Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Romeo & Juliet Revisited - Day 48 of 365

Romeo & Juliet Revisited (48 of 365)

On day 24, I did Romeo & Juliet using my daughter Ava's toy house set that she got for Christmas ( ). Tonight, as I was trying to think of my picture, I was listening to the song Romeo & Juliet by Dire Straits and I decided that I would take on the same project from a different perspective. The song, by the way, is just about perfect. It starts off with Mark Knopfler playing an awesome riff on a vintage National Style O guitar (very similar to this one: ) and then it goes into some of the best lyrics that I have heard. Needless to say, I love the song.

For this picture, I put the whole set up on a makeshift table so I could re-create the scene with a low perspective (almost Romeo's perspective). I had to lay on the floor to get the shot from this perspective. I used a gridded SB-600 flash camera left and high pointing down at Romeo and I used another SB-600 flash (with a grid and tape over it to tone it down) camera right pointing up at Juliet's face. For the room light I used (guess) an actual room lamp. I used a desk lamp aimed into the back of the room so the light actually looked like interior light. For the stars, which were essential given the quote that I used from the song, I used Christmas lights in the background and went for a bokeh effect.

My wanting bokeh presented somewhat of a problem because, in order to get the bokeh that I wanted, I needed to use a fairly short depth of field (f/5.6on my 50mm lens), which would have rendered either Romeo or Juliet out of focus. To solve this problem, I actually took two pictures, one focused on Romeo and one focused on Juliet. Then, when I got them to the computer, I layered the two together and brought the in-focus Juliet through to the Romeo layer. So, in the end, they both appear in focus (it's true, check out the big version). It would have been impossible to take the picture this way with just one shot.

Another trick that I used was to make a duplicate of the Romeo layer using a tungsten white balance, which gave a blueish tone to everything. I used this as an additional layer. You see this blue tinted layer mostly on the house -- I used the neutral balance layers for Romeo, Juliet and the interior lights. In my opinion, this gave the overall scene kind of a "moon lit" feel and it made the parts from the neutral white balance layers feel warmer.

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