The Four Elements Continued. Air.

Boobs man. Boobs.

Of all the things to get in the way of a successful shoot I never thought boobs might be one of them.

Katherine and I worked hard on this shot. I had my vision. She had the look (Big blue eyes, long blonde hair and full pouty lips. Often labeled DSL’s). She brought her makeup and after disrobing, she looked the part.

The fan is gonna blow your hair up around your face like Pocahontas. You’ll look beautiful….”

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“…..You’ll look majestic…”

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“….you’ll look….well fuck! Fuck this fan!!” 

Needless to say, fan experts we are not. But I needed her hair flowing around her. Sure I could add the effect later in Photoshop but it wouldn’t be the same. I like to have as many real elements as possible before I begin editing.

Would you like to see our setup?

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WHOA! I can’t even handle how professional we are! *rolls eyes*. Ok, so a dusty old fan leaning on a vase in front of cheap closet doors doesn’t exactly scream professional, BUT we got the shot eventually. Isn’t that all that matters?! No? Well shit.

After a half an hour or so of messing with the fan, the lighting, the angle, exposure, aperture, shutter speed (makeup malfunction), blah blah blah, we finally got it right.

Until I sat down to edit…..HOLY MASSIVE TATAS BATMAN!!

Granted, It’s not Katherine’s fault that she was blessed with such magical breasteses. But they were literally all. I. could. look. at. Not that they were so huge they took up half the photo. More like, their gravitational pull was forcing my eyes down at every picture. And If I was looking, then so would everyone else. And what would become of all my wonderful work? All the sweat and long hours I put into editing would be lost! LOST FOREVER!

The bottom half of every shot was squeeze worthy, and my beautiful, majestic, Air Goddess shoot was looking more and more like soft core porn. Yeesh. (Katherine and I have worked together before, she being a photographer too. So she knows how quickly an artsy photo shoot can turn Maxim).

I took one more look through my menagerie (This time curbing my perverted tendencies) And I came across one that was the PERFECT shot!

Katty’s got those Tyra smize going on, and just the right amount of cleavage:

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Boom. Gorgeous! Intense eyes. Little wisps of hair floating around her angelic face. What is missing? How about a good ol’ Forrest Gump feather? A nice scouring of my chicken coops brought us this beauty:

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And with a little skin editing, tweaking of the light and adding the feather, we have:

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Now we’re getting somewhere!

The magic came next, and it took me almost three days to Tinkerbell it up. This photo has been the toughest, so far, to edit. I’m not sure why, but I worked hard making it look like Air Incarnate. Several layers were added, around 15 or so, to bring in the feel that this being was ethereal, godlike. I went ahead and added clouds around the bottom half (Sorry perverts!) but I didn’t have cleavage in my original vision (Probably because I mostly photograph myself, and I sport a nice set of over-easy fried eggs in my blouse)

If you want a boring photography tip, I’ll share this giblet with you: If you’re going to be adding anything into a photograph, a feather for example, shoot it against black. It helps, trust me.

Are you ready for the finished product? I bet your ass is just puckering in anticipation. Well clench no further!:

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Behold! Air Goddess. Air is sexy yet innocent. She likes long walks on the beach and mixed drinks free of roofies. Earth, Water and Fire are always and forever jealous of her beautiful, fluffy knockers. (Fire wonders how Air runs very fast with those) The world may never know. 

 

 

The Four Elements. And seeing my vision.

I went through a dry spell a few weeks back. I woke every morning uninspired, went about my day void of any creative thoughts, and slept without dreaming. It seemed the daily grind got the better of me.

Then one magical day, on my way to work, a song inspired me (as good Music is usually wont to do) and an idea sparked in my weird brain!

I like to create sets or series’s of photos. It’s more fun and challenges the old noggin. And Lordy did I need a challenge!

The four elements seemed challenging enough. Earth, Fire, Air and Water. My idea was not to photograph these elements but to personify them. To give them a face, a personality, and bring to life the four things we are constantly surrounded by, yet take for granted.

I called one of my go-to models, Patty. She is always up for a fun photo shoot and, as a seamstress, has loads of props and outfits. Sure as shit, she showed up at my door thirty minutes later with various plant life and a box of make up. Love her.

There are few people in my life who can understand my vision. Few people who can see passed the uncut, raw, unedited photo and trust at what it will become when I am done.

Can you be naked from the waist up? Great! Now stand on one leg. Awesome! Hold this beach ball, it represents a ball of energy. Perfect! Now hold still. Make angry eyes. Angry eyes! Angrier!”

I can imagine how difficult I must be to work with. But if you trust in my vision the outcome will be worth it.

On the day that I was inspired I asked Patty to hold a handful of soil and pretend that she was magically growing a flower with her awesome earth powers.

I searched through my repertoire and found this photo of a flower I took years ago:

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And I shopped it onto the soil in her magical hands. It came out like this:

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We often use my closet doors to pose in front of because: 1) They are white. So adding a background is a lot easier. 2) My bedroom has Bomb.com natural lighting (If you don’t know about my hatred of fake lighting please read my post titled “What I’m rockin’. A Photographer’s toolbox”) 3) Because I am a cheap ass and I don’t want to pay for a seamless.

