El Dave Photography

A photographer and his toys. Updated weekly.

We've moved! (0)

5:32 AM by , under

Over the 2011 Labor Day Weekend, we packed up the studio and moved into new digs. This blog will stay up for as long as Blogger will let me keep it, but all new posts will be happening over at:

http://www.eldavephoto.com



Links to this post | edit post

Atrocitus the Red Lantern (0)

6:04 AM by , under

When I heard that Atrocitus, leader of the Red Lantern Corps, had booked a session, I admit that I had my doubts. No, that's not entirely true. When I heard that Atrocitus, leader of the Red Lantern Corps, had booked a session, I started crying, told my assistant to cancel all of my appointments and started boxing up the studio to start a new life under an assumed name. I have worked with crazy people before, but when you're working with someone with super-powered anger issues, it's time to pack it in.

So I was scrambling, trying to board up the windows when he got there. "Excuse me, are you guys open?"

NO. GO AWAY, SPACE MAN. I HAVE A HAMMER.

"I have an appointment for some portraits this morning. Do you think I could just come in and wait?" My assistant nudged me to the side and let him in. I retained my death grip on my death hammer. I have had enough of these guys coming in here, wrecking my studio, stealing my stuff, and stiffing me. GOOD MORNING, MR. ATROCITUS. SORRY FOR THE MESS. WE ARE REMODELING.

"Uh, yeah. No problem. Look, can we get started? I'm kind of booked tight today."

Back in the studio, I had him stand in position and started lining everything up. He didn't seem impressed with the radiation burns, holes punched in the walls, or the bullet holes. Some days I can't spackle the walls as fast as my clients knock them down. "You seem stressed out, man. When was the last time you had a vacation?"

IF YOU COULD TURN YOUR HEAD JUST TO YOUR LEFT, PLEASE. CHIN UP.
I was still holding the hammer.

Click
Atrocitus the Red Lantern
(Click to see larger)

Model: Heroes of the DC Universe Blackest Night Atrocitus Bust by DC Direct

On his way out, we shook hands. "Hey, if the whole photography thing doesn't work out, give me a call."

I need a vacation, I think.

Be good,
-Dave

You're holding me back again



Links to this post | edit post

Kang the Conqueror (0)

5:24 AM by , under

In business there is a lot said about repeat customers: finding them, recognizing them, and making the most out of their patronage. As has been previously noted (in nearly every post here), I am not a great businessman. Many of my clients are destructive to my studio and many more have a real problem with paying for my services. So, yeah. I'm kind of a crappy businessman.

That said, however, there is one thing I do right, and today I'm going to let you in on my little secret. That secret, my friends, is time travel. Not for me, of course. Here, let me explain.

Every August 20th, my calendar is booked up by Kang the Conqueror. This is a guy who claims to be master of space and time, right? But when there are SO MANY instances of him running around at once, it makes keeping appointments tough. You never really know if you're talking to the Kang from yesterday, or the Kang from two weeks from now, or a Kang from forty five million years ago! So what I did was, every time Kang the Conqueror (or Rama Tut or Immortus, et all) called for a photo session, my assistant told him August 20th. That way he could just dial his time machine to that day and that time and get his headshots in. While it saves me a lot of headache, it also leads to days like this:

"BEHOLD! I, the master of yesterday's tomorrows, have arrived for my 9am!"

Click.
Kang the Conqueror
(Click to see larger)

Model:
Kang Mini-Bust by Bowen Designs

Then we do it again at 10. "BEHOLD! I, time's monarch, have arrived for my 10am!"

Click.
Kang the Conqueror
(Click to see larger)

And again at 11.

Click.
Kang the Conqueror
(Click to see larger)

And so on, and so on.

Be good,
-Dave

Are you alive?
I'm alive



Links to this post | edit post

The Fences are Down (0)

5:16 AM by , under

Shooting on location is something that has never really come easy for me. I spend the majority of my time in the studio where the lights shine exactly where I want them to, the models are posed, and there are generally very few surprises. I'm not known for my landscape photography, so getting a call inquiring if I would like an all-inclusive deal to document a tropical island, I was understandably surprised. The deal was pitched to me as part of an ecological cleanup expedition where foreign species had been introduced and we were going to assess the changes the island had experienced since then.

