About three years ago I was visiting San Francisco and had a day off from shooting and teaching to see the sights. I hit all the big attractions; Golden Gate Bridge, Haight Ashbury, Fisherman's Wharf, and more. San Francisco is full of beautiful architecture and fascinating cultural elements to photograph. While seeing the sights, I stopped in at Golden Gate Park (like San Francisco's Central Park equivalent). It began to drizzle outside so we headed to the museums to take cover. Once the rain settled down we continued to wander down a nearby road when I saw one of the most striking scenes I had encountered. Just tucked to the side of the road was a gorgeous, massive, gnarled tree. The roots danced around the floor, appearing to pulse like waves the scene. They would sweep across the ground, and then jut upwards toward the sky, twisting the entire way. The tree looked alive, almost like a monstrous sea creature with its tentacles intertwining. Mysteriously, from the road just a few years away, the scene did not look that stunning. From even a slight distance it appeared more like a mass of tangled roots, but nothing as stunning as the camera would reveal.
As I said, that was about three years ago and I have been pining and dwelling on shooting that location ever since. Finally, on my last trip to San Francisco in early October, I had my chance. For this editorial, in post (in Lightroom) I pulled all of the yellows and reds out of the tree, and added blue tones to the shadows. This would give a surreal paleness to the scene while giving a mysterious undertone. The images you see here have very little retouching, minimal if any at all. For images with red, I increased the vibrance on the red or changed the red tone a bit, yet the tree itself and its stunning shape is untouched.
These are the final images from the editorial, but this blog post is just part ONE of TWO... the next blog post will contain the video portion of this shoot AND moving images (cinemagraphs).
In these images I wanted the tree to appear to swallow up our subject. In many shots it looms high above her, or we must peer through the branches to see her huddled inside. This tree is a living and ominous force that seems to both control and protect her. In one images (in the red dress standing in the branches), she shows that she in in control of this domain, and becomes a striking element in the scene.
Have you ever fixated on a subject or concept for weeks? Even years? This was mine, and I hope you not only enjoy the images, but stop back in a couple of weeks to see Part 2! This image was just published in Papercut Magazine last week if you want a hard-copy of the shoot.
By the way, while you are here I thought I'd let you know that I was featured on NIK radio today, so feel free to listen here to my radio interview about my career and upcoming events I have going on, as well as my advice for people interested in the fashion photography world.