All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘diy’
Ernie Chang is one of my fans from Taipei, Taiwan. I stumbled upon his work after he sent me a message on my Facebook Fan Page. One of the pieces in particular that he had shot intrigued me and when I inquired about how it was done, I was blown away by its sheer simplicity.
Before reading away, I challenge you to take a guess on how it was done!
Long before I started photography, I was always a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy art. I remember hanging on DeviantArt all day, and never missing an issue of ImagineFX. I was especially fascinated with themes that dealt with paintings or virtual creations coming to life, so naturally came the desire to portray them. Never did it occur to me that I could use photography to tackle this theme because I assumed it would either lead to terrible cosplay, or cheesy photo-manipulation. I tried to learn painting and illustration but I just had no talent for it, eventually I moved on. I went on to study Industrial Design in University, and had photography as a hobby.
When I decided to take photography more seriously about two years ago, I started shooting tons of portraits, products, and fashion, and learned to appreciate the great masters such as Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, and Steven Meisel. It taught me a lot about lighting and fashion photography, but never quite suppressed the desire to create. So I started conceptualizing ideas what would integrate some of my inspirations to create something fresh.
I wanted to portray a virtual 3D body coming to real life under exposure to light. The first image I pictured in my head was a half-virtual, half-real person done in the same shot. It’s an analogy to a child being born. The light represents exposure to the outside world, resulting in the loss of purity and innocence. I planned it so that the viewer only sees the grid of a body in the first shot, which later reveals itself to be an imperfect nude figure.
The flash lighting was simple: one cheap flashgun coming from the right, and behind the subject. Where the light doesn’t reach, I am left with areas of black which I fill with dotted ambient light. The dots are just round label stickers
available at any stationery store which I spray-painted with a coat of glow-in-the-dark blue paint that you can purchase here
. The glowing stickers, aligned rigidly, create a grid-like effect when the lights are turned off, which was what I needed.
and the setup…
Finding a Model
The shoot required a fully nude, skinny, long-haired model. Since I was on a tight budget, I tried to find someone that would be interested in my project to shoot without any compensation. So on my Facebook fan page I half-jokingly posted: “Looking for someone to sacrifice their body for the sake of art,” and didn’t think much of it. But eventually my classmate picked it up and passed it on to her friend who contacted me to talk about it. It turns out that she was a fine arts student photographing a series of her own nude body as a graduation project. When I told her about my idea, she was quite happy to help out. Moral of the story: ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE!
Setting the Camera
Flash/strobe lighting is significantly brighter than the glowing stickers so to compensate for that, I exposed for the lowest flash intensity and dragged the shutter for an eight-second exposure to capture the glowing light. During this time, the model had to be completely still to avoid any motion blur. When I fired a first test shot, I forgot to change the white balance (left at 3000K), and it produced the exact blue tone I was looking for, no gels or post-production required! The whole set is shot using the Fujifilm X-E1
with XF 35mm f1.4
lens. With an ISO set to 400, and an aperture at F5.6, with a shutter speed of 8 seconds, I shot away:
I am quite pleased with how the results came out am now currently looking for more models to take this concept further. If you’re interested in getting involved, do send me a message on my fan page! I’m also quite curious to see what Von Wong’s going to do with my technique, as he’s promised to do something with it!
I think it doesn’t take that much to carry out an idea. Just keep it simple and use your resources effectively. The lack of gear or funding does not suffice as an excuse to be unproductive. With a little knowledge and some planning, it is not so hard create something unique. Just experiment and have fun with it!
Model and I
For those of you who are curious, here are a couple other projects that I’ve been playing with. I’m slowly starting to develop my own methods in finding new ways use them in commercial photography.
Smoking Speakers concept design. For this shot, I used light painting to accentuate the pitch-black product, while having strobes to light the product nicely.
Atrox concept car design. Light painting by Ernie Chang, lensed by Joe Russo.
More of my work can be found at www.lightmare.net and www.facebook.com/lightmare.ec
Today, I would like to introduce you guys to a friend and fellow photographer of mine. She’s one of those crazy creative souls that has actually figured out how to blend sci-fi, science and photography into an abstract art form! When I stumbled across her 2 years ago, she was a painter but after a couple years of hard work, passion and experimentation she’s come out with a body of work I have never quite seen before. I think you’ll enjoy it (and be sure to scroll to the bottom!). Presenting to you: Anick Morel
It all began two years ago when I came across an article about a burning light bulb that reignited my creativity.
I’ve always liked photography but never had the time to explore that medium seriously until recently.
My first experiments with burning light bulbs were quite rough. At first, I would miss the critical moment when the “explosion” was as its best. But after dozen of attempts, I started to get the hang of things. The light bulb burns for about 3 seconds so you have plenty of time to get the perfect shot.
