Shoot: Tree Image
This image is going to be, perhaps, the most complicated picture that I'm trying to complete in this series. I said perhaps, but I definitely mean it will be the most complex picture; because this is going to be almost entirely Photoshopped. From the moment I take the shot to the end product, it's just gonna be maybe one or two pictures and then the rest happening in the computer. What I need to do right now is to make it look like this entire room has a huge tree coming through the floor and up through the ceiling. The gist of it is that we're going to have our subject just totally enveloped in the tree roots underneath the room, so she is completely a part of nature and structure at this point. The difficulty in doing something like this is that there are a lot of small elements that will add to the believability of this final image. One of the most important pieces is making sure that the lighting is maintained on every single image that we end up putting in this picture. One of the...
m being the tree roots, another one being our subject, another being the tree itself; plus, the little details of how we're going to create holes in the floor and ceiling of this picture. Then there is an entire other aspect to this that is complicated in and of itself; which is that I'm shooting, essentially, a half above ground, half below ground image. I need to make it look like there's cut in the floorboards so that I can see below the house and in the room. That is complicated alone. When you add that with something shooting through a room, all these entry points of different objects that weren't there to begin with; this becomes a very complicated image. That's why we have to be completely ready and know what elements we need ahead of time. What do we need ahead of time? First of all, we need to know our angle. If I'm going to photograph something below this floor and above this floor, then realistically I have to get down really low to shoot these images so that I'm close to the floorboards that are coming toward my camera. Part of the reason why I'm using a 25 millimeter lens here is so that there is just a slight bit of distortion on the floorboards, so that they do look like they're really coming toward my camera; which is going to be helpful for creating a little bit of a dynamic believability with the perspective, here. That's one consideration. I have to make sure that I have the room completely cleared, which you can see we have done. So there's nothing in this space, which is making room for the tree. I'm actually going to use this column here as a little piece of the tree. That's going to be our marker of where the tree is going to go. You can see it doesn't actually go into the floor, but it is creating a shadow, so I'm going to know where the tree shadow needs to be in the end. That's going to be how this image comes together. It's going to be very complicated, but I think we have all the elements that we need. I'm going to get down low, and I'm going to shoot this room first. That way I have my very first image, I understand the angle that I'm getting on that, and then I can shoot my subject. First thing that I'm going to do is I'm going to get down low and I'm going to shoot this room. Let's go ahead and take a look. The lower you get the better in this situation, since we're going to see underneath these floorboards. Doesn't really make a lot of sense if I start shooting it like this, up higher, to then be able to see underneath the floorboards. The lower we get down with the camera, the more you're going to believe that we can actually see underneath the floor. That's going to be super important to the believability, here. I'm gonna get pretty low. I'm actually just gonna lay down to get comfortable. I think this angle's really nice. I'm at ISO 500 right now, and F 3.5. I'm changing my shutter speed to be 160. This looks pretty good from my angle. I'm just gonna flip my screen up a little so I can see better. I'm going to focus on the column in this room, knowing that that's where my tree will be. Where the tree is, is really important; because the tree will end up under the ground, and that's where our subject will be, as well. This is going to give me a sense of space. Knowing that this column is in the room, and that's where the focus is, I also need my subject to be relatively the same size and distance from my camera as this column is. I'm gonna go ahead and get my focus. That looks good. There are a couple things that I don't like in this frame, such as the windows; but that's something that I can deal with in post if I don't end up liking it. I'm gonna get my low angle. I'm focused on the post. I'm gonna go ahead and take my first shot, here. That's looking really nice. I'm just gonna move my camera around the room, making sure that I can expand this frame out if I need to. I'm gonna get some of the ceiling, here. That should do it for the images around the room. Maybe a little bit more floor, just in case. You never know where that edit is going to come in. Now that we've got everything in the room, we can get our subject. This is going to be a little bit more complicated, because our subject; we can't see exactly where she's going to be, yet. It's going to be a little bit difficult to envision, what will her background be, what will be touching her? All I know is that she'll be underground in the earth, in the dirt, and the tree roots are going to swoop in and sort of cradle her underneath this house. Knowing that, I wanna make sure that there's darkness around her. I don't know if it'll be pitch black, or if it'll be brown like dirt. So, I'm going to place her in a spot here, where there's natural light coming in; which will allow natural darkness to fall off in the background. We're gonna have her in fetal position on her back. If you wouldn't mind coming in, I'm gonna have you lay down just right about there. We've swept a little spot for her. I'm gonna have you on your back with your legs pulled up. Exactly. Instead of holding your knees, I'm actually gonna have you put your head up to your knee. Yep, just exactly like that. She just did it, everything's perfect. I'm gonna move back and get this shot. I'm making sure that I get a low angle, but not as low; because if I am as low as I was, then I would be shooting up at our subject, whereas if you can envision in this final image- Yes, relax. In this final image she'll actually be below the lens of my camera if she really is underground. I'm simply going to photograph her, maybe from just a little bit slightly above, here. Can you pull in in even further? Yep, that's it. Got it, okay. You can relax. Those were the pieces of this image that I needed to get right now. What you're not seeing me get is a tree and tree roots, as well as the hole; which I think that we talked about earlier that we saw a couple little holes around here in the floor. I'm going to try to use those as the entry point for the tree through the ceiling and the floor. After I get those, this image should be good to go, but I do anticipate a number of hours in Photoshop.