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Aug 23, 2014

One Great Wedding 28 June, 2014

As I sat under the night sky, I again found myself thinking back to my recent trip to Namibia. It wasn’t a holiday, but it wasn’t work either. This, was much, much more.

You see, this trip, was for a wedding. But, not just any wedding, no. This was my younger brother’s special day. He had met his very special lady through his circle of friends. To cut the story short, things went well and they are now very, very happily married.
I can’t remember when last I have seen Brendon this happy as I did over that weekend. Quite a bit of time has passed since and I still think back on it.
[Tokens of thanks will be mention first in my little story]
First off was the announcement, then the planning etc. that built up to the big weekend. So, my first thanks must go to Stephen and Robyn, for hooking a brother up. Without you guys (and whomever contributed), I would not have been there to share their day. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, I love you all so dearly.
 Stephen Robyn, Sinead and Abigail Scott

Right, now I had to make a plan to get to the airport. Victor Moss and Leanne (soon to be Moss) Van Zyl, thank you for putting me up for night night. Oh, and tolerating my pongy shoes and somewhat rapid exit the next morning. Love you guys too!
Victor and Leanne Moss
We landed in Namibia just minutes before the Scotts and Dougalls from Johannesburg. What a treat! The gathering has started. Here’s Michael and Annemarie Scott, with their 2 year old daughter, Gia. Whom I only just met in Namibia. Thank you for travelling all the way from Louis Trichardt to join us.

Michael, Annemarie and Gia Scott
  Thank you, for being there, the company and the chance to finally meet Gia in person. Thank you too Michael, for the walks, I really enjoyed them.
Now, we can’t forget the cousins, Robert and Kylie, (the real Jo’burg family) who arrived on the same plane from Jozi. Thank you guys for being there, for all that you guys did in making the weekend what it was.
The family is coming together now. 

We step through passport control, collect our luggage and are greeted by the last brother and the love of his life. We will get back to them later…
We arrive at Farm Finkenstein, just in time for brunch. At this point we are met by the new extensions to the family. The bride’s mom, Malize, thank you for opening your arms to our irregular family. The sister Nadia, who became a friend and of course, our guide, driver and liason when needed.
There are a few more names that need to be mentioned before we go onto the main event. Erika and Shawn, the residents of Farm Finkenstein. Two more awesome people who opened their house to us. Put us up for the weekend in some incredible rooms and put up with us. They provided great company and presented us with some fantastic feasts. Thank you very much for everything that you did. Shawn, you can braai, champion.
Now, I could carry on and on, but you’re here to read about a wedding and see some pictures, right? Well, okay…
Introducing the stars of the story.
Brendon and Carmen Scott.
Good looking couple, aren't they?
First off, on the lighter side, they apparently have a debate as to who is more uh, ‘full of it’. We now have the pictures to prove it. Oh my…
 
Okay, but seriously, Brendon could not have found a better person than Carmen. It’s been a long time since I have seen Brendon this happy, truly happy. Now, the arrangement between Brendon and myself was to shoot only post weeding photos… but, I couldn’t do that. What, the whole ceremony must just be cell phone pictures from behind, really? So I walked about and took photos of it all. In hindsight, there could be one or two that I missed, but I got most of it.
But. let’s rewind a bit…
First off, we all played our part in setting up what we could and of course, there had to be a little tension, but that blew over quicker than a Gauteng storm. Tables were set, all extras in place. My beautiful mom, Mavis Scott, made these really awesome thank you cards and face cloths with a B and C embroidered into them.

 
The entire d├ęcor, when done, looked like it was done by professionals. Well done to all who helped make it look so good!
How the cards and face cloths looked on the table
It all looked so great!
View from the married couple's seats
A view of the intimate dining area, very well set up.
So, the wedding was small and intimate with only close family and friends.
 
 
Brendon took his place up front, next to the Pastor. The crowd took their seats, but had to leave them behind because we still needed them for the ceremony.
 
Carmen emerged with her mom Malize (apologies for the spelling) by her side and I must say, Carmen, looked amazing.
 
 
 Brendon was brimming with excitement. We could tell by his inability to stand still, or keep his hands steady, or the fact that he could not stop grinning. Carmen, kept her cool better, but the tell-tale signs were there, she was just as excited.
 
