This blog of Reidar Schopp covers my photography; primarily the back stories, concepts of the shoots, and challenges encountered. I am hoping this to become an open forum to share ideas, approaches, and potential collaborations.
© Reidar Schopp, All Rights Reserved, www.RLSFoto.com. Night Abstracts while driving in the San Francisco Bay area. Abstract Heart Mandala was built from 2 photographs. The center shield was a motion shot that appeared to be a fluted column with a sweeping arc. That arc created almost 1/2 of a valentine heart. Modifying the arc to create 1/2 of the heart, the remaining light was masked out. The image was then copied & flipped to create a full heart. The hear was then modifed to create the center shield of the composition.
Abstract driving in San Francisco on the 101 shooting from Car window. The "Inch Worm" is superimposed into the Dragon image. This is a composite of 2 images. The dragon was captured hand holding the camera during a time exposure as I drove along the 101 freeway in San Francisco. The object is a LED sign near the old Candlestick Park. The breakup of the streaking light are the bushes along the edge of the freeway that blocked the sign during the exposure.
Sea Urchin Kaleidoscope© Reidar Schopp, All Rights Reserved, www.RLSFoto.com. Initial image is a firework explosion for the center and street lights for the outer lines captured while driving at night.
The center "spiny" image was created from photographing fireworks July 4, 2014. The original image was an explosion that spanned about 130 degrees. So by replicating the image and rotating about the axis, I was able to get a 360 degree explosion. I also copied and flipped the image to add additional depth. The center pattern was created naturally by pinning the same corner of the explosion together where the corner was set to 90 degrees and copying the photo and flipping the image so that the same sides remained together. I masked out all the other layers so that this pattern would not be overlaid and disappear.
For the finishing touches on the center, for each 360 degree set of layers, I shifted the colors from the original orange to a purple layer and a red layer. The center yellow section was the outcome from changing the outer explosions to the purple and red.
The kaleidoscope of lines was from one photograph created from a time exposure that I shot while driving at night at the lights as the car passed. Using the same kaleidoscope technique as the "sea urchin" section, I picked a corner of the street lights and tail lights to form a pattern I enjoyed. I replicated the image 16 times to arrange into this pattern where I was flipping each image to keep the same sides connected. To clarify, I actually joined the first four and used that as a group to flip and replicate. Once I had a complete circle, I replicated that circle then flipped it and rotated 45 degrees to add the complexity of the pattern.
For enhancements to color, I used NIK Color's Bleach Bypass and Color Enhancer and a high level of Curves. This image is 30 inches by 30 inches and is over 2GB. It took me about 4 hours although the first couple of hours were trying to find the patterns that I found pleasing.
Dad, Look© Reidar Schopp, All Rights Reserved, www.RLSFoto.com. The concept was inspired by Gallery Azul's artist call out for a mermaid themed show. As I felt everyone would submit images of "real" mermaids, I wanted to pursue a little girl's fantasy of pretending to be a mermaid and then seeing one in the distant. But to tell a bigger story, I wanted her dad to be with her and interacting as a father.
520 West 8th Street
San Pedro, CA 90731
A group art exhibition dedicated to La Sirena (The Mermaid)
June 27 - July 2015
SATURDAY, JUNE 27th, 2015, 5pm-10pm
Las Sirenas (The Mermaids) are legendary aquatic creatures with the upper body of a female and the tail of a fish. Mermaids are part of folklore in many cultures worldwide. The first stories appeared in ancient Assyria in which the goddess Atargatis transformed herself into a mermaid out of shame for accidentally killing her human lover. Artists created their version of La Sirena.
Personally, I enjoy Gallery Azul’s artist callouts. These provide a direction that are usually different from where I am in the process of creating my art. For me, it is a challenge to come up with a concept and then take it where I do not think other artists will go. Of course, the tastes of the gallery also need to be considered.
Thinking about the concept, everyone will probably provide a mermaid as the main focal point. But how can I meet the requirements yet do something different?
Filming the music video “Nasty Tattoos” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA3mU-Eu4PU), Azmyth Kaminski (lead actor), Jeff Kozuch (The Reasons Why Drummer and primary songwriter), and I had just finished dinner (Jeff paid!). I wanted to show them the bar that I wanted to film at but I was not able to get the owner to give me permission (Free). We needed a scene with Azmyth walking into the bar so I turned on the camera and captured Azmyth walking in. There was a commotion inside the bar. A blonde tattooed bartender through Azmyth out. She was perfect for the female lead of the video. Talking to her, she agreed if I would do a family portrait of her husband, daughter, and her. I agreed
With the mermaid concept and that I owed Niko a family portrait, I felt a young girl with a mermaid tail hanging at the beach with her dad would work as a concept. My wife Gigi sowed the tail for Harlee, Matt agreed to participate. The concepts were: 1) Dad Oblivious 2) Dad and daughter sharing the discovery of the mermaids, 3) Dad oblivious to daughter being choked by the strap of the binoculars as he is trying to get a better view (after all, one mermaid is topless).
