for the assignment and for being so open to creative interpretations on this and the first two parts of the assignment.

Tech specs, because people ask: All of the portrait images were made with a Canon 5Dmk4 with the amazing Canon 85mm f1.4 IS L series lens, EXCEPT for the first image, which was made with Sigma's 35mm 1.4 ART lens. Both of these lenses are really really pretty in their own way. Lighting was via a Profoto B1 and their collapsible 22" beauty dish. The latter of which, while it feels flimsy, is a pretty nice little modifier. All images put through CaptureOne Pro and processed in Nik Analog efex Pro 2. I don't think any of these ever hit Photoshop.