Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ninja Warrior on the beach

The female ninja or kunoichi concept is one that I've been trying to develop for a while.  Whenever I find a model that is interested in this, I break out the ninja suit and props and experiment. Recently, I had the chance to shoot this idea with model Rosanna Picardi, whom I worked with while she visited  Kauai late last year.

I had originally planned to photograph her on some lava rocks near a beach house restaurant.  Unfortunately, we were unable to get permission from the restaurant to do the shoot there as it was too close to their property. I guess a sword wielding ninja does kind of distract from the family atmosphere of a restaurant. ;-)

We ended up shooting on the tiny crowded beach nearby.  The sun was going down quickly and we also had a swimsuit look that we needed to complete before our flight back that evening.

Ideally, this would have been shot with a greenscreen in a studio.  Since we had neither at the time, I had the model pose on a rock outcropping high enough that I could position myself slightly below her eye level. This put the clear sky behind her, (nature's version of a chromakey background) which made it much easier to remove in post.  I couldn't get the sky completely behind her as you can see, but I was able to get it behind her hair which is most important.  Hair is really difficult to mask out in Photoshop.

The other elements of the shot I had in mind I took while traveling in Japan this past December.  The roof she is standing on is from a temple that I found while walking through the back streets of Akihabara, the high tech electronics district in Tokyo.  Shot it with a Canon 40D.

Had to walk around the temple grounds a bit before I found the right section of roof that would work.

The mountain in the background is Mount Fuji, which I took from a moving bus while we were going to an onsen in Izu.  This was shot with a Canon Powershot G9.  I try to always keep a camera with me as I never know when I'll come across something I can use for a background or element in Photoshop.

The moon and smoke elements are from stock images I already had on file.  To get the nighttime look, I used a Lightroom preset called PH Bedtime with some minor tweaks.

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