We went to Cabrillo Beach on a rainy day to create the three scenes. Harlee was great and actually pulled off the excitement of seeing mermaids even though they would only appear in Photoshop.
With the main subjects now created, the next steps were to add the mermaids. I had an image of Miss Pixie where I needed her to look depressed for a poem about suicide. Pulling her into the image on the right edge, a tail was added. To provide a reason for her sadness, a mermaid fin is added to where Harlee is excitedly pointing to the ocean trying to get her dad’s attention. The mermaid is swimming away from Miss Pixie, a mermaid breakup. The counter point to Harlee’s happiness and excitement.
This is the start of a new series although the idea was conceived years ago from the same source as the series "Boxed". Watching the news while working in San Francisco, a man was showing off his collection of Barbie dolls in their original boxes. To me, as he gesticulate
My initial concept was to replace the pirouetting doll collector with a thin, tall, scruffy white male in his late 40's. But the person I had in mind would not do it. Plus, replacing all the dolls in their original packaging with card board boxes and storage bins stacked behind the "collector" was not as easy as I thought, I did not have the skills necessary in Photoshop. So, for those initial images created became the series "Boxed". I left the concept of severed body parts for the future.
Chad Volpe Severed Head© Reidar Schopp, All Rights Reserved, www.RLSFoto.com. The basis of this concept is the same source as my Boxed Series: A man showing off his collection of Barbie dolls in their original boxes. Of course, I had to take it to an even darker place than the boxed series.
Chad Volpe is my first victim for this series. And he was very patient as the make-up artist Elizabeth Noriega and I worked out approaches to get the image as I envisioned. For the make-up, I wanted Chad to look "freshly dead" as he is part of a collection that needs to last and be displayed for others to enjoy. So, he was whitened first, followed by red to provide a splotchiness to the skin. Lastly, purple veins were drawn. With the make-up complete, we worked out the attachment of the copper barbed wire. I wanted a piercing to hook the barbed wire into Chad's head, but the piercers wanted too much money (Chad was ok with the piercings). So, Elizabeth tried various processes to get the wire to stay. We ended up using surgical tape and covering with putty and make up.
Next, was the photo of Chad outside of the bell so that I could capture his chin and neck. I knew that his shoulders would prevent his head from rising high into the jar. The dotted line represents the copy and paste of that area into the final composite.
Chad's Severed Head blog images© Reidar Schopp, All Rights Reserved, www.RLSFoto.com.
Finally, we ran the wires through the hole in the top of the jar. I set up the lighting: All DynaLite strobes, one on the floor behind Chad and 2 strip light soft boxes at 90 degrees to his head and the camera axis. The 2 strip lights were also narrowed creating a funnel from the lights to the glass leaving about a 1 1/2 inch opening at the glass. The in-camera image created follows:
Chad's Severed Head blog images© Reidar Schopp, All Rights Reserved, www.RLSFoto.com.
Lastly, in Photoshop all the pieces were assembled.
1) From the the original image with Chad under glass, I selected his head and the wire you can see attached to his temple. I then copied to its own layer, raised the head in the jar and then used "Puppet warp" to bend only the wire toward the hole in the jar.
2) Chad's head was then masked out of the original image.
3) The image of the empty jar was added to fill in where Chad's head used to reside in the original image.
4) Pasted in his chin and neck from his portrait outside of the glass. I made this layer a smart layer to manipulate the coloring and shadows to match the image of his head in the jar. I also used "Puppet warp" to have is neck hang straight down as his muscles were now separated from his shoulders. I also created a duplicate layer and turned it reddish purple, set it in the back and dragged it down a touch to get a red edge along the cut of his neck.
5) Lastly, a touchup layer was added to clean up lint, spots, etc.
By the way, the coloring is from NIK software where I used "Bleach Bypass" setting.
We shot 2 sets, the first with the copper barbed wire suspending Chad's head. The second was without wire but gave Chad a choice of multiple 100 year old pipes to use inside a different Bell Jar.
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