Warrior in the Quarry

ISO 100, Focal Length 32mm, Aperture F14, Shutter 1/125

On July 25 I did a concept photoshoot with the Butdragonstho Cosplay at Quarry Oaks Park with a set of foam armor that I commissioned from the foam-smith, Maker Fishmeal. The concept for this shoot was Valkyrie/warrior woman.

For this shoot I used:

  • Canon 80D
  • Speed Light
  • Wireless transmitter
  • Painter’s Pole extendable to 12-feet
  • Assistant (who happens to be my husband)

For this shoot,  I went with a VAL (voice activated light stand, i.e. my husband with a painter’s pole) because we were shooting on location and I wanted to make sure the light was above and pointed down at my model.  An assistant with a painter’s pole a bit easier to move around while maintaining the appropriate social distances; compared to the large light stands, I would have needed to get the appropriate height.  

I shot 109 frames at ISO 100 and primarily used two apertures F9 and F14 because it was a bright sunny day.  My shutter speed varied from 1/30s to 1/1250s with most shots being taken at 1/125 to keep up with the sync speed of the speed lights.  The shot at 1/1250s was to see what would be the proper exposure of the sky when shooting towards the sun to give me a baseline image to dial the rest of the images into.   My focal length varied from 18mm to 90mm, with most of the images being shot between 28mm – 35mm. Of the109 frames shot, I edited 89 frames and released 66 final images.

I liked working with Butdragons Cosplay on this concept shoot because she is a cosplayer who understands how foam armor can bend/move, familiar with prop weapons, and can easily pick up a character concept.  Plus, she is also a pleasure to work with.  We worked in two areas of the quarry, one in direct sunlight and the other in an area with a little bit of shade.

My favorite image from the shoot is the one below, I like the power behind the shot and it gives that strong warrior woman feel.  In this shot the sun is behind here, so we lit her with a speed light placed in front of her and pointed down, zoomed down to about 105mm.  You can tell I was used flash based on the shadows being cast, but if I did not use a flash either the sky would be completely blown out or the model would be in complete shadow. When editing the image, I balanced the image, got rid of redness in the skin tone, and reduced both clarity and vibrancy to give her a bit of a glow. Finally, I added a bit of vignette to pull the image together.

ISO 100, Focal Length 40mm, Aperture F14, Shutter 1/125

This second shot I like because it is just a strong powerful woman shot.  In this shot the model was looking in the direction of the sun, but we still popped a flash on her so I could keep the blue sky and add just a bit more separation between her and the background.  I used the same editing technique on this image as the one above. My goal in this set of images was to give the model soft glowing skin, so it would seem like she was a bit other worldly.

ISO 100, Focal Length 24mm, Aperture F14, Shutter 1/125

This final image shows a strong woman in repose.  I will say she handled this pose well because the armor is not made for seductive lounging, but she managed it well. This was one of the few images we were able to shoot in the shade due to the direction of the sun and the rock faces providing some shadow. For this image the flash was to the camera left,  pointed down at the model.  When editing I followed the same basic flow as I did for the previous images. 

ISO 100, Focal Length 28mm, Aperture F9, Shutter 1/125

Overall, this shoot went well, even if by the end everyone was covered in sweat from being out in the heat and sun.  I wanted to originally do this shoot with wings, but alas those were not ready in time for the shoot.  However, I feel the shoot worked well without the wings.  So I will be shooting this again with wings, and then eventually a second set of armor will be commissioned to do a warrior fight scene. 

Want to see more work follow these Instagram accounts. 


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