 
The wedding went off without a hitch and nobody objected. The rings, everything was perfect. Except, maybe for the one or two cheesy jokes. Then it was first photo time… and everybody wanted in on that action… as a photographer, this is the challenging time. There are so many over-eager, paparazzi types and that resulted in me bobbing about between the frenzy to get my piece too. I, somewhere along the line, was the lucky one who managed to find the piece of metal with a tap attached to it. Well, my right knee actually. A little blood was worth it though. But after all that, my time was now…

Finally, some quiet time with the newlyweds. They spoke about a very special tree and the rail tracks… I like both ideas and had the privilege of seeing them prior to the wedding. Let’s go!! We hopped in the little Toyota Fortuner and rolled gracefully through some pretty rough terrain to the uh, Pappul? Well, The Giant Australian Oak Tree. This is where Brendon and Carmen took their first “couple Seflie”, so it was a must.

Brendon showing His Support for Carmen

Carmen correcting Brendon's manners.
Their love for all life.
 
Kylie had asked me ealier that Saturday, why I was smiling. I told her it was because of the clouds in the sky. It made little sense to her at the time… I’m sure she understands now…
 

 
 We had allot of fun during the shoot (as you’ve probably noticed already) and as usual, I was shooting on a bit of a whim… getting ideas as we went along. Between myself, Nadia, Carmen and Brendon, we really got creative. In this photo (during editing), I noticed the cloud formation resembled a heart. So, a little cloning and painting, I managed to emphasise on that shape. I hope they noticed. If they didn’t, they would now… see the difference?  


Okay, I’m running out of things to write about, so I’m going to call it an end. But, a last few words need to be said. It was a fantastic weekend, including the game drive and everything else we saw and did. Again, I say thank you to everyone involved. To see two people so happy together is something amazing. Weddings always seem to bring people together in love and happiness. Even the people who are not getting married. I have found new love in such a short time for my new sister-in law and her family. I still think back every day on that weekend and how special it was.

Much love to all of my family.

Jun 6, 2014

Water Legs - Photo Manipulation

I've done something out of the norm again!
I got this idea to replace my legs, with falling water onto my shoes.
It really wasn't easy to shoot, but it was fun.
 
Of course, the first thing of any photo shoot is the setup. I mean, focus, position and of course, a proper frame or composition. Remember to shoot a little wider so there's space to crop. It's a real bugger to try and add to a shot afterwards. For this experiment, I used my back yard, well, actually my landlord's back yard. My spot had great light bouncing off the wall behind the camera, allowing me to be in the shadow of a tree, while still getting enough light on me as I posed repetitively until I had a shot I could use (shot about 5 shots in total).
 
I don't have fancy gear, I don't. This was shot with my Sony SLT-A35 and my kit 18-55mm lens set to around 18mm.
 

 
Now once I had a pose that would work, the pouring could begin. 8 or 9 shots (and a wet pair of denims and especially the shoes) later, I had two images I could potentially use to mask over my legs.
 
Here's me now finally getting the left "leg" close enough.

 
Then the right leg.
Each time I would have to walk to the camera, check the shot and try again. The tap I was using was also a walk away, so the bucket constantly needed filling too. Remember, I don't have a remote shutter or anything, so each shot was set with the camera's 10 second timer. In which case I would be running up and down between shots.

 
Problems will arise if your planning is not 100% spot-on. Here I was using a square bucket, because it gave me great walls of falling water. Thing is, somewhere along the line, I got must have bumped the shoes, or the camera just slightly, so the alignment wasn't accurate. Also, the water angle wasn't right. But it's cool, I have Photoshop CS5.
 
When I was masking the water over my legs, I had to adjust the correct them. For this I used my select too, pressed ctrl+T to select the distort option. This helped, but not enough. I then used the rectangle marquee tool to select the parts I needed and ctrl+J to duplicate these. Again, the select tool and, again, the distort function to try align it more. the I used the warp tool (right-click select warp) to bend the shoes back into place and align things properly. Then I added mask layers to the water and blended them in properly. Once I had them all aligned and blended, I cropped the image a bit. I then created a merged image from the layers (ctrl-clicking on merge layers will create a merged layer without losing your previous layers).
 
I then played a little further using Shadow/Highlights and a soft-light B&W layer blended over that to bring back some depth and detail. The result is what you see below. :)

 
Remember, If you want more details, or to book me for a unique and creative shoot, drop me a >mail< and I will pencil you in. All images are the intellectual property of Collin Scott Photography, all rights reserved (C) 2014.
 