Upon arrival, the rest of the crew put on those orange... biohazard suits? I think that's what they are called. When they saw my concern, I was assured that the first team out was wearing them solely as a precaution. Standard operating procedure, they called it.

The team reported back and I grabbed my gear and started shooting the island. Off in the distance you could see big things. I mean big things. Loud things. Howling, hooting, stomping. And me without a biohazard suit.

Suddenly there was a commotion at the edge of the clearing. Everyone was shouting into their radio (I didn't have a radio). Some guys pulled out rifles (I didn't have a rifle). I saw the orange suit of one of the first team running back towards us, with a Triceratops hot on his heels!

Models:
Hazmat Guy by LEGO
Pindown the Triceratops by Xtractaurs

I've got to raise my rates...
The Fences are Down
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

All of your life you've been led
To believe your nothin'



Links to this post | edit post

Bizarro #1 (0)

5:39 AM by , under

Another week, another studio session with a superhero. This time is going to be different. No more supervillains. No more wrecked studio. No more not getting paid. This week, and you're not going to believe this, I had Superman come in for a shoot.

Model: Bizarro by DC Direct

Ok, so he looked rough, but who am I to judge? He's Superman. I mean, come on, the guy's an alien, so that may be how he really looks. He was very direct and straight to the point, which is greatly appreciated. "Me am ugly. Me am having LOT of money for pictures." Awwww yeah. Dave's gonna get paid.

To be completely honest, the mask (?) and the weird voice were throwing me off. I mean, it's obviously Superman, but something wasn't quite right. I couldn't put my finger on it until I remembered that Superman has a reputation for being a jerk. I've read those Silver Age comics... It's alright though. I mean, it's Superman. Truth and justice. He's just having a laugh at my expense and I'm cool with that.

"Ok, Superman. Let's do this. Stay put and we'll do this in 3-2-1." Click.
Bizarro am #1!
(Click to see larger)

Afterwards he shook my hand (which was a huge thrill!), "Me am very happy with photo. Me will put payment in the mail right away. Hello!"

Be good,
-Dave

Didn't you wake to see the light
Couldn't you hear the truth



Links to this post | edit post

Trophy 1

5:29 AM by , under

Maintaining a photoblog is my way of practicing photography. Oh sure, I take lots of pictures. I edit some of them. I post even fewer. But what does get posted is what I feel is the best work I have at the time and it is usually something I am excited to show off. Whether I'm trying to tell a story with the photograph, writing a story about the photo, studying lighting or color or composition, every post is focused on being a better photographer.
Inbetween posts, I've been working on a secret project that has me looking at all my old photos and I've noticed that I almost never take a picture without someone or something's face in focus.

In my head, it seems like the only thing that matters is the face. The eyes; the expression (Which is funny because most of my models have masks that obscure their faces or cover their eyes). So I really need to open up my idea of what and how to photograph.

Model: Poacher 2 by McFarlane Toys

Trophy
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

You can break from everything that confines you



Links to this post | edit post

Agent Orange (0)

5:30 AM by , under

I've got to stop letting supervillains in.

This week, Larfleeze (the Orange Lantern) stopped by, clutching a stack of prints from Sinestro's shoot. "These! I want these!"

My assistant, Reflector, pointed out that he already had them. Right there in his hand.

"...I want these but with me in it."

Oh dear. Here we go again. Just getting him in to the studio was an ordeal. "What's that?" That's a chair, Larfleeze. "I want it." When he saw the equipment he nearly went berserk. "What's that?!" That is the remote for the lights. "Ooooo....." Everything he saw, he touched. Like a kid in a store, except kids don't make everything all glowy orange as if their fingers were covered in radioactive Cheetos dust.

