August 2017 was a busy month! The lovely and talented Byrony O'Dame of Queen Bee MUA got in touch to ask if I could take part in a concept she was pulling together. The shoot we were doing was based on King Triton from the Disney film The Little Mermaid.
I was so excited to finally get to work with gold, it looks amazing in post if edited right, but also to capture images with morning light. Our King Triton was modelled by the stunning Luke Baker, and some of you may know him as one of the Dreamboys! Both Byrony and Luke worked through the night bringing both the concept and look to life! I believe they started around 11pm and worked straight through to the early hours, meeting up with the rest of the gang just after 4:30am at Shoebury East Beach.
Myself and Dale Mapleston who was sorting out the lighting for the shoot had arrived a few minutes earlier and we got to enjoy the early morning landscape. It was eerily quite but also beautifully calm. If I could get up at 4am every day during summer I think I would, alas my bed is just too comfy for that!
Once the gang was together we set to work to get things ready. Some of the sea defences on the beach are made up of these huge boulders. It was a balancing act for everyone to navigate and hop across each one, while donating pints of blood to the resident mozzies that were everywhere! Dale dropped his car key on the walkway that runs over rocks to the beach, and to top it off it wasn't long before the tide started to roll in! Despite an initial search no one could find his keys, it literally was a car key in a haystack. Against all the odds however, towards the end of the shoot Dale found them tucked away between two rocks!
Byrony wanted something backlit so my job was to try and overpower the incredibly bright morning light. For this, it was a combination of off camera flash using a Canon Speedlite with a softbox and a reflector. Thinking back to it I suspect I was using ETTL which might explain why it was so difficult at times, even with the flash power at max to overpower the sun. Lessons learned!
Once we had enough shots on the boulders we moved to the beach to do some shots with the tail. Luke was a trooper for putting up with laying in all that sand, it couldn't have been comfortable. Some of the positions I asked him to do did cause his lower back to play up, but Byrony was there to help nurse our King back to health.
By the end of the shoot my favourite images have to be those in the water. Luke kneeled down to give the appearance that he is standing at waist height. Byrony was also in there with him using a reflector to fill the shadows. I'm laying flat on the damp sand with the camera directing Luke. I can still recall the dulcet tones of King Triton screaming out 'BYYYRRROOOONNYYY'. The things we do for our art!
And that's a wrap! Before the shoot I was anxious about whether I'd deliver what was wanted. I think it's normal to doubt ourselves, that said, as we looked back at the shots on the camera I could immediately tell there were some amazing images! Ending the shoot we had a toast of bubbly and enjoyed the warm morning sunshine and good company.