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    Wednesday, 28 September 2011

    lets do a Halsman in the digital age!

    25 September 2011
    Mohammadpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh

    I had always been a great fan of Philippe Halsman's works..... his Dali Atomicus alone stirred my imagination many many times.... I always wanted to do something like that in the real world.... when I say in the real world, I mean achieving something like that without digital manipulation..... Halsman did that one in 28 attempts!.... and he was not sure whether it turned out right, as there was no LCD view available at that time!.... doing this today would be so easy!..... I'm sure that most would like to do this in Photoshop and make it absolutely perfect.... but where's the fun in that?..... where's the experience of achievement in that?

    so, there we go..... we decided to do this in our little makeshift studio.... we don't have Dali or his paintings to feature in the shot..... and we also decided not to use water or cats or any other rather ungainly flying objects, as we would be throwing all of that towards Lamisa.... yes, thats right, towards my lovely little daughter Lamisa..... we rather used some of her softest dolls to throw at her.... things that wouldn't even hurt a newborn (well, possibly!).....

    a white backdrop was a must to remove clutter.... and it was also much easier to edit out rusty spots on the white backdrop..... two light sources were necessary, as one would cast big shadows on the subject as well as on the backdrop.... small aperture needed to make the flying dolls at least somewhat in focus, otherwise they won't be understood as dolls.... one light source was my Elinchrom Ranger in the "Lazy Light" configuration.... and on the other side, I used three YN-560 flashes shooting through a 4'x4' DIY diffusion panel (gotta find a name for this combo!).... the three lights would ensure enough power to eliminate the shadows even at f11, which was the aperture I was shooting.... each flash was probably at 1/4 power to ensure enough flash duration..... the Ranger had no problem with flash duration either.... so, the flying dolls would experience no motion blur.... the YN flashes were all in optical trigger mode, and the Ranger was triggered by Elinchrom Skyport radio trigger.....

    my wife was throwing the dolls from behind me, so all the dolls were going in one direction..... there was no other option..... and the size of my studio forced me to do this in vertical frame..... we attempted a total of 25 attempts before we had to call it a day because of some unavoidable circumstances.... it wasn't perfect, but we knew that it might never be so.... yet, we tried it 25 times.... its that try, that effort, that make is something to remember..... if I had done this in Photoshop, I would never have taken the pleasure of writing a blog on this..... the best part of it was that we had a lotta fun.... :)

    much much more to come.....
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