Action Hero Series: Safari Hunter

Our Hunter seeks direction from an African Queen as he searches for his prey.

Our Hunter seeks direction from an African Queen as he searches for his prey.

When it came time to shoot the safari hunter I knew this was an image that would require the most work in post production. Since we were not traveling to Africa for this set I would have to turn a open field in south Alabama into a African plain. The first task was finding a location that allowed me to blend in existing elements with the ones I would add in later.

I knew I needed an open area, preferably with grass and if possible very few trees. Even though I could take out everything I knew if I could keep the shot as close to the final image as possible I would create a more convincing scene. Once the location was found the next part was lighting can composition. For the lighting I starting with a octabox with grid on the opposite side of my subjects above head level. This gave me interesting shadows on their face but Steffen’s hat threw most of his face too close to black. To raise the shadow side I placed a low powered flash to the left of the camera aiming under the hat brim.

I experimented with several camera angles but in the end decided on a lower position so as to emphasize the characters and keep the scene behind their heads clear. The next step to completing this image was to get some clip art of things you would expect to see in Africa such as the trees and animals. With all the elements in place I began post work bringing in each element on a layer and using layers to remove elements that looked to much like Alabama.

Everything behind the characters was placed so as to fit the overall composition and then blurred to give it the illusion of being off in the distance. A haze was added using a paint brush which I blurred to give the impression of dust. I also removed everything green from the scene so to add the concept of a hot dry place. The image was finalized by adding sky and toning the color to a brownish hew to emphasize the climate.

This image was the only one in the set that required a total make-over in the scenery to create the look I wanted. It is also one of my favorites as it reminds me of old movie posters. This marks the fourth image in a set of ten. Tomorrow will be the last image for the week so I have a special force to hold you over the weekend.

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