Just so ya know, “The Sandbox” is alive and well. I really wanna take a minute to share a little background info about this series, it’s look, and what I’m going for. We spent Sunday in the field with high hopes, but planning realistically. At the end of the day, we got what we wanted (the realistic expectations, not the high hopes), but like all shoots, we’re going back in the field next weekend to finish what we started.
I don’t think I normally talk about the logistics of a particular shoot, but this one is unique and I think worthy of sharing. Why? Because you will actually SEE the difference in many shots. From the concept stages, I wanted to create something more dramatic within the style of photography itself. There are always four proverbial actors in any shoot… the performers (literally), the gear, the location, and the camera. That holds true in any shoot. If you remove any of those elements, the photos won’t work.
Well, this shoot has the gear, the location, and the performers, but I wanted the camera to contribute more to some of the specific ideas I had in mind. All the other elements bring action or drama to the look of a photo, but I want the camera to contribute “dramatically,” too.
So, with great desire, but financial reluctance, I purchased a wide angle fisheye lens for my Canon 5D. At a cost of over $600, I hope it’s fucking worth it. I’m sure when the shoot is done, you boys will let me know. Although not intended to be used on every shot, the new lens will create some highly stylized and dramatic looks that I’m after.
To best demonstrate what I’m talking about, we should have used the wide angle lens and my other lens to do a side-by-side comparison in the field. Well, we got too excited with the new lens and didn’t get that far out there, so I mocked up comparison shots in my apartment. In the black/white animated image, you’ll see my bondage gear shot with the traditional portrait lens and then shot with the new wide angle (fisheye) lens. The photos alternate every 5 seconds, so just watch. It delivers the effect I’m after by exaggerating and emphasizing the selected subject matter and letting the rest of the shot “arc” into the background; the result of using a spherical wide angle lens. It completely plays with the depth of field, bringing the focal point to the forefront and pushing everything back. Fucking awesome! Think of the detailed closeups on leather, rope, duct tape, gear, and more! Whew, I need a towel!
We’ve all seen these styles of shots before. They appear somewhat distorted, but subconsciously, our minds accept these images for what they are without question, a deliberate emphasis or exaggeration.
As we quickly learned in the field, using a lens like this can also be dangerous. Depending on camera angle and position, you could easily make yourself look horribly deformed as if you have a head the size of an elephant on the body of an ant. Somehow, this skewed angle doesn’t work for face shots. But, if you reverse that and your sexy combat boots are huge and the rest of the body tapers off into the background, it seems to work cum-fucking well!
So, as “The Sandbox” continues, you will see many of these stylized and exaggerated shots done with the wide angle lens, bringing all the four elements (actor, gear, location, and now the camera) working together for even more dramatic and hyper-masculine looks with bondage, military gear, weapons, duct tape, knives, and more. It will allow me to really emphasize an element or moment in the shoot.
I have selected just a few early shots from “The Sandbox” that demonstrate the effect gained with the new lens. After everything was done at the end of the day, one of the very last shots turned out to be my favorite. And it’s so fucking simplistic! It’s the last shot in the series below and it’s the image of me holding my KidRacer-X Dog Tags. (Yeah, I know dog tags read a little different in the real world, but I’m KidRacer-X!) It epitomizes the culmination of gear, subject, location and dramatic influence from the new lens. It perfectly demonstrates the awesome depth of field I wanted, close-up capability, and dramatic texture the new lens will bring to this series. So, as a “thank you” to all of you for your continued support and interest, I’m releasing this last shot as an early wallpaper image below, offered in different sizes to fit your specific monitor settings.
We’re going back into the field to finish shooting this coming weekend and then I need to edit the content and get it online. My gawd, this is the WORST time of year to try to squeeze in a photo shoot because the next 6 weeks with my day job are intensely focused on the 2008 motorcycle racing season. It’s long days, nights and weekends. If it sounds like I’m repeating myself, it’s only because many people don’t know my history and this may be the only post they read. But, with all that going on, I’m worried if I don’t get the new shots done now, my schedule will get so bad, new content would be delayed by several weeks more. So, please be patient. I’m moving as fast as humanly possible. Trust me. It’s cumming. I hope you do, too!