Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Dangerous Dragons (and Dungeons) Postcards

I was hiking up the trail from Purcell’s Cove towards Tea Lake for a Dungeons and Dragons themed shoot when a cold fog quickly descended upon me. The forecast didn’t call for fog and it was bright and sunny in the parking lot only 5 minutes earlier. I crested a hill and descended down out of the fog into a small clearing by a stream.

I spied a woman dressed up as an elf. “Ah,” I said, “you must be here for the D&D shoot?”

“I know not of what you speak, Dungeon Master.” she replied. “I am Jade The Elf Mage. We have been waiting for you to show up for some time! We are trapped by a warlock’s binding spell and have need to move forward.”

“I love models who really get into character!" I exclaimed. "And who are we?"

“There is Lara The Bow Elf standing on the path. Ingrid The Warrior Elf is practicing with her sword over there. Yon human warrior is called Sara, and Alex, a human mage, is out scouting the perimeter of the binding spell.” replied Jade.

“Too cool,” says I, “may I take your picture?”

“If capturing our souls will help us move forward then do so, but hurry up about it!' Jade said, and then paused to consider. "Pray tell, what will you do with our souls when you have successfully captured them?”

“Well, I’ll put them in a slide show on Flickr or maybe on my website. It depends upon how they turn out. Here, help me set up my flashes.”

“What is this strange magik? Is this some sort of portable sun? This could be just what I need to break the binding spell!”

“You mean you haven’t tried to use a sa’ angreal? I may be mixing up my fantasy stories here, but that would amplify your powers greatly and would easily break this clumsy spell. Of course you might get a bit motion sick from using it”.

“ A sa’ angreal? You mean like how I used my uncle's skull to draw lighting from the sky at the Battle of the Well? He was indeed a very powerful elf mage and the residual magik in his skull added to my powers enormously. I shall summon his skull immediately”.

Jade stretched her arms skyward and began chanting a spell, although she sounded more like a teenager asking her dad for the car keys.

Suddenly a skull appeared in her hand! “Step closer, oh Dungeon Master”, she said. “I have need of the power locked in your portable suns”.

I set up my Nikon SB900, SB800, and SB26 in a classic rim and key formation, with a gridded snoot on the key. The key was on a voice-activated light stand and feathered just so to hit her face and the skull. The real sun peaked through the trees for a bit of top lighting.

Jade glared at the skull and began chanting again. I guess the cars keys didn't come with the skull or maybe elf mages have graduated licenses. I don't know how much my portable suns helped, but suddenly, everything began to swirl and rotate.

“It’s working!” she cried “Everyone, prepare yourselves for battle! The binding spell is weakening and we know not what is on the other side!”

I glanced around me and sure enough, these guys were getting ready to rumble, vortex or no vortex.

“Thank-you, Dungeon Master!” exclaimed Jade “For you have allowed us to break this terrible spell and move forward, gaining significant experience points in the process!”

“Sure thing.” I said, as the cold fog descended upon us once again. “Just make sure you sign these model releases before you go.”

Lighting notes: 3 flashes all on 1/4 power (varied distance to hit the exposures). Usually two behind for rim light and one in the front for key. ISO 200, f5.6 to f10, and varied shutter speed from 1/15 to 1/200 to darken ambient to suit, or, drag the shutter to create the whirl effect (hence the variation in f-stop). VALS and creative input courtesy of Stefano (thanks!), to feather up a grid snooted flash to hit the face in some of the shots. Jade's and Lara's headshots done with a diffuser placed very close to the face, no flash.

Thanks go to Jade, Alex, Lara, Sara, and Ingird for patient modeling. Thanks also to Traverse and Angela for the creative shoot idea. Special thanks to Morrigan LeFay's Mystical Gifts for supplying some of the costumes and props!

In case the embedded reference to the Flickr slide show was too vague, the link is here to all of my shots from this shoot.

1 comment:

JayM said...

Wicked. Love the first sword shot, and first "swirl". Some really cool lighting and post. Nicely done. Classic with the "...sign the model release" caption.