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Corinthian the Unflappable



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This is part of my series "Wizards of the Wakatipu", a series of landscapes with an enigmatic figure representing the visceral experience of forces of nature. P...
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This is part of my series "Wizards of the Wakatipu", a series of landscapes with an enigmatic figure representing the visceral experience of forces of nature. People living in cities and working in offices - moving about in air conditioned vehicles - are losing touch with the experience of the elements. People fear the bite of frost and the feeling of rain on skin. Having moved to the wild south of New Zealand, I am reconnecting with the the elements and feeling more alive than ever. I believe that this relationship is vital if we are to save the planet.

This day began with the mountains and lake almost completely obscured in bright whiteness. By the time I got out to these rocks the fog was lifting and a brisk breeze was rippling the waters. I had been wanting to create a series using cloth moving with wind and water. The cloth is well used now and my collection of wizards is growing.
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13 Comments |
stamatispappas
 
stamatispappas June 09, 2015
So artistic! Congratulations!
Remraf
 
Remraf June 09, 2015
Great shot!
akhtarkhan
 
akhtarkhan June 09, 2015
Fantastic nice inclusion of male model in the landscape capture....well done. Congrats on the feature.
tetvet PRO+
 
tetvet June 09, 2015
cool image. congrats
chuckrickman
 
chuckrickman June 09, 2015
Quite different and impressive. Congrats on being featured.
itsnickelwell
 
itsnickelwell June 09, 2015
Great lighting on the subject.
photosfioreguti
 
photosfioreguti June 16, 2015
Breathtaking :)
Rmay1
 
Rmay1 May 20, 2023
Congratulations on your win in Life in Red contest.😊
pierrebellerose Platinum
 
pierrebellerose May 20, 2023
Congratulations!
Rivertay07 PRO+
 
Rivertay07 May 21, 2023
A well-deserved win. Super image.
AnnHopta PRO+
 
AnnHopta May 21, 2023
Congratulations Charters on your contest PC award. Great capture!
KarolaJ
 
KarolaJ May 21, 2023
Absolutely stunning photo! Well deserved award 👏
carloscunha1951
 
carloscunha1951 June 02, 2023
Pure perfection. Congratulations.
See all

Behind The Lens

Location

This photo was taken on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, near Queenstown in the South Island of New Zealand. This area has been home for the last five years and it's spectacular beauty has inspired me on my photography journey. The lake is the third biggest in New Zealand, 85 kilometres long and 400 metres deep. Carved by a massive glacier during the last ice age, mountains tower on both sides along it's length. I love the lake as it continually changes character with the shifting weather and light. From glassy as a millpond to churning maelstrom and everything in between, it captivates me and has become the subject of many shoots.

Time

This day began with the mountains and lake almost completely obscured in bright white fog. By the time I got out to these rocks the fog was lifting and a brisk breeze was rippling the waters. The fog had turned into mysterious looking, low, swirling clouds. I had been wanting to create a series using this shiny orange cloth to illustrate the forces of wind and water. This was the perfect day for standing on a rock in the lake clad only in my flapping cloak.

Lighting

The light, this morning began soft, mysterious and almost gloomy and was what moved me to setting up a shoot this day. The final image is much more contrasty, but shooting in this soft, even light allowed me to capture all the detail I needed.

Equipment

Shot with a Nikon D5100, and an 18-200 Tamron lens. 1000th sec at f4.0. The camera was mounted on a heavy Manfrotto tripod so it wouldn't move with the wind and set to shoot a series of images at 2 second intervals. A series of about forty images was taken to capture me with the wind wrapping the cloth around me; then holding the cloth extended to give it length in the final image and finally, shots of the scene without the figure.

Inspiration

This shot is part of my series "Wizards of the Wakatipu", a series of landscapes representing a visceral experience of the forces of nature through the eyes of an enigmatic human figure placed in the image. People living in cities and working in offices - moving about in air conditioned vehicles - are losing touch with the experience of the elements. People fear the bite of frost and the feeling of rain on skin. Having moved to the wild south of New Zealand, I find these feelings bring me closer to nature so that I feel a part of it, rather than separate. I believe that this kind of relationship with nature is vital if we are to save the planet.

Editing

This image is a composite which took lot of post processing. The technique is one I've used a number of times now. Photography for an image like this is all about capturing enough elements needed to assemble the final image. I start by working out where I'm going to be standing - a submerged rock near the shore; setting the camera on a tripod and focussing the lens on the water where I will stand. I shoot the scene first with the light just as I envisage it. Then the camera is set to interval timer mode, so I can take my position and try a series of possible poses and and positions of the cloth. The wind was variable, so sometimes the cloth was flapping crazily and I was able to let the wind wrap it around my body, other times it had to be thrown out in front of me. In Lightroom I picked the pose that worked best, with the cloth wrapped around me emphasising the contours of my body - and the shots where the flapping cloth was most dramatic. The cloth was actually much shorter than it appears in the final image. The length in the image was achieved by merging several shots where I had held the cloth out in front of me. By masking out only the parts I needed I was able to marry them to the cloth wrapped around me to make them appear as one. The masking and blending was all done in photoshop. Some creative use of the clone tool and some careful airbrushing helped to bring all the elements together. The scene as shot was quite soft and misty. I wanted the air to be more visible and I wanted the flapping cloth to be really shiny and sculptural so I took the composite image into Nik Software's Viveza application, which is great for making both global and very specific adjustments. The structure tool brought out out the drama in the sky and mist, also giving the water more presence. Finally a trip to Nik's Color Efex 4, to work on tonal and colour contrast to give the whole image a painterly look and really emphasise the colour, shininess and movement of the flapping cloak.

In my camera bag

I deliberated long and hard about upgrading from the Nikon D5100 I used for this image. Nowadays I carry a D7200, which gives all the control, autofocus and sharpness I could need for landscapes and my creative work. It has an APSC sensor so I get more bang for my bang in long focal lengths and it's lighter and easier than a full frame beast. Given that I'm often hiking up mountains, less weight is important. I have three zooms to cover the spectrum from super wide to close up. My Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 is great for dramatic foregrounds and perspective. I have just added a Nikkor DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 to get that abstract look you get from compressing the depth of a scene. Currently the mid focal range is covered by a DX Nikkor 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6G, basically a kit lens. It does the job, but I'm really looking to get something faster, that will handle low light and astrophotography. A tripod is essential for shots like this where I shoot using the interval timer. With early morning evening often the best times to shoot, the tripod keeps everything still and sharp during longer exposures. A "Big Stopper" ND filter slows exposures right down for when I want smooth out moving water or clouds. Aside from my camera equipment there is always a bag with "props". A long piece of shiny orange cloth can be used as a cloak or a flag or draped over elements in the landscape to highlight them or create a point of interest. I often carry hats or a leather greatcoat so I can dress up and add a figure to the landscape that somehow looks like he belongs there or is part of the story of the location.

Feedback

Shots like this require planning and patience. I spend a lot of time filing possible locations in my head and dreaming up dramatic scenes for them. Invariably, these scenes work best with extremes of weather, which mean extra care has to be taken to secure the camera and tripod, and to keep water, particularly, from the lens. There is an excitement that drives these shoots, often tempting me to cut corners or work too quickly, forgetting to check that images are perfectly exposed or focussed. There's nothing more frustrating than getting back home, after all the effort and finding that I haven't got all the shots I need, or that they aren't sharp or exposed correctly. Impatience can also lead to danger. There are times I've been out shooting in a freezing stream with a tripod standing in water, where my feet got so cold I couldn't feel them being cut by rocks and where a kind of delirium set in, making me careless with my equipment. Times like these call for patience.

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