Category Archives: Geek

Stormtroopers (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

I was very excited to get the call from Scientific Galaxian to photograph their cover story on the new First Order Stormtroopers.  With the First Order’s advances across the galaxy, the magazine wanted to shoot in the desert of Jakku for it’s symbolic connection to the fall of the Empire. My assistant Josh and I jumped on a freighter to the planet and scouted the area. We loved the infamous star destroyer remains and knew that had to be the place to go. We also needed to get some seamless shots so we set up in the hotel room outside the small village we stayed in.

Josh got to try on an extra helmet for our light test.

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The troopers themselves were really cool, named FN-2187 and TK-1478, though we weren’t allowed to photograph them out of uniform.

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Our second day we headed out at dusk to the Star Destroyer site. It was a tricky shot to get as we didn’t have much time to get the remnants of the sunset while still being dark enough for a star field.  Luckily everything worked out perfectly. Unfortunately we needed to shoot the TIE fighters separately and add them in post.

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Thanks again to Camie who brought us in on this great project! Final layouts are below.

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Happy Star Wars Day. May the Force be with you!

Read also: Darth Vader Photo Shoot

Superman for Daily Planet Magazine

I got a call from Daily Planet Magazine last month that I was very excited about. Apparently editor Perry White saw my cover photo of Darth Vader and thought I would be a good fit to shoot the cover story about the one and only Kal-El! (a.k.a. Superman). I arrived at Metropolis International and took a cab straight to the Daily Planet building in midtown.

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We set up a backdrop in one of the back rooms while Kal was getting his makeup finished. Once finished he joined us and was extremely polite and accommodating (although he didn’t want to smile).

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Once we finished with the first setup we headed up to the roof to get some epic flying shots. It was late afternoon and the sun setting rapidly so we set up lights on the ledge. I knew it would be a tight schedule and since none of my assistants can fly we didn’t get to do any test shots but had to wing it. Luckily again Superman was very patient and made sure we had the shots we wanted.

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I am very grateful for this opportunity. Thanks to Perry White, article writer Lois Lane and reporter Clark Kent who was very helpful in setting the shoot up! Final cover and spreads below.

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Darth Vader for SPACE Magazine

Recently I got the opportunity to do a bit of a dream shoot. I was commissioned by SPACE Magazine to photograph none other than THE Darth Vader for his recent cover story. The logistics of making this happen were by far the most complicated production I have undertaken. It was decided that I would photograph him aboard his Star Destroyer Executor while it was stationed outside of the Corellian system. I was picked up in an Imperial Shuttle and taken to the ship, which was 40,000 light years away (thank God for hyper drives). We were greeted by a whole squadron of Stormtroopers which of course required the obligatory Stormtrooper selfie.

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We found a quiet out-of-the-way hallway to set up lights and a white seamless for our shots as well as a few around some of the nooks and crannies of the ship.

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Lighting Vader’s black dome was a significant challenge in itself. It reacts very different to light than the average human face. I was hoping he would be comfortable enough to let his guard down for a few shots without the mask but that was probably a bit overambitious on my part. I did get to play with one of the backup lightsabers though!

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We ran through a few different poses and ideas and fit in as much as we could into our allotted 10 minutes. I have heard horror stories of photographers  who overstepped their bounds and ended up doing labor in the Spice Mines of Kessel. Luckily I only lost one assistant who unwisely questioned the ways of the force.

In the end they chose this one for the cover and a few more for the feature article. Very excited to see this on stands across the galaxy!

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Camera Nerd Info:
Phase One 640 DF+ with  P40+ back and Schneider 80mm LS lens.
3 PCB Einsteins with various gels, soft boxes and reflectors.