I love science. I love physic and chemistry phenomena. I love light bulbs. The beauty, intricacy and delicacy of the smoke coming from the burning tungsten wire is what attracts me most. I love the fact that light bulbs are easily obtained and that you can do a lot with them (photography speaking) So far, I haven’t run out of experiments I can do with a burning light bulb: you can photograph them with the glass partially broken or with no glass at all, can put different chemicals on it (like fireworks powders), turn the bulb upside down, put glass above it, etc.
All my images are shot in camera. Since the smoke is white, I use Lightroom to bring colours to the image. And then use Photoshop to erase imperfections and bring out the details. Sometimes, like with chemicals, you won’t need to add colours in post production. These days, I treat my images so they have a painterly feel to them. It adds a new dimension.
From there, I started scouring the web for new and exciting things to photograph. One of the things I stumbled upon was cream. Cream is like liquid smoke. I enjoy the cream technique because just like the light bulb, it creates beautiful ethereal shapes going from translucent to opaque.
When you pour it into water, it just slowly descent and makes little medusa shapes. Very inspiring. What’s more, you can colour cream with food colouring and/or choose the density of the cream (10%, 15% or 35%).
Timing is not a factor when you photograph cream but the container is. You need a flat surface (like an aquarium) if you don’t want your image to be distorted and be out of focus. Oddly enough, the biggest challenge is the speed of pouring the cream into the water. Much like the light bulb, you need to practice a little to get it right. But when you master the pouring, the rest comes easy.
One more effect I’ve discovered along the way is the magic of the soap bubble. I really love this technique even if it gives limited results. Photographing bubbles can be a little tricky; Their lifespan is not very long, the wall of the bubble is always in motion and you need a good light source placed at a strategic place to see the the colours.
What fascinates me is the colours that dance on the surface of the bubble. It comes from the light being reflected from both the inner and outer surface of the wall of the soap bubble. Soap molecules have one end that repels water, and another that attracts it, and these molecules move to the inner and outer surfaces, thrusting their water-repelling ends out into the air, and their “heads” inwards.
A good macro lens is a must since the area of the bubble you want to capture is very small. And if your camera has a lot of MP, you will be able to blow up the image without loosing definition. If you want to extend the life span of your bubble, add some glycerin.
As you might have noticed, all my abstracts involved a little bit of science. It’s because, and I’ll proudly admit it, I’m a geek. I’m into RPGs and LARPing. I Love fantasy, science-fiction and horror novels. I was an avid comic book reader in my teen years. And because I am a geek, I started a brand new series involving super heroes logos.
This series combines my love for comic books, science-fiction and abstract. I admit it, I got jealous of all those talented photographers that could create all the wonderful images with heroes and villains, knights and goblins and felt like I had to contribute to the geek world…And so I have in my own way. This series is called: Heroes, Legends and Icons. It’s a small tribute, but I’m only beginning. Heroes of this world take heed, I’m coming after you. Or your logos anyway
Like my previous abstracts, all is done in camera. But unlike the rest, this series is much more figurative. You can clearly see the logo in there. How it’s done is very simple: I take a light bulb with the glass removed and place over it a sheet of glass on top of which I place the logo that has been printed on transparent film. I then shoot from the top.
Post-production is the same process as my other light bulb images. LightRoom and Photoshop. Because of the of the film over the glass, I don’t need to add much colouring to the image.
I will leave you on this little note: If you have a passion or even something you like to do, don’t be afraid to invest a little time (or a lot), energy and a little money into that thing. You don’t know where it can lead you. Or what amazing things you can discover and achieve.
If you like her work, be sure to check out her fan page !
Hey guys, posting this weeks video from all the way over in Seattle! Fellow fan Ngoc Tran flew me over to shoot her graduation so let me know if you want to grab a drink or coffee through my fan page and we’ll try to get in touch
This week I wanted to present to you guys a slightly different video. For those of you who have been following me closely, you’ll know that I’ve been playing more and more in creating my own videos from time to time. Naturally, this means that I’ve been starting to pay more and more attention to the video toys available! While waltzing around Toronto during one of my spontaneous roadtrips, I visited Henry’s Canada and saw that they had a nifty three wheeled device on display! This nifty device happened to be the Cinema Skater by Kamerar. Initially I was quite intrigued by the design… why would anyone want three wheels instead of four so I began fiddling around with it. I noticed that if I configured the wheels properly, I was able to make it spin on itself!
That’s when a little bell went off in my head. I contacted the nice folks over at Kamerar and asked if they would be so kind as to send me a unit for me to review and a couple weeks later I had my own nifty Cinema Skater to play with.
First impressions were that the Cinema Skater was beautifully packaged in a compact stylish box. After playing with it for a couple seconds, I noticed that it was very solidly constructed (easily supported my 150 pounds of Chinese spinning around on top of it!) and that it was very well balanced. The screws holding the wheels were also very easy to tighten to ensure that their orientation doesn’t change once you’ve taken the time to set them properly. My only complaint was that the notches to help you set your angle seemed to be a little haphazardly placed. They didn’t necessarily match up from wheel to wheel making it a little tough to configure the CineSkater to rotate on itself…
But no worries, a ruler and some patience quickly solved that!