If you do share, please remember to respect the creator and to mention them in your post.
 
Thank you, have a great day!
 
 

Nov 14, 2013

Wedding, 2 November 2013

-~o0o~- 

Mr and Mrs Beer

 I woke up Sunday morning, 3 November, 2013. It felt like the mighty Thor had somehow gotten trapped inside my head and he wasn’t very happy to be there. I looked around… everything seemed in order. Through Thor wielding his hammer about inside my head, I remember the most amazing evening the night before. I survived a day at work, had the phone-calls of thanks early that morning too. The hangover… was definitely worth it in ways I cannot express. 
Well, the wedding was a huge success in the end… but what a story I have to tell…
So let me start off by saying what I don’t like about shooting weddings.
 You can plan and prep as much as you want… it probably isn’t always going to go accordingly.
 Booze flows way too much toward the end.
 Because the booze has taken over, the rest is a mess. The bride and groom start to rush things that they planned so meticulously beforehand and the photographer must roll with it.
Let’s say, the cake cutting for example, no longer as arranged. It all gets messy from there onwards. The downward spiral accelerates into a series of “I don’t knows” and “yeah, later” and before you know it… you end up trying to sort of follow the flow… oh crap! You can try to keep things in perspective, but, it all fails repeatedly. All you can do is hope to get something the bride and groom will appreciate. That is basically after the major formalities have been dealt with, like the preparations, ceremony and the main photo shoot, as the speeches take place and the drinking begins, things change… a little.
 

As the night draws on, things become a little blurry.

Now, let me tell you what I do like about weddings…
The way the energy levels continue to wind up as time draws nearer to the ceremony. The rush of excitement as all the final pieces fit together. The nerves of the groom, because he can’t stand still. The hum of all the guests, as they settle into their seats. The groom and his best men, lined up in front.
 
The nervous groom and his best men.
 As a photographer, you notice the smaller things though… the sweaty palms, the feet that can’t stay still and even the anticipation from the guests… which continues to grow. The change in music right down to the change of chatter… to soft whispers.
The flower girls and boys make their way down the aisle, followed by the bride’s maids. The whispers of “awww” for the kids and “oh wow, look how beautiful” for the bride’s maids fade out as they all take their seat, or places in front. Almost complete silence now fills the air. It’s almost so quiet that you could probably hear the groom’s heart racing… if you stood close enough.
 Last change in the music… the bride is on her way down the aisle. You can actually see the groom’s heart beating, more and more, through the mixture of excitement and nerves that are quite vividly drawn all over his face. She looks amazing.
The beautiful bride on her way down the aisle.
The veil gets lifted and the bride has the same look on her face. The nervous excitement glowing, radiating out through her eyes and smile. This really is a beautiful time for all who are present.

 

 The ceremony begins. I have been on the go for a while already. Lugging camera bag and gear from point to point to try get that one shot. Actually, many of those shots. But, to get myself into that position where I can capture every possible moment takes quite a bit of work, I realise I am quite unfit for this sort of shooting. The rings, the first married kiss, everything. Then, the running, back into position behind the ceremony to capture the return down the aisle of the now Mr and Mrs now as one, united in matrimony. The final walk through between the guests as bubbles and confetti fill the air. They are now married!! The celebrations can begin! Well, for the guests anyway.

