El Dave Photography

A photographer and his toys. Updated weekly.

Sandman (2)

5:50 AM by , under

Sandman

From Wikipedia:
The Sandman (Wesley Dodds), is a fictional superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The first of several DC characters to bear the name, he was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Bert Christman.

Attired in a green business suit, fedora, and gas mask, the Sandman used a gun emitting a sleeping gas to sedate criminals. He was originally one of the “mystery men” to appear in comic books and other types of adventure fiction in the 1930s but later developed into a more proper superhero, acquiring sidekick Sandy, and joining the Justice Society of America.

1920's and 30's fashion and design has always fascinated me. Re-reading my collections of Sandman Mystery Theater lit a fire under my butt. I wanted to try and recreate a nightclub scene, but with the Sandman, that had to mean fog machine.

I used our two lanterns as a backdrop and grabbed a tiki-totem-pole-thing I found at a dollar store. Because the fog machine is fickle, the photoshoot ran a little longer than normal. It clocked in at 42 photos, compared to my regular 6 exposures and I'm done.

Thankfully, editing in Photoshop was fairly easy. A quick bump in saturation and contrast really made the picture pop, but the thing that really made the picture for me was running Auto Levels. I'm not sure what happened, but it added the cool contrast to the smoke. I should really look into what Auto Levels actually does...

No one can escape the Sandman's dark EXIF:

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 0.25 sec (1/4)
Aperture: f/2.5
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 1/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
X-Resolution: 72 dpi
Y-Resolution: 72 dpi
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Date and Time: 2008:05:17 00:13:34
YCbCr Positioning: Co-Sited
Exposure Program: Normal
Date and Time (Original): 2008:05:16 22:22:28
Date and Time (Digitized): 2008:05:16 22:22:28
Shutter Speed: 131072/65536
Metering Mode: Pattern
Color Space: sRGB
Focal Plane X-Resolution: 3210.946 dpi
Focal Plane Y-Resolution: 3230.241 dpi
Compression: JPEG
Image Width: 2816 pixels
Image Height: 1880 pixels

Be good,
-Dave



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Brainiac HDR (0)

7:56 PM by , under

Brainiac

For those that don't know, here's what Wikipedia has to say about Brainiac:
Brainiac is a fictional character that appears in the comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appears in Action Comics #242 (July 1958), and was created by Otto Binder. Brainaic is one of Superman's most important enemies ever since the villain's first appearance, responsible for shrinking Kandor, the capital city of Superman's home planet Krypton which the hero has vowed to restore. Due to complex storylines involving time travel, cloning, and revisions of DC's continuity, several variations of Brainiac have appeared. Though at his core Brainiac is formless, most incarnations depict him as a bald (save for a set of diodes protruding from his skull), green-skinned extraterrestrial android from the planet Colu. Brainiac's name derives from the -IAC naming trend among early electronic computers, after ENIAC: ILLIAC, JOHNNIAC, MANIAC, SILLIAC, etc. In both the television series Smallville and the book The Last Days of Krypton, BRAINIAC is said to stand for "BRAIN InterActive Construct."

I keep trying to find a better/easier way to create an HDR image without actually having to shoot extra photos with multiple exposures because I'm horrible at maintaining lighting and not moving the camera and/or the subject. So the secret to how I'm doing this HDR effect is a little Photoshop tool called High Pass.

Open your image and make any necessary tweaks (color or contrast balance), then duplicate your Layer and run the High Pass filter. The dialog box will pop up with a sliding bar that allows you to control the level of fine detailing, where the lower the number, the higher the detailing. For Brainiac I set it at 30 and hit OK. From there you'll need to set your High Pass layer to Overlay. See how the details popped right out?

Now duplicate that layer a few times and see what happens.

Easy, no?

I AM IRON EXIF!

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 10 sec (10)
Aperture: f/9
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 1/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
X-Resolution: 72 dpi
Y-Resolution: 72 dpi
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Date and Time: 2008:05:15 21:48:32
YCbCr Positioning: Co-Sited
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
Date and Time (Original): 2008:05:15 21:26:55
Date and Time (Digitized): 2008:05:15 21:26:55
Shutter Speed: -217705/65536
Metering Mode: Pattern
Color Space: sRGB
Focal Plane X-Resolution: 3210.946 dpi
Focal Plane Y-Resolution: 3230.241 dpi
Compression: JPEG
Image Width: 1880 pixels
Image Height: 2816 pixels

Be good,
-Dave



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Galactus (0)

11:25 AM by , under

Galactus

Galactus, like Azrael, is one of those figures that I keep coming back to. There is just so much going on here that I feel like every photoshoot reveals some new little detail, a new feature that I didn't notice before.