I asked what he wanted to do with the lantern battery and he just hugged it and rocked back and forth. "Mine... Mine... Mine..."

Model: Heroes of the DC Universe - Larfleeze the Orange Lantern Bust

Click.

Larfleeze
(Click to see larger)

The flashes seemed to snap him out of whatever was going on in his head. "Thank you for the cameras." Don't you mean prints? "No!" All of the equipment he touched that was all glowy orange stood up and followed him out the door.

I've got to stop letting supervillains in.

Be good,
-Dave

I feel like I'm in a blocked state of mind
Am I getting through?



Links to this post | edit post

Sinestro of Korugar (0)

5:37 AM by , under

In blackest day, in brightest night,
Beware your fears made into light.
Let those who try to stop what's right,
Burn like my power... Sinestro's might!


I used to have some simple rules in the studio. 1) No weapons. 2) No supervillainy.
Seems straightforward enough, right? But no. Some people just have a problem following the rules.

Sinestro sauntered in while I was in the back working with another client. I heard Reflector (my assistant) arguing before the studio door was blown off it's hinges. My client, a high schooler, ran away screaming while I just stared open-mouthed at where my door used to be. "I require my visage to be captured by your camera. Prepare your equipment."

Model: DC Dynamics Sinestro by DC Direct

Now, I've had my share of bad customers and have gotten better at being assertive and standing up for myself, but the second I opened my mouth to protest a giant yellow spider landed right. in. front. of. me. I have a thing about spiders.

Sinestro waved the spider away. "I am prepared. We shall go on three?"

"...yes sir." UGH. Giant spiders freak me out.

"Excellent. 1-2-3." Click

Sinestro
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

Stuck in my bedroom with nothing
But a voice in my head



Links to this post | edit post

Johnny Mo (0)

6:05 AM by , under

Ok, ok. Ok! Oh. Kay. Put the swords away and I'll take your picture! Just stand over there. Yes, where the X is. What are you looking for? The big X on the floor is where you need to be. Wha- sir, there is nothing up in the ceiling. No... I do not have any hidden assassins or booby traps. You know, I don't think I caught your name.

Johnny Mo is the leader of O-Ren's personal army, the Crazy 88. Johnny Mo is most prominently featured in the "House of Blue Leaves" scene. After The Bride kills Gogo Yubari and O-Ren Ishii's six bodyguards, Johnny Mo, armed with a pair of shōtō, arrives with an army of Crazy 88s. He is a more proficient fighter than the rest of the gang, nearly tipping the scales in their favor and holding his own against The Bride for several minutes alone while fighting her on top of a balcony railing. She eventually chops off both of his legs, and he falls into a pond from that second floor balcony and is presumed dead thereafter. *Wikipedia

Fine. Yes. Have a henchman stand there first. That's fine.
See? No death. It's just tape on the floor to help me with the lights. Will you please stand there now? Thank you. Turn to face me. Look up, just over my shoulder. That's perfect.

Model: Kill Bill's Johnny Mo by NECA Toys

Hold that for just a second, ok?

3...2...1... Click
Johnny Mo
(Click to see larger)

-Be good,
Dave

I could break into a million pieces



Links to this post | edit post

Independence Day (0)

6:04 AM by , under

"They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once. That's how Dad did it, that's how America does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far."

To be perfectly honest, I'm not a huge fan of this armor. Even though Iron Man is my favorite character, this new suit just doesn't do it for me. Until I got my hands on the action figure of it, anyway.

Model: Marvel Universe Iron Man - Modular Armor by Hasbro
Backdrop: Gothic City Ruins by Pegasus Hobbies
Special Effects created by waving Sparklers in front of a desk fan.

Now that I've played with it a bit and snapped a few shots of it (there will be another post in a few weeks about this armor), I'm a fan. More easy to photograph armors, please!

Independence Day
(Click to see larger)

If you'll excuse me, I need to go put out the fire I started in the studio because I was setting off fireworks indoors.

