Action Hero: The Fireman

The fireman walks away from the smoldering embers of the fire.

The fireman walks away from the smoldering embers of the fire.

We are on the ninth image of the ten image action hero series.  This series was inspired by the toy Captain Action. Designed to be an alternative to the very popular G.I. Joe toys, the Captain Action figure came with just a basic jump suit. You could then purchase accessory packs and make him into any hero you wanted. Like action movie stars of today there was not anything that Captain Action couldn’t do. The goal was to portray this concept by having Steffen playing the various heroic parts that young boys often daydream about. In putting together the sets I tried to think of what type of action heroes I played as a child. Without a doubt the one I played often was a fireman. I can remember my mom couldn’t find a toy fireman hat for me, so she got me a red plastic baseball cap and put it on my head backwards. When I said it didn’t look right, she said to use my imagination. Which is exactly what I’ve been doing ever since.

For the shoot though we really needed a fireman’s suit. Thankfully our make-up artist Amanda’s dad was a fireman and was willing to loan us the gear. Typically firemen do not work without a shirt around real fires, but Steffen has a huge female fan following and since this was a collaboration I knew we needed one “beefcake” image to keep his fans happy. So for the firemen or families of firemen who see this, we know, but you know the saying, “If the woman isn’t happy, no one is happy.” Originally I wanted to use the fire station’s fire house they use for training, this way we could have real fire. The city was too fond of the idea though. They kept seeing liability while I’m seeing a cool picture. Since I couldn’t actually set a house on fire I had to find an alternative for the background. Thankfully fellow local photographer had built his own walls as backdrops on his land and was willing to let us use them.  The lighting for this shot was the simplest of the series with only one light in a octabox to camera right. To create some rim lighting I drug my shutter a little and allowed some ambient to bleed in. A fireman needs a fire or at least smoke from one which we made by placing a smoke bomb in a cutout of the wall behind him. The smoke bomb gave about three minutes of smoke but a breeze from a approaching storm dispersed the smoke faster than I wanted. To fill the scene with more smoke I used a custom brush in post to add it to the scene. The fireman suit on loan to us was also very clean so to dirty it up I used a hue/saturation layers set to multiply with a low saturation to create a dirty look to the trousers. Using a layer mask I took this same layer at an even lower opacity on to his skin so that he looked dirtier and more soot covered. The image was finalized by an overall desaturation and color adjustment then finally adding a noise layer to give it some grain.

Typically when showing work either personal or assignment I show everything in one posting, but I have really enjoyed releasing one image at time. Showcasing the images like this has caused me to think more about how they look individually and as a whole. Since this is the next to last in the series I began thinking about what I could do next. I decided that since Halloween was coming I would do a series of images with a “creepy story” theme. I am starting working on shooting the material now and will release them in a similar manner starting October 28th. As for the Action Hero series the final image will be posted tomorrow, so be sure to check back to see us cowboy up.