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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Concept: Creating a connection

The theme I came up for this personal project is Connections. I wanted to show a strong, bold concept to the idea of "Connection". My original idea was for a train car coupler, or train cars coupling. However, safe access to train cars, with a lighting setup was hard to come by. My backup idea was for an extension cord and wall socket but I thought that was a little on the nose. 

I worked the idea sketches a little more, and remembered when we would recover a vehicle with a snatch strap, THAT was a strong connection. I sketched a lighting diagram for this and set to work. 

 I setup in my garage shop. This gave me overhead work space and a protected but larger environment. I knew from the concept in my mind that the background would go to black, and there wasn't enough existing light to illuminate the surroundings. A full exposure shot shows what I would look like without the proper settings.

 I knew this setup was going to sag with the heavy metal clevis in the middle, and I wouldn't be able to tension the setup enough to make it straight and tight looking. From an overhead beam I hung a string, and used dental floss to tie onto the clevis and pull it straight. On the other end I used a half hitch to adjust the height of the clevis.

Then I formed the strap into the clevis to make it look under tension. Because of the heft of this strap, it cooperated in staying in place.

Here's the pull back shot of the final setup. I used saw horses with sandbags to clip the strap to.

I worked on dialing in the lighting. I knew I would be working the edge of the overhead gridded strobe to get the contrast on the webbing and the clevis I wanted. I ended up with the grid strobe almost inline with the strap and feathered out slightly.

This was one of my final test shots, and as I was working the light, I realized the background being plain black was a little boring, I thought it would be bold on the black background but I didn't like it. I wanted to add some context, and looked to some baby powder to simulate a pop of dust that may come off the strap as it's snatched tight! This was a challenge to time properly. In this pair of shots, you can see the powder just didn't work out effectively. The second shot was a second too late and most of the dust had moved out of the way.

Final concept shot before toning and editing. Straight out of camera.
In between shots with the baby powder, I was fortunate enough to have an air compressor to clean the dust off of everything. 

Working in Adobe Lightroom, I removed the support line, adjusted toning, contrast, black level, and clarity. 

And the image with the concept text added in.

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