Once I was certain I could configure the Cinema Skater properly, I invited a buddy Elie Babin to help me experiment with the Cinema Skater. Check out some of the results of gear that was lying around! (screengrabs)
So what else was required?
Excited? Check out the video to see how it was all done!! Hope you guys enjoy this
Disclaimer: The affiliate links in this post help support this website and myself
As part of my research on making things look glowingly magical in an upcoming music video I’m being asked to direct, I was told that highlighters have the hidden ability to glow in the dark when graced with the presence of a blacklight
. Curious to test things out (and also happening to have a blacklight
hidden in one of my closets) I invited Alliebee Henna to come over and doodle all over my body with a highlighter and see what we could create.
This pattern took a surprisingly long 4 hours to create (with a couple fails in between) and a total of 3 highlighter. A small note: highighters are extremely hard to erase from skin! We tried rubbing with a loofah, soap and even some alcohol and couldn’t…for the life of us couldn’t erase it completely! To the visible eye, it’s not so bad… but in the blacklight, the wipes show. Thankfully, Alliebee was able to do a remarkable job on me despite my continuous fidgeting! We even attempted to dilute highlighter in water to put in my hair but that unfortunately really didn’t produce as much light as we were hoping for so a wig became plan B.
These shots were taken at ISO 1600, f2.8 and 1/60th of a second so if you do attempt this on your own, be sure to try and bring the light as close as possible because these things don’t put out very much light!
Hopefully this inspires you guys to try things out on you
PS. Do not open highlighter with knife. It can be dangerous
(For those of you too lazy to read the entire blog post, feel free to scroll down for a list of all the pieces I had to buy)
I recently decided to inspire myself from a video I saw posted over at DIY Photography where I saw a fellow photographer by the name of Joe Edelman actually set up a bunch of fluorescent lights on rails and tripods to have a pretty effective and slick home studio.
Rather than Do Things Myself like I was supposed to, my three step plan kinda went something like this:
- Buy the parts
- Get my dad to design the setup
- Get a friend to help drill, dremel and screw things in.
Not a bad plan eh?
The first things I grabbed were a bunch of four light ceiling fixtures. Although there were all sorts of choices (2, 4, 6, 8…) I felt that the fours would really give me a great balance of power and versatility. The Lithonia brand also happened to be the cheapest which suited me just fine! Rather than have a couple of them floating on light stands, I wanted the entire setup to be on rails since my room is relatively small (10 ft x 10 ft) and I really didn’t want to loose space because of tripod feet sticking around.
From there, I grabbed a pocket door kit (also known as Bob in the video) which was substantially more heavy duty than the closet door kit that Joe recommended (better safe than sorry!) with the accompanying 8 foot rails.
Although in theory, simply screwing the closet door kits straight into the ceiling fixtures should have solved all of our issues, my ceiling happens to be pretty high which significantly complicated our lives. Since I didn’t want to be permanently standing on a pedestal everytime I shot a video, I had to figure out a way to lower the entire setup economically.
Thankfully, my dad was readily available for consultation and came up with the brilliant idea of connecting a couple Galvanized 3/4″ Floor Flange to some plastic threaded plumbing rods. Of course as luck would have it, the pocket door kit was only compatible with a 1/2″ flange so we had to buy a bunch of 3/4″ to 1/2″ adapter. What a pain.
I’m not quite certain what I did wrong but I suspect that our canadian prices here are slightly hire than the US ones because my home studio cost me far over the estimated 200$ in Joe Edelman’s version.
Here’s my breakdown:
For a grand total of 550$ + 15% taxes (go Quebec!) = 630$
Add on the cost of the fancy white backdrop + three roller wall mount and I hit 750$… slightly over the budgeted 200$…!
But honestly, the ease to actually pull things down at the flick of a light switch and just be ready to shoot within 5 minutes made it all worthwhile. Total time to put the whole thing together from concept, shopping to ready to go? 3 days.
So the pros and cons of my setup are:
- Zero setup time
- Takes up literally no space at all
- Flexible lighting (two degrees of freedom (back/front and rotation))
- Silent, does not heat up
- 6500K Daylight
- No flicker (even when shooting at higher than 250th shutter speeds. Don’t ask me why, I’m not quite sure but I’m going to guess it has something to do with the “flicker free” that’s marked on my box of fluorescents)
- Only two degrees of freedom (cannot be angled up or down and fixed height)
- Even lighting from all directions. No efficent way to dim a set of fluorescents.
- Slightly expensive.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with what I have but I definitely plan on upgrading it in the near future with additional light banks and perhaps a dedicated variable height ceiling rail system… maybe after my Von Wong Does Europe tour!