Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Crombie McNeill Photo Op – Smiths Falls Part 3 – Models at the Abandoned Water Treatment Plant

After the shoot with the knights in part 2, we broke for lunch in a nice spot in downtown Smith’s Falls. After that, we walked across the street to the old Justice Building and the models got into the mood with some playful posing. I have one image of the building itself with the models having a little fun.

DSC_3268_justice[1]That’s Erin in the back, Sandy sitting on the ground, Selina in the front right, and Bonnie between Erin and Selina (thanks for her name, Sandy.)

Image removed at the model’s request.

I processed most of this shoot to black & white. The surroundings and back lighting in a lot of it works best that way. Plus I like the look.

One final shot of Selina with Erin in the back. Also works really well in black and white.


And off we went to the water treatment plant. A real chore to find some of these places as Darth Vader on the Tom Tom had no idea :-) 

We were met by one of the city officials who was there to give us the tour and to ensure that no one fell into a dangerous treatment tank – they were all still in operation you see. My guess is that they are not quite ready to fund the inevitable cleanup when all the equipment gets shut off … but who knows. Maybe it feels good to have a backup facility available.

Anyway, this is one twisted building. Lots of narrow stairs … several floors that are cpnnected by narrow hallways that twist and turn … dank basement … the whole nine yards. It would make a great movie set.

We had about a dozen photographers and four models with us. You’ve already seen a couple of shots of the models in part 1 of this series. Those were shot with the Fuji F80EXR. Frankly, I was not enamored of the light in this location. It was extremely challenging and I was not in the mood to trek around with a light stand. Of course, I really wish I had, because I only netted a few images with which I am pleased enough to publish.

We started in the basement with Crombie dividing the building into zones and suggesting that we spend only about 1/3 of our time in each of the three main shooting zones. Crombie also mentioned that a few more models would meet us there, and you will see a couple of shots of them later on. Here is Crombie instructing the group with Sandy standing by.


I caught another shot of Selina as the girls were preparing to ascend the stairs to pose up by a huge window …


There was a balcony / catwalk around the basement which is where we all started. We had the girls working up there and I got two shots I liked out of that scene …

DSC_3299_girls[1] DSC_3318_girls[1]

You can see that I trotted Topaz Adjust 4 out for that last one. It just worked better with the edgier contrasts. I won’t tell you where, but the liquify brush was involved in that shot in several places. A subtle, but very important tool to put the finishing touches on an ensemble like this. (And yes, I know this one is really flawed … Erin’s left hand should be in frame, not out … sigh.)

I stopped for a moment on my way upstairs to shoot the water controls … mildly interesting shot I think.



And I spent the rest of the time upstairs in two shooting zones. One great big room with windows all around, and one smaller room with a small window and an interesting chair.

First the big room. A new model, on only her second shoot, showed up and I shot her near a big window. Really nice light here. I have a vague recollection of her name being Barbara. Again, I hope someone corrects me if I blew it.

I shot several of her with glasses on, but I really did not like those shots. Once the glasses came off, things improved.


This one really appeals to me. I liquified a bump from her nose, something that is necessary to make shots look like magazine covers (I am obsessed with that look to be honest.)


I will also admit to using a simple vignette trick to really focus the image on her face. I am *not* a fan of vignetting by darkening edges. It rarely looks anything but fake in my opinion … kind of “look at me, I’m a pro.”

Rather, this one uses a Guassian blur on the outside of an oval selection with a wide feather … works a treat. Looks very Hollywood 50’s to me …

Next, I shot Bonnie and John. They posed several times near one of the windows with a nice background. This was the shot I liked.


The next shot is my only shot of  Kristyn (spelling may not be correct), who showed up for a while.


I shot Erin and her friend with the F80EXR (already shown in part 1) and with the D700 here.


I moved around a bit then and ended up in the smaller room where we were shooting Bonnie and Erin. Bonnie was back lit and Erin was side lit. The back lit shot was a rare opportunity to stay in color, the side lit shot needed black and white and some edgy processing to make it interesting. Erin was also lit with a gold reflector. In both of these following shots I was forced to rebalance certain assets as they were leaning one way or the other and that does not look right on film unless adjusted.

DSC_3389_model[1] DSC_3400_erin[1]


Image removed at the model’s request.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any others in this series that were sufficiently different to warrant processing. I shot two more series of Selina after that. The window, here …


I often go high key with Selina’s skin, as it really sets off her eyes and mouth. But here I preferred the edgier contrast look with strong tones in the skin and indeed everywhere.

Next we went to the room with the chair and she rattled off some poses of which I chose two. This first shot ended up being interesting in two interpretations …

DSC_3447_selina[1]  DSC_3447_selina2[1]

I prefer the second.

Finally, a straight on shot that went to mid tones for me …


Heavy on the eyes and mouth. Maybe too much, but again, the painted look of Hollywood …

I switched to the D300 for the last few shots because the Tamron was on it. At least, I think that’s why :-)

The following shot is a back lit scene that worked only in high key … I’ve already shown the F80EXR version of it, but I will repeat that one here and follow it with the D300 RAW shot that I processed for a similar look. I removed distractions though and much prefer the new shot.



I also improved the angle of her hand and head with the liquify brush. Sorry for cheating, but the result was worth it.

My final shot was one of Brandt and Sandy. Kind of a kidnapping or attack scenario I suppose … he was wearing black feathered wings, but I did not like any of the shots I got of him displaying those while hanging from the ceiling etc. This one worked though.


One last thing … when I was sitting in the car and waiting for the others to join me way back at the beginning of the day, I was fooling around with the D700 and captured this rather colorful shot of the rain drops as the others started milling out front …


So that ends the Smith’s Falls work shop for me. A fun day. I was not at my best by far, but I still came way with some shots I like from each of the two main shoots.


sandy.r.carr said...

The models names that you don't have are : Bonnie and John (posed together)
and the other is Kristyn (not sure on the spoelling) , she was the one posed one time by the window.

I really liked the outcome of that workshop and was pleased with your PP on the photos. Great job Kim!

Kim Letkeman said...

Thanks very much Sandy. I've updated the article with the names. Do you know Erin's friend's name?

If you or any of the other models are interested in prints for your portfolios, let me know. I don't mind processing some for printing (needs to be larger and sharpened differently.)