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Life Before Photoshop

Life Before Photoshop: Russell Athletics

Look ma, no Photoshop

I’m sure some of you can relate to the phrase often said by one or both parents or by someone that was in control of your daily lives, and it went like this, “You think you have it tough? I had to walk to school everyday in the freezing cold and two feet of snow.”…or something to that order.

Well, I can honestly say that I never said that to any of my four kids…why? Because they were raised in Houston, Texas!!

But one phrase I have said (repeatedly) to my online class with the BPSOP, and to those that have taken one or more (some ten) of my “stretching your frame of mind” workshops I conduct around our planet is “Once upon a time Adobe was only known as a type of house in the southwest part of the US, and everything had to be done in the camera; one exposure, one click”.

I don’t blame the majority of my fellow photographers that fell in love with photography after the advent of the digital era. That said, these people think that Photoshop, HDR, and all the weird plug-ins are a vital part of image making, and as a result the challenge of getting it in the camera will become obsolete when people like me are long gone.

More’s the pity!! The good news is that I won’t be around to witness it, and the bad news is that I won’t be around to continue the fight.

The above photo was challenging because I had to create the movement in the camera. It was a two page consumer spread appearing in sports magazines, and the art director wanted an attractive fit looking woman jogging while wearing clothing made by Russell Athletics.

I picked a location near downtown Houston that was a small bridge that had some character, while showing the skyline. I scouted the location ahead of time with my Sunpath program and hand bearing compass, and determined that sunrise would be ideal as far as having light coming from the 10 o’ clock position.

I was in a convertible with the top down and my assistant was driving alongside her at the same rate of speed she was going. I was shooting at a fairly slow shutter speed so as to make it seem like she was running faster than she was. Since her feet were moving faster than the rest of her they appear to be blurred more.

All this was accomplished in the camera, one exposure, one click.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my 2018 workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me sometime. I’ve a couple of openings in my Springtime in Berlin workshop next May 23rd. A fantastic city with so many great locations we’re going to be shooting.

JoeB

Life Before Photoshop: New York Stock Exchange

Look ma, no Photoshop!!

For those that follow my blog, I wanted to take a moment to tell you all how much I really appreciate it. I’ve had a post come out every five days for the past six plus years, and  now I have a big following; again thanks so much to everyone for supporting my blog and continuing to tune in.

I love all my categories, but the one that really takes me back in time is my “Life Before Photoshop”. When I look at the production shots it amazes me that there was a time when you had to be dead on as far as the exposure and the way the photograph was set up.

When I show my PowerPoint presentation on this to my “Stretching Your frame of Mind” workshops, I tell them that there was a time when the name Adobe was a type of house in the Southwest part of the country.

I’ll show images to my online classes with the BPSOP as well, and quite a few of these photos were shot even before the onset of computers. In fact, I shot annual reports all the time back then and every company wanted pictures of their brand new computer room.

These were huge rooms with huge machines everywhere. These rooms were kept ice cold for some reason that escapes me now. Now, my iMac 27 with all the bells and whistles is more powerful than all those behemoth computers.

I was asked to shoot a picture for the New York Stock Exchange of an affluent woman in her studio that was connected to the main house. The idea was to show that investments were a good thing and enabled you to do whatever you wanted.

I came up with the idea of making this woman a potter and working on a vase in her studio. After looking for just the right place, and not finding what the art director wanted, we decided to turn one of the rooms in my house into a studio.

We  moved all the furniture out and started with an empty room, then began designing/creating the perfect potter’s studio; bringing in props that one would see in such a studio.

The set up

I had two very powerful 12K Daylight balanced lights that are used in TV commercial and motion pictures outside the room on my deck. To add to the ambience, we used a fog machine to smoke up the room to give it a diffuse, moody, feel good look.

The cat was provided by a friend of mine who was a vet. My producer was actually under the table next to the cat to keep her there for the thirty seconds I needed after the room looked right.

This image is the result of one 35mm Kodachrome transparency, one exposure, one click.

Next February in conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be returning to Cuba for the fourth time. My next springtime workshop will Berlin next May; an incredibly beautiful city.

If you’ll send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com  I’ll create a video critique for you.

JoeB

Life Before Photoshop: GATX

Look ma, no Photoshop.

I can tell you from lots of experience that the glory days of advertising yielded some pretty far-fetched campaigns; some of them made me laugh out loud when I was sent a rough layout of what the art director wanted me to shoot.

The process of getting the final advertisement into a radio spot, a television commercial, a magazine, newspaper, or on a billboard was (and still is) daunting at best. If the advertising agency was one of the larger ones it had to go through several levels before a sketch was offered to a group of photographers for a competitive estimate.

First, several teams made up of a writer and art director create a campaign. Usually the writer comes up with the concept and writes the copy, then the art director comes up with the visual. Each of these teams makes a presentation to the client in a big meeting in the conference room.

The client picks the campaign and then it’s off to the races. First it will be submitted to different focus groups that will evaluate the product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Then if there opinions are positive the campaign begins and the money starts pouring out.

I’m telling you all this to let you see how sometimes a very stupid idea can make it all the way to your eyes and ears!!

I was doing a campaign for GATX, a leading railcar leasing company based all over the world. My job was to paint one of their railcars, then add the lights to make it look like an ambulance (are you with me so far???) and have it appear as if it were speeding down the track and coming to the rescue.

If this same photo was done in today’s digital world, it would have been easy to create in the computer. As I tell my online students that take my BPSOP classes, and my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshop participants I conduct around our planet, when I was producing these photographs Adobe was a type of house in the southwest part of the country.

I’m not trying to repeat the proverbial phrase our parent’s said…something about walking three miles in a blinding snowstorm to school. I say to my fellow photographers to meet the challenge and try to get as much in the camera as you can, and let clicking the shutter be the final step in capturing your idea; then tweak it in either Lightroom or Photoshop.

I digress.

 So here’s how I did it all in the camera:

After having it painted by a close friend I always used to solve any problems, and make anything in the world I asked for, we waited until the blue hour after the sun had set.

A frame was made for the headlights and then lit by a generator. To get all the lights to look the way they did, we smoked the area up with a fog machine.

To create the right exposure ( Kodachrome 25) and make it look like it was screaming down the track, I open the shutter to record the sky and the all the lights. Then, during the time the shutter was opened,  we moved the railcar backwards to create the feeling that it was moving forward.

Nothing to it!!

Questions?

 

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. Come shoot with me some time. This coming January Along with William Yu, I’ll be taking a group to China to photograph the flooded rice terraces and also the tribal villages. Next February in conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be returning to Cuba for the fourth time. My next springtime workshop will Berlin next May; an incredibly beautiful city.

Send me a photo and ask me anything about photography to: AskJoeB@gmail.com and I’ll create a video critique for you.

JoeB

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