Just for a bit of fun last week, although he maintained he was being deadly serious, Roger Cragg wanted to model for me on the Thistlegorm dressed as a Wizard!
I figured that this would be a great opportunity for some off camera strobe action, and a little play with a cheap as chips photo app I have which produces Lens Flares and lighting SFX.
I wanted to create an otherworldly theme, and on a previous dive I had noticed him emerging from the bow line locker, below the anchor winch and between the two chains.
I figured that this might look a bit off the wall if I got him to hold a couple of optically triggered strobes just out of shot, thus illuminating from below in a suitably “magical” way.
Wizards and their Wands
He had also fashioned for himself a magic wand to wield and cast spells with, so I had some ideas about adding some effects to the tip of his wand with the aforementioned app.
I could have done these SFX inside Photoshop but I wanted something fast and fuss free.
So I used an app called Alien Sky from the app store, and before I hear a wailing and gnashing of teeth from those folk not using Apple products I’m sure there is a similar product available to Windows users.
However before I get carried away with the fun you can have with your pictures using photo apps on your tablet or phone, we need to produce the pictures to edit in the first place.
A Solid Foundation
This way we would have a good solid start to the pictures and they would be easier to make look realistic, well as realistic as a Wizard on the Thistlegorm could possibly look I suppose! But I’m sure you know what I mean.
Diving Safety First
My initial idea involved Roger and I buddying up and starting with a foray a little deeper with a couple of others who wanted to loosely follow us, so we discussed our plan to dive around the bow between the gap between the hull and the chain. So coming down the line we felt a little current against us, so we tucked in to as close to the hull as possible, on the starboard side. I scooted ahead, to get a shot of our wizard in the foreground with a backdrop of the hull and chain, and a couple of our retinue in the background.
Our Wizard needed no encouragement to act up to his role and took on the part as seriously as Larry Olivier at the Royal Court, although mercifully he didn’t don tights and a codpiece.
Which brings us slickly to the question of his wand. Roger had made a wand from an underwater flasher and a stick and some gaffer tape, and whilst the end flashed quite well to the naked eye, I realised that it would be too dim to record successfully on the sensor, which is why the idea of using an app I knew about occurred to me in the first place.
This first picture I simply lit him with the on camera strobes and added the effects later in the app. (more of that later though)
After we’d shot this picture the current was getting a bit more lively so we opted to head for the relative cover of the bow deck area, and try and get the shots with our two off camera strobes.
I was using a couple of Inon s2000’s, with the sensors exposed, I’ve found these strobes to be very sensitive, and as I already own them, and no other specific slave strobe trigger, and had used them like this previously, I reckoned that they would work fine.
I’ve used them on a previous trip to shoot Ele’s bike on the Thistlegorm, a classic photo opportunity, and one I’ve done a blogpost about after my last summer trip. Click Here
So for this shot which was the main one we’d talked about before the dive.
my idea was for Roger to hold the strobes just out of view, but close enough to be seen by my main on camera strobe to be triggered effectively.
This proved to be quite tricky and we needed a few minor adjustments to get to work.
The shots onscreen though looked to be shaping up ok.
After this I shot a few in and around the bollards too, with me hiding the strobes behind the bollards and me getting close enough to trigger them, not difficult with a fisheye lens though, the main issue was them not being visible in shot.
Getting Revved Up
As we had a bit of air left, and as we had spent a good chunk of this dive laughing that was indeed a surprise, we opted to go and revisit Ele’s bike and get a few shots with Roger posing in a magical fashion alongside the bike.
Ok, basic shots and ideas in the bag, this was always going to be a two part affair so instead of just importing them into Lightroom and editing using that and Photoshop, I did some basic editing in those two programs but copied them over as jpegs to my iPad where I was going to finish the edit usingAlien Sky, Lens FX and Lens Light apps which are well under a tenner, in fact you can currently buy a suite of their apps for £7.99 on the app store.
As I said earlier there will no doubt be very similar apps out there for platforms other than Apple.
The next step I am going to show you via video as it’s much easier to show you whats going on like this, and what you need to do using these apps on your tablet.
Here’s another couple of edits I’ve done with the app, in all they didn’t take long. And you could always use this sort of thing for making Halloween pictures or maybe weird birthday cards for people.
This is all a bit of fun, and just goes to show what is possible really quickly and easily these days. I know there’s some miserable so and so’s out there that will bemoan the lack of “real” photography with these posts, but if it gets someone into the hard drugs (Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop) via the gateway drugs (like LensLight etc) then all the better in my eyes.
Ok, hope you enjoyed that bit of fun.
I imagine the future of photo editing will be more app centric and whilst these are way out and wacky ways to edit, new tablets and platforms will enable us to edit in totally different ways from what we are used to. so maybe having a go now with this daft stuff will put you in good stead for when all your photo editing will be done on handheld touchscreens.
It can’t be that far off.
If you’d like to join me on a variety of different workshops around the world, you can see the sort of fun we have, why not hop onboard sometime. Heres the page of upcoming trips.