Before I get into the nitty gritty, here is the obligitory Biography of Galactus (with things I didn't know before right now):
via Wikipedia

By 1966, Lee and Kirby had decided to create a Fantastic Four story where the nominal heroes were totally eclipsed by a much larger, god-like concept and power. This culminated in the introduction of Galactus in Fantastic Four #48-50 (March-May 1966), now known as the "Galactus Trilogy". Both co-creators attributed their inspiration rising from a desire to break from the archetypal mold of super-villain at the time. Lee explained the conception of the character's identity: "I created Galactus after we had done so many villains and wanted something different. I wondered, 'How could we get something bigger than a villain? Let's do a guy who's like a demigod — I like the name Galactus'. He comes from outer space and eats planets, or some stupid thing". Kirby discussed his Biblical inspirations for Galactus and the Silver Surfer, and the revolutionary aspects of the characters:

My inspirations were the fact that I had to make sales. And I had to come up with characters that were no longer stereotypes. In other words I couldn't depend on gangsters anymore, I had to get something new. And of course I...for some reason, I went to the Bible. And I came up with Galactus. And there I was in front of this tremendous figure, who I knew very well, because I always felt him, and I certainly couldn't treat him the same way that I would any ordinary mortal...and of course the Silver Surfer is the fallen angel. And when Galactus relegated him to Earth he stayed on Earth...they were figures that have never been used before in comics. They were above mythic figures, and of course, they were the first gods.

Today I tried for an eye-level account of Galactus's rampage. I wanted to keep the focus squarely on Galactus, because, really, if a giant space god is going to eat your planet, you aren't going to be watching the Human Torch (Ok, so I would be watching Iron Man, but that's just me). There really wasn't too much done special for this shot. I set up on the stove (I know, I know) and only used the single bulb for lighting. Processing in Photoshop was just as simple with a quick contract boost and a little color adjustment to boost the orangey-ness? I guess?
Yeah, that'll do.

I have become EXIF, destroyer of worlds.
Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 8 sec (8)
Aperture: f/7.1
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 1/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
X-Resolution: 72 dpi
Y-Resolution: 72 dpi
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Date and Time: 2008:05:14 13:18:11
YCbCr Positioning: Co-Sited
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
Date and Time (Original): 2008:05:14 13:06:41
Date and Time (Digitized): 2008:05:14 13:06:41
Shutter Speed: -196607/65536
Metering Mode: Pattern
Color Space: sRGB
Focal Plane X-Resolution: 3210.946 dpi
Focal Plane Y-Resolution: 3230.241 dpi
White Balance: Manual
Compression: JPEG
Image Width: 1880 pixels
Image Height: 2816 pixels

Be good,
-Dave



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Gene Colan 1

11:08 AM by , under

Plastic 52 - Week 46

Gene Colan is my favorite comic book artist. He always has been, even before I realized who he was. I've never been one to really study the artwork in comic books, but there was so much energy in Gene's pencils that they literally lept off the page at me. The New York he had Daredevil swinging through was an actual living, breathing place. It was just as much a character and a personality as the main character. People often laugh about his Iron Man because the faceplate flexed to convey emotion. The script never called for it, no writer or editor ever asked for it, but Gene felt it was important to the story. "He's a smart guy. I'm sure Tony could invent a mask that moved". To this day, I hold every sequential artist up to the yardstick of Gene Colan.

Now he's in trouble.

Please, please take 5 minutes out of your day and write the man a letter. You don't have to make it personal, just let him know he's in your thoughts and prayers, and say a quick thank you for all the years he's enriched our lives. I promise you, it will mean the world to Gentleman Gene Colan.

Gene Colan
2 Sea Cliff Avenue
Sea Cliff, NY 11579


Today's photo is the cover of the card I've sent. I hope you will send one too.

Be good,
-Dave



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Captain Marvel (0)

8:53 PM by , under

Captain Marvel

Peter David, if you're reading this, please write Captain Marvel again. Bring Genis back from whatever happened to him in Thunderbolts. Grab Chris Cross and dust Genis off again. Phyla has come into her own as Quasar and the "real" Captain Marvel- well, I won't spoil it for anyone. Please, PAD?

