For this week, I brought a few film cameras to a ‘Steampunk’ themed photo shoot held at the CT Shoreline Trolley Museum in East Haven, CT. They have lots of neat, early 1900’s trolleys and it seemed a fun setting for a steampunk shoot. For those that don’t know, steampunk is basically an alternate future where Victorian-era clothes are matched with steam-based technology.
Our model was quite young, but a very nice young woman. Despite her serious model poses here, she smiled a lot when the cameras weren’t on her. She and her mom did all her makeup and styling (the makeup artist cancelled at the last minute. Boo.). All her clothes were made by her friend, who attends things like ComicCons and steampunk-themed Cosplay conventions. The detail on the outfits was quite impressive.
Since this was only my second photo shoot, I had a few issues with getting things in the background that shouldn’t be in frame, having light flare from the studio strobes, and a few other technical problems, but it was a lot of fun and each time I do these I learn a lot about lighting and how to position lights for modeling type shoots. Some shots had just a key light with a beauty dish, and a strobe under the trolleys to light up the steam, but my favorite shot had a key light, a back light and two strobes under the trolley (the featured image). Right before I clicked, the model turn her head just slightly, enough to get a lot of the back light over her shoulder, but it still turned out pretty good.
The square shots are with my Yashica Mat 124G, and the 35 with my Kodak Retina IIIc. I brought both of these because the flashes are often set at 1/125 of a second (4 other shooters were there, all with dSLRs) and the leaf shutters have no sync issues. Most of my other film cameras can only max out at 1/60 or 1/90 for flash sync. The Mat was loaded with Portra 800, and the Retina had both CineStill 800 and Portra 160, all lab-developed. I cropped a few and adjusted light levels to try to get the look we were trying to achieve.
This one, “Puttin the Steam in Steampunk” is most heavily adjusted. I was trying to darken it enough so the corrugated walls of the quonset hut were not visible. I mostly succeeded, but most is not enough. Also the light under the trolley was a little too close, we moved it back for later shots (I also brought my dSLR).
I have some more shots on my flickr, those not shown here are from my dSLR. It was a fun shoot and as with everything, a learning experience.
Here is a post showing the gear and lighting setup by the workshop instructor, Bob Harrington.