Wednesday, 25 March 2009

If that wouldn't happen, that would suck!

Good news everyone! Last week we had brilliant sunshine in York (UK!). A good excuse to wander around and wonder what would happen if the trees would remain leafless despite sunshine and green grass ... forever. Well that's quite a downer thought, the result of a desperate soul tormented by dampness, darkness and fog ...

Luckily my friend the tree put an end to those sinister thoughts and prevented me from signing up to the dark side of the Force by showing me this:

Photo by Martin Trefzer, 2009.

Awesome colours, isn't it? So my weekend was saved and my mind was freed to think other important thoughts: how can I get a coffee, fast, and without having to go somewhere inside?!?

Monday, 16 March 2009

Ace of Spades and Lighting

A fellow photographer Matt Grum recently featured this shot on his blog.

Photo by Matt Grum, March 2009

I think the look he achieved here is absolutely fantastic. This mixture of David-Lynch-not-Black-but-Red-Lodge and the vaudeville magician scenery works really well and makes for an amazing shot.

The look of the picture has been achieved using only two studio lights. The model is lit with a large softbox from camera left and care has been taken not to ruin the look of the background when light from this source spills on it. A second (snooted flash) spot light is adjusted in a way to obtain the light cone on the curtain behind the model.

Apart from the lighting, what makes this picture impressive is the whirlwind of cards surrounding the model. If you are not an employee of Pixar studios, the only way is to invide many, many friends who throw (and pick up) shitloads of cards at the model ... OR ... you just repeat the whole process with only one friend and one deck of cards a few times when using a camera on a tripod to shoot the scenery multiple times. Applying your friend Eraser Tool later when combining the shots in Photoshop, will allow you to achieve this look! Since the background does not change, this is relatively easy and no advanced masking techniques are necessary.

However, in case you like this shot as much as I do and you are interested in the details of the lighting setup, please visit Matt's blog and read how he's done it.

By the way, my own shot of Hitchkock like attacking Seagulls has been achieved with the same overlay technique.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Darwin the Philosopher

Right before Christmas last Year I was asked by the York Philosophy Society whether they can use one of my photos from Flickr for an article in the Spring issue of their philosophical online magazine Dialectic Online. I gave permission and here it is: the article Darwin the Philosopher in issue no 4 (Spring 2009).

Photo by Martin A. Trefzer, Autumn 2008

Originally, I only knew that the topic of this issue would be Life & Death. It is thus a quite funny coincident that the topic of the article, for which my photo has been used, is about Darwin and natural evolution, since in the research area I am working in these principles are applied to the design of novel, unconventional (basically weird) technical systems.

I know it sounds a bit like Terminator to the above 25s and a bit like Transformers to those below. So far, nobody achieved anything even close to scary though, so don't worry ... yet! In this respect it is interesting to read an article about the principles of Natural Evolution, when approached from a philosophical rather than engineering perspective.

For everyone who has ever wondered how the hell (and for what price) a cell turned into a cat at some point, the article in Dialectic is worth a read. If you want to know more evolution background I suggest to start reading about Charles Darwin and Evolution in the Encyclopedia Galactica.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Indian Meets Vintage Meets Photoshop

Recently when I was flicking through Flickr, I came across this entertaining portrait by Miss Lulu & The Teaspoon Shortage. This sounds Dada itself, just like the Native American feather headdress on a white girl's head in front of the read kind of Heritage-ish wallpaper - cool!

Photo by Lucia Holm, 2009.

She's got a few more portraits of this kind on her Flickr page, which is definitely worth a visit. She's also registered as a photographer on Modelmayhem.

When I first saw the photo I hoestly thought she was a Brit, despite the Native American headdress. There was the way she looked ... the wallpaper ... the way the pony of her own hair is cut ... So I was quite surprised to read on her profile that she's from Middletown, NJ (must be some roots somewhere ...).

Anyways, let's cut the drivel and reveal the clou of this picture: the wallpaper in the background is not real! . Yeah it's true, the background is photoshopped. The good news is that you can get the brushes and wallpaper for free from and and some of them are even available for various image editing programs (Photoshop 7+, Photoshop Elements 2+, Gimp 2.2.6+). The bad news is you have to patiently replace the background of your original picture ...