Be good,
-Dave

You leech off my desire



Links to this post | edit post

Assassin's Creed (0)

5:57 AM by , under

Earlier this year, I had a mini-rebellion where I struggled against my style and tried to push myself outside of my comfort zone. While I am really happy with how those experiments turned out, I realized that what I was really doing was trying to learn new ways to do what I feel I do best. That really got hammered home a few weeks ago for the Bionic Commando shoot. While it wasn't the most exciting image, I couldn't be happier with it.

Those quiet moments are what I'm really interested in, I think. That moment of contemplation before action. Who better to emphasize that than an assassin in Renaissance Italy?

Model: Ezio Auditore de Firenze by NECA Toys
Backdrop: Pegasus Hobby's Gothic City Ruins

"The sun is setting. Time to work."
Assassin's Creed
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

Insensitive to all your needs



Links to this post | edit post

Bring the Noise (0)

5:58 AM by , under

So last week's shot was kind of quiet. Dramatic lighting, yes. Cool muted colors, yes. Loud? No.

Today's shot is all about bringing the noise, or bringing the ruckus, if you will. The part of the movie where the bad guy's base explodes and the hero strides smoothly away before the credits roll.

Model: Army of TWO's Elliot Salem by NECA Toys
Backdrop: Outdoor studio

The first problem I ran into is... the grass and leaves are, you know, green. Not so much explodey fire as I would like and I didn't want to set the Outdoor Studio on fire just for one shot. So in Photoshop I had to swap the greens for warmer reds, oranges, and yellows. That made things a little better, but I still wasn't satisfied, so I added some gaussian blurs over the "fire" and you know what?

I dig it.

Army of TWO
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

Fools often sometimes forget



Links to this post | edit post

Bionic Commando (0)

5:59 AM by , under ,

We don't talk about the first time Nathan Spencer stopped by for a photo shoot. Let's just say it didn't go well. This time, however, I was invited on a "ride along". Seems pretty cool, right? Swinging around on buildings, whipping dudes with that robot hand, I was super excited.

...did you know he has a desk job? He literally stares at spreadsheets all day.

Bionic Commando
(Click to see larger)

This week's shot features Nathan Spencer by NECA and is, in a way, an example of my signature style. I've been told before that this type of portrait is recognizable as "my style" and, to be honest, I resisted that for a long time. No idea why, really.

After thinking about it, I realized that being told I have a unique, recognizable style is a great compliment and I should probably not be such a pain in the butt about the whole thing.

Be good,
-Dave

Can't wait to see you.



Links to this post | edit post

Halo: Cryptum (0)

6:03 AM by , under

A few years ago, my friend Chanh convinced me to read the novels based around the Halo franchise, and they were... ok. Fun reading, no heavy lifting required. I mean, how much story can a book based on a game really have? You are Master Chief and you run around killing everything in sight. Ok, so maybe the books made the fighting a little flashier (flying somersault grenade toss), but they didn't really grab me.

And then he told me that Greg Bear (a favorite author) was writing a Halo novel. An incredibly fun and hard to put down Halo novel.

So this week's shot is a sort of homage to the Halo franchise. From a video game where you pistol-whipped aliens to a series of novels that hooked me in, you've made me a fan.

Figures used:
Sgt. Forge (foreground)
Jorge (background)

Halo: Cryptum
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

I wonder how long it will be before
you leave



Links to this post | edit post

Gears of War (0)

7:44 AM by , under

Gears of War, like most shooter games, is something I am terrible at. I really enjoy the setting and the character designs, but put a controller in my sweaty hands and it all falls apart.

So many tears...

With Gears 3 coming out soon, I wanted to try and recreate the cinematic feel the game has. Everything is overly dramatic, rubble everywhere, and, oh man, the light bloom. I'm not sure how close I actually came, but I am extremely proud of this one!

Model: NECA's Marcus Fenix
Backdrop: Pegasus Hobby's Gothic City Ruins

Due to the size difference between Marcus (7") and the Ruins (28mm scale), I had to prop the ruins on a roll of masking tape so it didn't look like Fenixilla running amuck over some poor gothic cathedral.

