About Me

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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No video? No worries!

How's this for speedy? This photo was taken yesterday morning and here it is today for your viewing pleasure! haha I must be getting faster in my middle age.

Anyway I have this son. This 5 year old, scooter, skateboard and bike-crazy son who likes nothing better on a weekend morning than to go down to the skateboard park and let rip for a few hours.

His little brother is bored stupid but that's another story. Anyway the skateboard park is a well known tourist attraction down on the Esplanade foreshore. As I mentioned before I have spent quite a bit of time recently building up my Cairns photography stock collection but I realised that even though I've been there nearly every weekend for the past 2 years I'd never photographed this place.

So I took my camera down and realised that the laws of travel photography apply just as much in your home town. Firstly when you go somewhere there's never enough people there to convey a feeling of what a popular place it is! Secondly sitting around and waiting for somebody interesting to do something takes a lot of time, and may never actually happen. And thirdly even if somebody does do something cool it might not be at the right time or in the right place. So in order to overcome the three Murphy's Laws of travel photography I cajoled said muchkin into helping his poor ol' Dad out. And I didn't need to promise him any chocolate either!

Firstly I knew I wanted to photograph with an extreme wide-angle lens. There were blue skies above (which I'm a real sucker for) and I wanted to show the expanse of the place. Remember that the telephoto shortens the distance between objects so the bowl would look narrower than it is really is.

So I got myself into the right position where I knew Mirai (my son) could drop into the bowl on a side angle to me with the sun shining right on him. Helps bring out the gorgeous reds in his shirt and the blue in the sky. Once I had the camera set up I told him to go for it and away he went. Bang, bang, bang, bang. There are actually another five or so shots in the series but I just chose the ones that didn't overlap.

To be totally honest when I shot this I had no idea of having my son multiply at all. I just wanted to catch a peak moment of action. Usually when you hope to combine images it's best to have the camera on manual to prevent changes in exposure between shots but in this case it flukily worked out in my usual mode of Aperture Priority.

Anyway I didn't think twice about this until I came home and stuck the pictures into Adobe Bridge and had a look at them. Lined up side by side I could immediately see the possibilities of making a 'video'.

The base image is Mirai on the far left hand side just as he drops into the bowl. For the other images I took a basic rectangular crop around Mirai and just dragged and dropped them over the base picture. One thing I quickly realised is that because it was so sunny, I had to make sure that the crops included his shadow as well. Taking a larger than needed crop which included the edges of the bowl also meant it was easier to line up the pictures so that they all matched. Then a bit of judicious use of the eraser tool and layer masks and I suddenly had multiple versions of my son!

Of course he was more impressed by playing with the layers in Photoshop, turning them on and off to make himself appear and disappear. And then he asked where the sound was. Oh well, it's a poor man's video but still a lot of fun.

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