Next I added several texture layers (like almost 20) of plant life, leaves, green, sparkles, blah blah blah, technical jargon, blah blah etc etc. Blah.

The end result left me astounded. I usually have that moment, when all is said and done, when I sit back and think “Wow. I made that. Me! I am awesome!” FISTPUMP!! 

I effectively personified the Element EARTH:

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Beautiful isn’t she? I amuse myself with thoughts of her frolicking around in a barren field, growing brightly colored flowers and singing songs that sound like the rustling of leaves. But I digress.

I used myself for Fire. I am very familiar with editing my own face and at the moment I sport a red mohawk. It just made sense.

I started with this gem (In front of my closet. Shocking I know):

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I used one of my umbrella lights for this shot to bring some light to my face because obviously there is a flame in my palm. DER! (p.s. I have huge eyeballs. That is all)

I used GIMP to remove the myriad of scars on my face (No Fire Goddess is walking around sporting stitch scars from a car accident from when she was four years old. Just sayin’). The piercing holes and tattoos were the next to go, and they were a doozy! I still have trouble effectively removing tattoos. You’ll notice the faint remnants of my head tattoo in the finished product. But I’m ok with that. Who’s to say that this sexy Fire Goddess isn’t a Michael Jackson fan. You don’t know her life!

I spent a huge portion of the day creating my own layers, which included blowing cigarette smoke (don’t judge me!) in front of a black background, and starting a small fire in the fireplace (Wouldn’t you know it was 100 plus degrees that day. What I do for Art!).

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I used some free fire layers that I pulled offline and for the background used pictures of stormy clouds I had taken years ago. They looked like smoke to me so….

After several hours, and a few smoke breaks (You judging again?) I sat back and had my moment. “Me. Awesome”  Fistpump. You get the point.

Fire:

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Fire and Earth totally hang out. They have drinks and gossip about Air and Water.

Speaking of the missing two elements…guess what? They aren’t done yet! They haven’t even been photographed. Water and Air are happily living in my weird brain, growing, shaping and evolving. They are still in the early stages of life. Namely planning, planning and more planning. But fear not! They will have their very own blog post when I am done with them. Until then you can enjoy these two sexy Elements while I go have a smoke. I AM the Fire Goddess after all. (How’s that judging going?)

 

 

 

 

 

The reasons why. Welcome to my brain.

*Stands up*

“Hi, My name is Jake and I was wrong”

I was that person, stubborn and uninformed, stuck on film photography like I was holding a piece of the past in my fingers. I’d scoff at those “Digitals” walking around like zombies, eyes glued to the screen of their bulky camera’s, missing great shots left and right. Because with a film camera, (in my case, a Nikon Fm3a 35mm beauty) you aren’t stuck scrolling through your shots. It’s a simpler life with film; spot, focus, press shutter, thumb lever, done! I thought, then, that I was holding myself to a higher standard. Dare I say, I thought i was better than them. Ha!
Until one day……
I was introduced to the world of photo editing through a friend. A magical thing. A new toy. A new way to look at pictures. A whole other side to photography I had never even touched! I was enamored with the idea. I could put horns on someones head? Give them purple eyes? I could take ideas from my head and make them real? Shareable even? Sign me up!

Off to the camera store I went and bee-lined for the Nikon section and settled on a D5000. I was amazed at just how many pictures you could take on a digital camera and how fast it was! No more waiting for film to develop!

Want to see the very first picture I ever took with film?

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Not bad huh? When you eliminate all the graininess from the scan it’s actually quite beautiful.

And my first picture ever taken on a digital camera:

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Beautiful! I was sold.

Besides the quickness and versatility of digital there was the concept of editing. Once I mastered just how to take good quality pictures with the D5000 (which took a whopping day and a half) I was off to learn editing. I downloaded Gimp and spent hours and hours learning the craft (It did not take me a day and a half). And five years later I’m still learning things with every photo I edit. Now I rock a Nikon D7100 and three editing programs! Iv’e come a long way but I still have so much to learn. I will never set limits by calling myself a master.

Editing pictures for me is a safe way to express myself. I am a mother of three daughters. I live a safe, stable and dare I say, boring life. I don’t have the time or inclination to do drugs or engage in illegal activities. I like the safe life. But with it comes the proverbial Inner-teenage-rebel. We all have one. Don’t lie. When you see a girl (or boy) with the same outfit as you, don’t you just want to go buy one that stands out more? When your boss (or other superior) barks out an order it’s your inner-teenage-rebel that forces thoughts of mutiny into your head.

I live with this ITR a lot, simply because I am always following rules and doing things the safe way. For my family. Creating beautiful works of art that speak, provoke anger, make people think, is my way of expressing the rebel that lives inside me. I create these photo transformations for myself (Mostly because no one will pay me for photoshop madness. They only pay me for boring pictures *gag*) and because nothing feels better than looking at a side-by-side before and after of a photo creation.

Here is one of my very first edits. It’s crude and full of mistakes. Kinda like myself!

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Oh how far Iv’e come! Thank you for joining me on this journey as I learn more techniques into photo editing and making new art. I hope you enjoy the view from inside my head (I heard it’s very squishy in there and painted with pastels)