"Dave, you're rambling. Get on with the picture."

Sorry about that, Marcus.

Gears of War
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

I persist - I persist - I think I'm hiding



Links to this post | edit post

I am Iron Man (0)

6:16 AM by , under



You'll never guess what this week's picture is.

I am Iron Man
(Click to see larger)

I wanted to try and convey that sense of plodding dread you get from the song's opening riff. Something big and heavy and absolutely terrifying is coming for you and it wants you to know.

Be good,
-Dave

Wipe my face - get up again
get up again



Links to this post | edit post

Let's Be Bad Guys (0)

6:46 AM by , under

Blah.

That's how I feel about this week's photo. It isn't a bad shot, mind. It just doesn't... pop for me and I don't know why. It's well within the color range I usually use, the lighting and vignetting seem fine, and I definitely love the subject, but...

I dunno.

Let's Be Bad Guys
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

God damn I wish - I'm dreaming



Links to this post | edit post

Cad Bane (2)

6:45 AM by , under

Normally doing portfolio work for people is pretty fun. They come in, we chat for a bit about their image and how they want to be portrayed, and everyone's generally happy with the results. Once in a while they will have a strong idea of what they want, but usually it is a more organic process that lasts the entire shoot.

And then you run into guys like Cad Bane.

You know what the first thing he said to me was? "I'm calling the shots today," as he rested his hands on his blasters. Not even a hello. "Ok, no problem," I said. "What did you have in mind?" He turned to leave and nodded at his little robot who gave me a printout of exactly what Cad wanted (sunset over his shoulder), where he wanted it shot (a nasty local cantina), and, well, it was essentially the finished product.

Grabbing my gear, I hustled to the cantina, set up the lights, reflectors, camera, and waited for him to make his entrance.

Click.

Cad Bane
(Click to see larger)

He walked right passed me, shot some guy, and walked out. "I'll be by to pick up the prints."

I gotta find a safer line of work...

Be good,
-Dave

All those callous eyes



Links to this post | edit post

Dr. Acula (0)

7:24 AM by , under

Dr. Acula
(Click to see larger)

Posted without comment because it's Seis de Mayo and I'm exhausted.

Stupid Senor Funtimes...

Be good,
-Dave

Can I get a witness



Links to this post | edit post

Playing Catch Up 1

6:20 AM by , under

Urgh... My head. Where am I?
The last thing I remember was sitting down to post last week's shot and the phone ringing, and then... oh- oh no.

Please tell me I didn't blow last week's update because I was partying with Senor Funtimes.

Senor Funtimes
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

Make my life worth something more



Links to this post | edit post

The Sun Never Sets on Latveria (0)

5:52 AM by , under

Hey guys, things are super busy here in the studio, but I wanted to quickly show you one of the projects we're working on. A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a small Eastern European nation to shoot some stills for an upcoming tourism campaign. Due to a non-disclosure agreement, I can't tell you where, but I'm sure you can figure it out.

Sun Never Sets on Latveria
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

What would happen if this were gone



Links to this post | edit post

Full of Stars (0)

6:51 AM by , under

This week was the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight into outer space and I wanted to try and do something special to commemorate it. I don't have any model rockets or miniature cosmonauts (an oversight that will be corrected), but I do have some Lego minifigs and a sizable science fiction collection. With that in mind, here is my attempt at recreating a scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The original:


For this shot I used:
Lego Minifigure Spaceman (body and helmet)
Lego Minifigure Hazmat Guy (head)
The entire NGC 6357 Nebula

I set an LED bulb on either side of the figure and used my window blinds for the vertical stripes. Taking it into Photoshop, it was... ok. Nothing spectacular and certainly not as dramatic as the still from 2001. That's where the Nebula came in and worked its magic. It took quite a bit of playing with opacity, but I think the end result is definitely worth the time and effort. It's certainly blowing Lego Spaceman's mind!