For the newly-weds, brides maids, best men and the kids that led the ceremony, it’s still a while before they can celebrate. It’s now quiet time with me!
We were at Thandanani Wedding Venue and it was time for the formal shoot. Now the pressure really gets turned on for me. We all climb into or onto a beautifully unrestored, rusty old Land Rover and go for a drive out into the bush behind the venue. Where are we going? None of us actually know… we eventually arrived at our destination… a short, slow drive away, in the bush.
Thandanani.
  Okay, at this point, I have a confession to make. Most times, the wedding photographer has had the opportunity to survey the area beforehand… making notes, planning the shoot. Not me, timing from both sides did not allow it this time. So, I was in a spot, a bit of a bind. I had to shoot without any prior planning. There I was spinning around, seeing what was available to me, how I could work with the hard light and environment. “Okay, just go with” it is what I told myself. We were out in this lush, green bush, blue skies filled the air with hints of cloud here and there. I’d hoped for more as the weather reports had forecasted. I have to make use of the area, without making my uh, ‘subjects’ uncomfortable. There was also that fear of snakes (and I mean Cape Cobras) that made the whole party nervous. So, some ideas were not done, for safety’s sake. We got done in a pretty short time… I could only hope it was a success. Time for the slow drive back. That old, rust Landy could not exactly drive fast… not on the semi-road we were on. The return was welcomed by all… a cold beer would really have gone down well right now…
Oh yes, final shoot with the couple and of course, the new in-laws… then also with the Hummer they’d rented. It was decided the trip to the beach would have taken up too much time… another plan had to be made… more success there!! I think… thought.
As this ceremony of photos draw to an end, I can almost taste the ice cold beer… time for a breather and a cold one. I shot the tables of people, while my beer stood to the side and warmed a little. It’s time, time for the bride and groom to make their entrance. I have to be quick, space is also limited. Gaah! Flash fails me!! I manage to get one… but it’s not worth mentioning.  The celebrations continue, my camera continues… after replacing the batteries of the flash to respond faster. Now it’s speeches, first dance, bouquet tossing and the garter thingy…
In between all these uh, ‘rituals’, I continue to drift around, watching, looking for that moment to snap another memorable piece… that extra moment. That one last photo, that will seal the celebrations for the couple. It’s now dark, I’ve been at this now since 2pm and I glance at the time… it now 10pm. I switched to art-mode… did a few slower exposures… to well, kind of express the blur that has become the after party. The parts, some would really remember.
From around that time, my camera and I were feeling the tiredness. There were a few guests also buying me drinks… so party on! I eventually snuck out around midnight… had work in the morning.
To my friends Jaco and Tara, it was an honour and a pleasure to have been there. As your photographer, as your friend.  Thank you.
The biltong buckets, for the men who attended.
The setup for the outdoor wedding.
The whole crowd on top the old Land Rover... Happy times.
Having fun, celebrating!
Speeches and toasts were plenty.
 

Jan 25, 2013

Flying Apple Slices!

Hey guys!
Been a while and I have had such a major mental block, it wasn't even funny!
 
In October 2012, I took my camera and started to play again... this time, getting tricky!
All the searching for cool ideas led me to try some wayward thinking.
 
In this case, flying apple slices and chunks errupting from the apple.
 
right, if you never knew how to... you do now.
 
I got me some really big, juicy, crisp apples and instead of just eating them, I first played with them. Yes, I played with my food.
Look below... looks cool, doesn't it?
 
 

How?

Easy!
 
First thing to do is... slice your apple, or any other fruit you desire...
Second thing, prop the peices into place with either toothpics, kebab sticks or, in this case, match sticks.
 
Position your uh, model... point your camera at it and shoot!
Okay...
Once you have your photo, it's time to take it into your editor... mine is Photoshop CS5. But, any editor with clone and heal features will do the trick.
Simple!
See the original photo?
 
 
Cool hey?
With a lot of cloning, recloning, close-up cloning and same amount of healing, you can get a good result. All it takes is time and a little patience. Be a perfectionist if you must!
 
Remember, to make it believeable, you need to really treat it well. Take care to notice edges, marks etc that may catch the alert eye.
 
Okay, I did do some of my usual layering afterwards and some minor cropping just to make it seem a little more appealing, especially since I underexposed a little and shot a little wide.
 
Below is another one I did, then ate. If you look close, you can see the attention to detail, it seems really as if the apple bits are floating.
 
Now, don't forget, you do not need major editing skills or any fancy schmancy equipment. This can be achieved similarly, with a cell phone, or basic pocket camera too!
 
If your camera has the ability to do long exposures, you can also have fun that way.
Here, I set up my Sony A200 with my tripod. I switched to manual mode, set the shutter to 30 seconds and set the Aperture to F8 with the ISO at 100.
I have a great little light on my cell phone, so I danced around in the street. Okay, not exactly the street, the end of a road. It took a few attempts to get the manual focus right, but nailed it nicely with this one! My mistake, wearing shorts. So, my multiple legs are noticeable in this one... I was also blessed with a car passing by in the background too!
 
 
Anyway, thanks for popping by.
 
Go play outside!
 
See you soon!
 
If you've played like this, would be nice to hear about it, share a link in the comment box.
 
Take care
Collin.