If you are somehow unaware of Genis-Vell, here's a brief summary, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Genis-Vell first appeared in Silver Surfer Annual #6 (1993) using the codename of "Legacy". He appears in the various Marvel titles in 1994 and 1995, primarily Silver Surfer and the Cosmic Powers miniseries. A six month guest appearance in the former culminated with the launch of his own series.

Legacy was featured in Captain Marvel by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Ed Benes with an initial publication date of December 1995. The series was abruptly cancelled after only six issues; the unpublished issues #7-12 were later summarised by Nicieza in a fill-in issue (#14) of the next Captain Marvel series in 2000.

Legacy appeared in Avengers Unplugged #5 (June 1996) wherein he meets Monica Rambeau, who at that time was the bearer of the "Captain Marvel" title. Monica cedes the title to Genis and adopts the codename "Photon" instead. After a single appearance in Silver Surfer later that year Genis-Vell wouldn't appear for another two years, when he was included in a new Warlock title for four issues. An appearance in the Avengers Forever 12 issue miniseries led to a new partner with his father's former companion, Rick Jones, and the second Captain Marvel series featuring Genis-Vell starting in the fall of 1999. The numbering would last for 35 issues, until October 2002.

In 2002 Marvel launched the U-Decide campaign in an attempt to bolster sales on several comics. Although critically popular, sales for Captain Marvel were flagging. U-Decide was initiated as a contest between Captain Marvel, Marville (written by Bill Jemas) and Ultimate Adventures (written by Ron Zimmerman), in which the comic that sold the most copies would remain while the others would be discontinued. In order to compete against the other two series, Captain Marvel was renumbered to issue number one, and Peter David, its head writer, took the book in a new direction. The Captain Marvel series won by a decidedly strong margin, and Marville and Ultimate Adventures ended after seven and six issues, respectively.

Eventually the Captain Marvel ongoing series was cancelled with issue #25 in 2004 due to low sales. Peter David was given the chance to wrap up the plot in a single over-sized issue. He brought back the pastiche of the Endless, and joked that Rick Jones could sense the impending end of the series via his "comics" awareness. Genis-Vell appeared sporatically until the character was killed off in Thunderbolts #100 (May 2006).

For today's shot, I wanted to do something nice and easy to get back into the swing of things. I'm no longer working 3rd shift, so my sleep schedule will (hopefully) return to normal any day now and I'll be able to get some more regular photo time. I went with Genis today for two reasons.
1) He's a great character, despite his original pony(rat?) tail.
2) Bowen crafted a beautiful bust that is a real pleasure to photograph

I've shot Genis before, fairly early on in my photography education.
Genis

I wanted to try something a little bigger and bolder than just, "Here's Genis, looking all tough". In a moment of inspiration, I had the idea of Overlaying a field of stars on top of Genis to match his cosmic awareness. Or, in this case, Overlaying the Great Orion Nebula. Flickr member Jimkster was gracious enough to provide the image through a Creative Commons license and it worked perfectly for what I was going for.

Cleanup in Photoshop was next to nothing. It was quite simply Open photo of Genis, Copy the Great Orion Nebula and Paste onto Genis (as a new layer, natch), then set the Nebula Layer to Overlay. I did a little more fiddling with the colors, tried some blurs, sharpens. But in the end, I decided to keep it simple and just go with the stars and Genis.

You always hurt the ones you EXIF. And Dad, I EXIF you a lot.

Camera: Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi
Exposure: 0.4 sec (2/5)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
X-Resolution: 72 dpi
Y-Resolution: 72 dpi
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS3 Windows
Date and Time: 2008:05:09 22:25:56
YCbCr Positioning: Co-Sited
Exposure Program: Manual
Date and Time (Original): 2008:05:09 21:27:37
Date and Time (Digitized): 2008:05:09 21:27:37
Shutter Speed: 86634/65536
Metering Mode: Pattern
Color Space: sRGB
Focal Plane X-Resolution: 3210.946 dpi
Focal Plane Y-Resolution: 3230.241 dpi
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Manual
Compression: JPEG
Image Width: 1880 pixels
Image Height: 2816 pixels

Be good,
-Dave



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