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Thread started 09 Nov 2012 (Friday) 09:00
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Is anyone ready for Christmas yet? {Before & After included}

 
LisaJH
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Nov 09, 2012 09:00 |  #1

My husband had stumbled upon this spot some 20 years ago on a hunting trip and just loved it. The crumbling foundation, fireplace, and chimney are all that remain of what was once an old homestead out, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere.

I took this shot of it not too long ago...

IMAGE: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5282/5296147518_7bae8622ea_o.jpg

Another 20 miles out this same dirt road and you have this (a tourist-free, quiet, and quite simply amazing view of the Grand Canyon)...

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7108/7628294216_6bcec8c744_o.jpg

Same location, different day, different angle...how did I get so lucky to live within short driving distance of this?

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8289/7637843890_d2349abd7d_o.jpg

Anyways, while trying to come up with a creative idea for my Christmas picture this year, this place kept popping up in my mind. I envisioned a fire roaring in the fireplace, stockings hung by the fire, and all of my kids snuggled around listening to a Christmas story in front of the fireplace. Sounds easy, but wow, it was a lot to pull off.

Firstly, the drive - it's about 2 1/2 hours from our house. We decided to do it this past weekend as it appeared to be the last weekend we would be having unseasonably warm weather. Imagine traveling miles of unkept dirt roads in a 15 passenger van - yep...haha. We arrived just before sunset (the sun was setting behind me if I were standing looking at the fireplace). Basically, this meant that if I went with natural light only, to expose the fireplace and my children correctly, the sky would be totally blown. This was definitely not what I had envisioned (I wanted a rich, warm sunset) so I decided to wait until the sun was down for good, and whip out my one little speedlight and do an OCF setup.

This is where yet another problem arose. My light stand is broken (the bracket that you attach the speedlight to at the top of the stand had fallen off...I guess this is what I get for buying cheap equipment) so I had to use my husband as a human light stand. No problem, but low and behold, I had forgotten my one little modifier - my white umbrella. How on earth did I forget my umbrella? I guess in the hustle to get all the kids together, their Christmas pajamas, their shoes, the camera, the props, etc etc, the umbrella was lost in the chaos. So...I came up with the great idea to bounce it off of my white reflector. How on earth I remembered the reflector when I forgot the umbrella is beyond me, but I was thankful to have it! I had actually thought about cutting Jeff's white T-shirt up and jimmy rigging a modifier, but I'm thinking the reflector did a much better job than that would have. LOL You should have seen my husband trying to manage the huge (52") reflector and the speedlight, but he did great! I believe the final image was shot at about 1/4 power, but I was fiddling with my settings so much that I don't remember for sure. I took a bunch of images but really only needed 1 good one. I decided that it would be easier to engage the kids in something (listening to a Christmas story) than try to get them all grinning at the camera for me. That definitely made it a bit easier. Elliott (the baby) is throwing a little fit here, but I liquified a tiny smile on his face so he looks happy - hahaha! Other than that, no head swaps! We really did have a fire lit in the fireplace, but quickly realized that it was going to burn the stockings to a pile of charcoal, so we had to extinguish it. So this is a composite image as the fire had to be 'swapped' in to this image from an image I took in the brief period of time that the fire was actually burning. I'll take a fire swap over a head swap any day though! lol

Ok, enough rambling, here's the end result. I adore it - that might be mommy goggles, or maybe not. Just had to share. :)

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8344/8158223282_c22a352030_o.jpg

And as promised, the before and after. You can see that I took some liberties in editing - fire added, sunset greatly enhanced with a gradient, clouds added, etc...

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7269/8158705787_0942cd4e7d_o.jpg

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x_tan
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Nov 09, 2012 09:04 |  #2

Nice works as usual.
Even nicer kids around :D


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rick_reno
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Nov 09, 2012 09:12 |  #3

very nice works even better, really like those after shots and the shots of the canyon are stunning




  
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SoCalTiger
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Nov 09, 2012 18:27 |  #4

Great shots all around. I'm pretty jealous of how close you live to that. Those are excellent landscape shots that belong in a calendar or something. The final Christmas picture looks excellent also.


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wards75
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Nov 09, 2012 20:26 as a reply to  @ SoCalTiger's post |  #5

Beautiful, love the idea! It definitely turned out great!


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russ71satellite
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Nov 09, 2012 22:18 |  #6

Thanks so much for posting these, and most especially the background story of how it came together. Beautiful work!


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mjww
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Nov 10, 2012 08:12 |  #7

I love the Christmas theme shoot. It is giving me ideas! :-)
Very nice landscapes too. You are lucky to live so close!


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photorookie
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Nov 30, 2012 17:04 |  #8

Already told you how awesome this family shot is! And I cant believe nobody counted the number of stockings compared to the number of children!

Since it is Facebook news, congrats on the news of number 10!

Gary S.




  
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mjww
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Nov 30, 2012 18:03 |  #9

Doesn't everyone get to put up more than stocking? :-(


Equipment list - According to the wife - "how many more lenses do you need? Yet another camera?"  ???

  
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Ingerson"PCD"
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Dec 01, 2012 02:59 |  #10

Very nice.


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CJCMarquez
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Dec 01, 2012 03:43 |  #11

Great editing in the final shot. The landscapes shots are amazing too.


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rrblint
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Dec 01, 2012 04:02 as a reply to  @ CJCMarquez's post |  #12

Beautiful shots...Love your Christmas card shot.


Mark

  
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sebr
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Dec 01, 2012 04:20 |  #13

Great spot, that's a nice christmas card!


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BDKR
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Dec 01, 2012 19:42 |  #14

What ^they^ said...

Might have to steal that idea for next year....with permission of course...


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Is anyone ready for Christmas yet? {Before & After included}
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