March 28, 2011

Mar 28: Quilt Processing

I'm processing quilt images today.
Here's how:
I do a few easy steps in LightRoom, like color correction (using a white card).
Then I load the file into PhotoShop.

The main problem is that the quilt is not square. Since I couldn't get the camera perfectly centered, the quilts edges are distorted.
Adding reference lines helps show the distortion.

I use the PhotoShop tool Filter-Distort-Lens Correction. Correct for perspective, distortion, rotation.
Here's the corrected image, with reference lines.

The next problem is the ugly background. The background sheet (plan ahead!) makes this easy to remove though. Select the quilt and add a mask.

Add a new white background layer.

Crop it to a pleasant size, check the details and send it to the editor.
Done and done.

37 more to go.

March 27, 2011

Mar 26: More Quilts

We shot quilts from 9am to 6pm.

My camera rig worked great. It was consistent and reliable.

I had a terrific assistant, whose tasks included smoothing, flattening, rotating, clipping, and in this case, lint-rolling.

We shot 38 pieces in all. Here's a smaller one.

Now all I have to do is replace the background, remove distortion, square the edges, rotate, crop, and clean up any loose ends.
38 times. It's a good thing my computer chair is comfortable.

March 26, 2011

Mar 25: Climate Change

In winter, I shoot mostly skiing. (Maybe you've noticed?)

In a change of pace (and climate), I'm photographing quilts this weekend.

I'm using the same planning and precision that I use in my ski images to create a repeatable and consistent set of quilt images.

Here's the set, (with a quilt's backside serving as a model):

I've found that laying the quilts on the ground and photographing from above is much easier than hanging the quilts on a wall.

It's a bit tricky getting the camera stabilized, but a sturdy tripod and some heavy A clamps are doing a good job.

I've tried balancing the lighting with multiple strobes, but it is actually quite clean and nice to photograph the quilts with just one speedlite, when placed in the correct orientation. In this case, the light is placed 12' above the ground and 10' away from the quilt's corner. It's feathered towards the far corner. The result resembles a Rembrandt light, without the nose shadows. There's a 1 stop difference b/w the closest corner and the farthest corner, which gives a nice feel.

Here's a different angle on the geometry.

We've shot 7 quilts so far. ~20 more to go.

March 24, 2011

Mar 23: Big Jump

Justin and Hazen built the Pyramid booter, by themselves, in 2 days.

It looked rather beautiful as we approached it the next morning. (For scale, the vertical wall of the ramp is 12 feet tall.)

We worked from 9am until about 2pm, sculpting the ramp and smoothing the in-run. We had about a dozen guys shoveling, stomping and testing.

Finally, with a good crowd of supporters, Justin and Hazen enjoyed their moment.
Pete and Eric also put in a couple laps.

The real images are still processing.

March 23, 2011

Mar 22: Deep Storm

Alta reported 4" overnight. Ho hum.

As many would attest, however, it was one of the deepest days of the year.

I've been working on this image style: sharp foreground - soft skier.
Ashley Maxfield makes this one look nice.

And, yeah, 4" is pretty good at Alta.
Nat Segal coming up for air.

The storm/wind/fog limited our options, but we scored some nice shots in the woods.

March 21, 2011

Mar 21: Go Deep

It was sunny, warm, and dry when I arrived in CA.
It started snowing a couple hours later, and it didn't stop for 3 days.

The skiing was wild. Wet, windy, and wildly enjoyable.
It was also pretty deep.

It took 40 minutes just to turn around in the driveway.
It took another 90 minutes to get out of the driveway.
Turns out my car can't handle 2+ feet of Sierra Cement.

March 15, 2011

Mar 15: Weather Change

It feels like spring in the valley, nearly 60 degrees.
I'm looking ahead to some summer adventures, including mountain biking and river rafting.

Last night, when the sky cleared, we ran out for some bike photos. We didn't actually ride anything, but we framed some nice images in front of the sunset.

After getting 'the shot' I wanted, I set another one very quickly.
This preliminary test shot was a little overcooked with the strobe, and poorly light-balanced, but we calmed it down and corrected it in the subsequent images.

Moab is calling me.

March 13, 2011

Mar 13: Tele Tortoise

It's warm enough for tortoises to awake from hibernation.

After a few warmup laps, I tried to hit the woo-y booter. Everyone did backflips, but I didn't dare.

It rather threw me, even on a simple straight air. I didn't ski out of this one (obviously).

Another attempt started better.

But finished the same. Each bail smashed my face with the box. My mouth and neck are quite sore.

0-2, I quit. Dex gave it a go.

It didn't start too well.

But the second hit was cleaner.

But the landing proved tricky once again.

The highlight of the day was my last run. I pulled a Super-Mario turtle-shell belly-slide down the steep groomer under the chair, about 200 yards.
Sadly, no photos.
Worse yet, the costume is completely torn up. Oh well. I'll build another one for more spring skiing.

March 11, 2011

Mar 11: More FWT

Freeskiing World Tour @ Snowbird.

Vanessa Aadland's run, shot with a long lens. It's cool to see the variety of images taken without moving positions.

She put down a sick line. We thought it would score very well. The judges didn't quite agree. Hmm.
She still finished in the top 10 and advanced to the next round.

March 10, 2011

Mar 10: Spring Time

It feels like spring. Sunny and warm. Good time for a big ol' booter session.

That's some aggressive shoveling.

Watch out.


The gallery.

My models.

Having a good time.

Ok, back to work. I had them pose like this for a couple hours.

Use your imagination to put some ski tricks into those reflections.

March 9, 2011

Mar 9: FWT Snowbird

The Freeskiing World Tour is at Snowbird this week.
The weather was crap today, but it was still fun to watch.
Here are some images from the Day 1 Qualifiers.

Erin Bragg, working through the terrain.

Another competitor finds her line.

This fella airs one out.

Another drop.

And some style.


Compare this one to an image posted by FWT (by Billy Swan). We were ~15' apart, with similar lenses.

Leave a ski at the top --> Uh oh!

Here's the lower half of a double stage. (click to enlarge)