"The thing's hollow—it goes on forever—and—oh my God—it's full of stars!"
Full of Stars
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

With your head so in the cloud



Links to this post | edit post

Mortal Kombat 1

8:36 AM by , under

You may have heard that there is a new Mortal Kombat game coming out. I'll be honest, my favorite character is, and probably always will be, Sub Zero. The freezy ice blast, the slide, the ice swords? Count me in.

Unfortunately, Scorpion looks SO GOOD with a sword that he ended up dominating today's shot.
Mortal Kombat
(Click to see larger)

What I originally wanted was sort of a backstage view, where Sub Zero was returning from his match with Scorpion lying in wait, ready to ambush Subs. The more I look at it, the more it looks like they're waiting to jump each other. Like playing Hide & Seek, but with Fatalities.

The setup was so simple that it's easier to just show you.

Mortal Kombat - BTS
(Click to see larger)

Scorpion is standing in front of a resin wall piece and that's a wooden/leather trunk behind Sub Zero. No fancy lighting, just natural light from the window to the left.

Be good,
-Dave

Relied on me to say it all



Links to this post | edit post

Reflector 1

7:07 PM by , under

Is there a Transformers Noir? If not, there should be.

Sorry for the short post this week, guys. Busy busy!

Reflector
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

From left to right...



Links to this post | edit post

Protoceratops (3)

6:17 AM by , under

It was a few weeks ago that I ordered a Ring Flash Adapter from Photojojo. Great, I thought. This will be perfect for portraits! Can't wait for it to arrive and play around with it.

Here's the thing. When I opened the package, sitting on top was a little plastic Protoceratops with a note saying, "We like you. Thanks for ordering!"

It feels like we've been friends for years and they knew what I really wanted, but went ahead and let me order the ring flash (that I still haven't touched) anyway.

Oh sure, I took the ring flash adapter out of its box and fired a couple flashes through it. Oooh wow, super cool, super fun. Then I gave up pretending and ran outside with my new dinosaur.

Protoceratops
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

I can't believe
This is happening to me



Links to this post | edit post

Master Gundam (0)

6:25 AM by , under

As I've mentioned before, I have never watched any of the Gundam series. Never. None of it.
Somehow I find myself wanting the model kits. Actually no, that isn't true. I know exactly why I want the kits.

Dynasty Warriors: Gundam on XBox.

It combines two of my favorite things: punching hordes of dudes and giant robots. In this case, however, you're punching hordes of robots right in their faces. There were a lot of characters in the game that I didn't care for, but Domon Kasshu and Master Asia, the Undefeated of the East stood out from the pack of angsty teenagers who don't realize how awesome giant robots are. While the other characters are sadding it up with laser bazookas and plasma swords, Domon and Master Asia, the Undefeated of the East are running around punching as many faces as possible. It's Gundam Wuxia.

That's why today's subject is Master Asia, the Undefeated of the East's Master Gundam. It is a snap-together model kit that, quite honestly, is better made and more articulated than the majority of my action figures! I expect to be taking many more shots of this guy.

The backdrop is a square of vinyl floor tile I picked up at the hardware store and lit by reflecting a desk lamp off of the tile. In Photoshop, I painted the eyes and "DARKNESS FINGER", going a little sloppy to make it appear the power was radiating out of the Gundam.

Gundam Fight! Ready.... GO!
Master Gundam
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

If there's tomorrow,
Would you give me Please forgive me?



Links to this post | edit post

Therian Assault Golems (0)

6:18 AM by , under

In every science fiction setting, there has to be a bad guy. Someone for the brave, outmatched humans to rally against, saving the entire universe in the process. For me, the less human-like that bad guy is, the more I like it. From mindless space bugs to robots programmed to destroy all biological life, I'm in.

Enter the Therians.

They go around the universe, converting solar systems into their own habitats, blacking out whole galaxies. In the AT-43 universe, there is just darkness where the Milky Way should be.

Scary stuff, indeed.

With that in mind, I wanted to try and capture that sense of menace. Bringing out the bulkhead set, I positioned the figures as best I could and realized that, for the effect I had in mind, I would need two exposures. The first was with the light above and behind, and the second had the light pointed straight through the door.

