Category: behind the scenes

We all live in a Yellow Submarine

Well, I had every intention of documenting this shoot more for a “behind the scenes” post.  Unfortunately, once the shoot came together I was short on time and manpower.  All my plans to get some video of the actual shoot got abandoned.  So here is a “kinda behind the scenes” post.

I recently participated in a photographer’s challenge.  There was approximately 20 photographers and we were all given a Beatles song to shoot.  I was assigned the song “Yellow Submarine” and the guidelines were pretty loose.  Basically shoot a photo that represents the song and be creative.  All the images would then be shown together at the Art Gecko gallery locally in Amarillo Texas.  I decided to take a very literal approach and shoot a family actually living in a yellow submarine.  Instead of the submarine being in the ocean I envisioned my family living in a retired vessal that has been converted into a typical residence.  I attempted to “date” the image to the mid 60s, with the theory that I was going to shoot the family that actually inspired the song.  Trying to shoot a “period” shot with little or no budget is not easy.  I was real lucky to borrow the car and the bike at no charge.  The lawnmower was found, cleaned up and even repainted just for the shoot by a close friend costing only the materials.  I did spend a little on few pieces of clothing and limited props.  The clothing could have been a lot more accurate, but considering the time and budget or in this case the lack there of, I was happy with the result.   I decided I wanted my family to have that “All American” feel and even more specifically Texan.  I tried to recreate a pretty typical Saturday afternoon.

The image is a composite of approximatley 40 images layered together in photoshop. The submarine was a preexisting 3d model that was modified and skinned using 3d software. The same software was used to model the complete image and used as a reference to ensure when placing the other elements the perspective would remain consistent.   I spent several days out shooting various elements such hedges, trees, sidewalk, etc. and a couple of the elements are stock due to either availability or time.   The compositing process took another couple of days and the files were pretty large.  The background image was built in a couple of stages to ease the burden on photoshop and my computer. and then the final elements including the models were added along with the overall enhancements.    I have linked a video below showing the relevant photoshop layers in a time-lapse of the image build and at the bottom of the post are a few of the raw photos I shot and used in the composite.


Just for giggles, there are several other beatles songs along with Apple Records referenced in the photo. “Eleanor Rigby”, “Paperback Writer”, “I Am The Walrus”, “Old Brown Shoe”, “Hey Bulldog”, “Blackbird”, “One After 909” and “A Day In The Life” with the town on the water tower being named Lancashire. I would like say thank you to Scott Houdashell for all his hardwork in helping to organize, plan and shoot the main components of the image. I would also like to thank the McGill family(Curtis, Staci, Isaac, Cassidy and Lola) for modeling.

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you enjoyed the post.

The Arts

Future of Arts in Amarillo

These photos were shot for the September cover story for Amarillo Magazine.  We had approximately 100 kids from various arts programs in Amarillo.  The programs included Lone Star Ballet, Amarillo Opera, Amarillo Youth Choir, Amarillo Little Theatre and Amarillo Symphony.  We shot all the kids individually with a white backdrop. Then, with the assistance of a couple of volunteers, a red cloth background was held in place and positioned randomly between several shots.  All the photos were then compiled to create the mosaic which was featured on the cover.

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Below are a few photos showing the setup.  These were shot by the Magazine as part of some behind the scenes extras provided online with the story.  You can find the story here at
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The Box

I have decided to try and do some behind the scenes kind of stuff for the one or two people who may actually be reading this and I figured this series was a pretty good place to start.  This is mainly for photographers or those that are into photography or photoshop.  If your not, this will pretty much just seem like a “nerd rant”.  These photos were shot for Amarillo Magazine’s March cover story featuring local radio personalities.  I pitched the idea of a “hollywood squares kind of shoot with each DJ (I think that is what you still call them) having their own space.  They liked the idea, so we went to work.  I recruited a good friend, Scott Houdashell to help me build the set.  It’s only going to take a few sentences to describe here, but this turned out to be a pretty huge project.  I just needed a box.  A perfectly (kinda) square box open in the front with a small hole in the top to mount a strobe to pose as a light fixture.  I don’t remember the exact dimensions, but I believe it was about 6ft x 6ft.  We used some scrap 2×4′s along with some trim and paneling purchased from a local recycling and liquidating store.  All the seams were cleaned up with a little dry wall mud and the whole thing was painted flat white.  Luckily, my friend is very handy and was able to throw a desk together in about the time it takes to make a sandwich (ridiculous exaggeration, but you get the idea).  With that we were ready to shoot.

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As everybody arrived we begin to shoot the individual photos first.  These would be featured in the final composite as well as individual shots for inside the magazine.  For the composite shots there was just a little bit of “trickery”.  In order to compile the shot, I needed to ensure that the camera angles would work in the final image.  For example:  To shoot the DJ featured on the top right side of the final image I had to shoot low (floor level) from the left side.  For the bottom left DJ, I had to shoot high (about 6ft or roof line of box) and from the right.  This way when all the shots were merged in photoshop the angles would be consistent with a single point of view.  All of the shots were mapped out ahead of time to help prevent confusion.  For the rope shot, the box was marked with two small pieces of tape and the rope was held over the tape throughout the different photos to ensure alignment in the final image.  The lighting was pretty simple with the strobe mounted in top of the box acting as a room light and two soft boxes outside pointing in to keep the lighting pretty flat.  We used a lot of props that were swapped out between each individuals shoot.  The cover photo was lit identically, although I shot it at a little wider angle along with the individual shots that would be featured inside.  Below is a behind the scenes video shot by the magazine.

Well, that is how all the raw data came together. The rest is photoshop. Luckily, since everything was mapped out ahead of time this came together pretty easy.