In Photoshop, I combined the two shots and painted in the eyes, using the same steps as my Robot Eye Tutorial.

File, Save As...

Therian Assault Golems
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

Passion; Find direction.



Links to this post | edit post

Megatron in Winter 1

6:22 AM by , under

In this business, it's all about networking. Who you know is just as, if not more, important, than what you know. You have to spend money to make money. The early bird- Ok, I'll stop now.

The last time a supervillain booked time for a shoot, I totally blew it and was determined not to make the same mistake again. I was on time, dressed nicely, and my batteries were charged. Awesome, I thought. Let's do this.

So I waited. And waited. Aaaaand waited.

Finally, at 2:30, Megatron showed up for his 10am appointment.

Being late? Sure, ok. Something may have come up. He may have had to crush some Autobots or something. Cool. I understand.

He was on his cellphone the entire time.

When I asked, he just slipped it into his... pocket? A panel unfolded on his hip and he stuffed it in just long enough for me to get one shot. As soon as the shutter fired, he went right on talking.

The nerve of some people.

Megatron in Winter
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

I'm talking to myself again



Links to this post | edit post

Dust (0)

6:24 AM by , under

I'm jealous of extreme photojournalists. I envy their bravery and determination to get the shot, no matter how dangerous the situation or how great the risk to themselves. That said, however, you won't see me doing that. The greatest danger I want to face is looking at the flash when it goes off!

Thankfully, wargaming miniatures allow me to indulge myself without anyone being put at risk.

The Set: Gothic City Ruins by Pegasus Hobbies
The Subject: Laser Grenadiers by Dust Tactics

I wanted to capture the squad of Laser Grenadiers making their way through a burning city, their lasers having cut through whatever war machines the Allies were using. To get the lighting right took a little work. I put the table lamp pointed down through the side windows and put a redish-pinkish-orangeish piece of scrapbook paper directly behind the set piece to reflect the light and color through the back windows.

I took it into Photoshop and increased the glow, making it more vivid and less like scrapbook paper. Then I added the heat glow and called it a day.

How did I do?

Dust
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

I promise one day she'll pray for me



Links to this post | edit post

Organ Music (2)

8:49 AM by , under

Here's the thing. I don't like horror movies. Being scared holds no fascination for me and I can't handle gore. That said, however, there is something about the old black & white monster movies that just grabs me. What I like most is not the makeup effects (although Frankenstein is my favorite monster), but the cinematography. That the best tool the filmmakers had to convey emotion and mood was light and shadow.

Harsh lights, cheesy fog, and deep shadows are all a guy really needs.

Ok, maybe some sort of character wouldn't hurt the scene any.

Enter: Darkrasp, Death Priest by Reaper Miniatures.

Opera Music
(Click to see larger)

I think the biggest things missing are a full moon, bats, and cheesy organ music.

Be good,
-Dave

Boy be brave, don't let them take you no!



Links to this post | edit post

Deadlines (0)

9:07 AM by , under ,

Oh man, guys. I almost blew it this week.

One of my resolutions this year is to not miss a weekly update. At some point between Sunday and Saturday each week, I will have something new to share with you, and I nearly let you down this week. Mea culpa.

In fact, my tardiness has caused some problems here in the studio. We had an appointment for a shoot with Thanos that turned sour when another gig ran long and I couldn't get back in time. My assistant, Reflector, tried his best to keep the Mad Titan busy, but there's only so much a toy camera can do. Thanos stormed out just as I was coming through the door. He shot me the old evil eye and kept walking.

"Hey Dave, there goes your eleven o'clock."

Oops.

Thanos
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

Lock my door, close my blinds
I wanna be by myself



Links to this post | edit post

Back in the scifi mood this week, so I thought I'd take the bulkhead set (is that what I'm calling it?) out for another spin.

Since I've been playing with the set for awhile now, I wanted to try some different lighting and see if I couldn't open it up a little more. Last time I kept the light low and the zoom tight to make it seem claustrophobic, but I'm hoping for a little more versatility from my set than just, "Oooh, so scary!"

In the foreground: Necron Lord
In the background: Necron Destroyer
(I would love to link to an online store, but Games Workshop makes that difficult)

The light setup on this is a desk lamp just a few inches above the set, angled down on the models. It lit up the Necron Lord's staff (appropriately called a Staff of Light) and definitely opened up the set. Now it looks almost like a glass roof or dome!

Ok, yeah. I like these sets and will be building more in the future.

Click.
Dawn of War: Dark Crusade (Necron Campaign)
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

I walk over and ask
Ask the question will I ever last



Links to this post | edit post

Challenge Rating: 25 (0)

9:32 AM by , under

Whoa. Bit late this week, aren't I? Well, I have a good excuse. On Sunday night I got to see one of my heroes perform live. For those that know me, you know I'm a huge fan of lucha libre, Mexican masked wrestling. Two of the biggest stars are El Santo and Rey Misterio and guess who got to see them both from ringside?
So yeah, I had a little over 500 photos to sort through, but you can see them on my Flickr page!

This week's shot is another fantasy scene. Taking what I learned from Boss Fight, I wanted to expand that out and improve on it as best I could. Where better to take inspiration from than from the Granddaddy of fantasy storytelling, Dungeons & Dragons? I dug through my old books for ideas.
Maybe some vampires and skeletons? Nah.
Goblin hordes? Nah
Displacer Beast? I don't think anyone would know what that is.
Finally it hit me. Why was I trying so hard? The clue's in the name. All I needed was a dungeon and a dragon. And maybe a few poor adventurers seeking to claim the dragon's horde.

For this shot I used:
Cathedral Wall from Armorcast
Water Dragon from McFarlane Toys
Devin Dunhaus, Mercenary from Reaper Miniatures
Dwarven Fighter from Wizards of the Coast

This one fell into place by itself. Hold the desk lamp above and behind, line up the camera, and... Click.
Challenge Rating: 25
(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

I can go way back
in my mind



Links to this post | edit post

Standoff (0)

5:34 AM by , under

Remember when we spoke about Hirst Arts molds and I said I wanted to build a small set piece? Well, it's finished!

Mini Studio
(Click to see larger)

Now I know, I know. It doesn't look like much now. It looks like some plaster pieces glued together, covered with paint and weathering powder. That's all going to change once we get our subjects on-set and do a little dramatic lighting.

Subject A: Lego Minifigures Spaceman (Series 1)
Subject B: Lego Minifigures Robot (Series 1)

Using a desk lamp, I lit the whole thing from behind so that the light would be spilling out over the Robot and we would get that great reflection off Spaceman's helmet. Make sure the poses are interesting; the Spaceman's gun is slightly elevated and the Robot is "walking". Fiddle with the lights one more time. Argue with assistant over exposure time. Hold your breath...

Click.

Standoff

Be good,
-Dave

I hope it catched you up



Links to this post | edit post

Boss Fight 1

6:39 AM by , under

Aaaaand we're back. Welcome to 2011! Did you enjoy your holiday break? I know I sure did.

One of the things I've been working on and really trying to improve is really opening up my idea of what my "Go To" shot is. As it stands now, I default to this:

(Click to see larger)

What I would like to do is expand that out and explore more of the scene. Bring a little more action, more dynamism. To do that, I'm going to need more that one figure... A quick glance at the shelves yields two fantasy figures that look promising. Benedikt Hellhorn by Reaper Miniatures and Ligori from Anima Tactics should do nicely. As a backdrop, I picked up a bit of resin cathedral wall from Armorcast and lit the whole thing with a table lamp, from above and behind.

I chose Benedikt and Ligori over other models because Ligori is head and shoulders taller. He towers over the smaller Benedikt! And really, how intimidating is a boss fight that you can look in the eye?

So what do you think?

(Click to see larger)

Be good,
-Dave

voices call, they call out my name, (my name, my name)



Links to this post | edit post