Excited to share our new cover for National Geographic SCIENCE magazine. Huge thank you to TJ Tucker for asking us to contribute.
While we are no strangers to a Photoshop composite, Nat Geo has a strict rule that the images must be captured in camera, no compositing. To achieve this cover we held the perfectly unblemished lollypop, which Nicki Longoria visited every candy store in town to find, a couple inches over a black bass drum head covered with blue sanding sugar. A sound trigger was used to perfectly time the milliseconds after impact to make the strobes fire while the shutter was held open and voila, flying sugar impact awesomeness! After dialing in the timing, we took capture after capture till the sugar flew the way we wanted.
…..Or I guess we should say lack of water cover. For those who want to stick their head in the sand and say climate change is not real they are in luck, there may be a lot more dry sand to utilize in the near future. A world with little to no water is becoming a reality and the country Jordan may be the first to fully realize it.
For Newsweek’s December first cover we imagined a world with no water as the oceans replaced by dry lake beds. Huge thank you to Diane Rice and Michael Goesele for the collaboration!
We also shot sand pouring into a glass for the story opener.
Here’s some behind the scenes shots of the globe coming together. Nicki Longoria had the fantastic thought to use facial mud masks to make the dry cracked earth areas. worked like a charm.
We were thrilled to once again be asked by the fine folks at Preacher to create animations and still images for Crate & Barrel’s Black Friday event. This year it was all about twinkling lights to set the mood for the holiday season. Thanks to Kellyn Blout and all who contributed to this vision.
A couple months ago the good folks at Preacher asked us to help out with a social campaign for Tommy John’s “Go Anywhere” underwear. Sounds simple enough, but oh man, who knew walking would be so hard.
The big green screen was easy. Craigslist supplied the perfect treadmill we were able to hack and modify the speed control on (and paint green). Adam and Nick lit the scene to be flexible but also have light direction work with the many different scenarios the model would be dropped into. After that, the biggest obstacle was hitting the timing marks to go with stock footage. Adam directed from camera and thankfully our model was fantastic at hitting the timing changes and varying speeds, while always staying on his feet.
We were approached by The Atlantic to create a conceptual image for their October cover of the disaster that is the current White House situation. After a couple rounds of sketches, three ideas were selected to execute. We chose red for the background for all 3 as it is such a passionate color with so many emotional ties and appropriate nuances for the images we were creating. However, after looking at the sinking white house in layout, the concern arose that maybe it would be interpreted as it was sinking into a pool of blood. So, in honor of the current Cheeto in Chief, we shifted the color of that background to orange. We have now titled the cover image “The White House sinking into a spray tan swamp”.
And here are the full series of three images we made for the magazine.
Sometime (well, actually a lot of times) all the things we want going on in a picture just won’t happen at once. So it was with a smoothie image Rachael Ray Magazine asked us to make for an opener page about blenders. The inspiration was an illustration of a maelstrom with houses bobbing around in the water and being sucked into the vortex. They wanted the smoothie to look like the water, and the fruit to look like the houses being sucked down. Awesome idea, great illustration, but this image could not be taken in one capture. There were a few problems we had to solve:
1. The blenders we wanted to use for the outside of the image were not going to give the intense whirl effect we were looking for in the middle.
2. The blenders were also a little too small to be able to throw enough berries and bananas in and get the visual effect of fruit being sucked into the vortex.
3. The magazine wanted a whirl of yogurt to swirl in to the smoothie and be seen all the way down the vortex, but in reality it mixed together quickly.
4. And Lastly, focus was also going to be an issue. To get the whirl sharp from the top of the liquid down to the blades, Adam would need to stack multiple captures. Not so easy when the subject won’t stay still.
To solve for all these we broke down the problems and addressed them in separate images that Adam brought together beautifully. First, we shot the blender we wanted for the outside as a separate plate. Then, Nick hacked apart our Magic Bullet blender, which had the best whirl action of all the blades we tested, and created an oversize blender pitcher using a small bathroom trash can. The Bullet was then plunged into a rheostat so we could control the speed of motor. Next we set up PVC chutes on two corners of the Franken-trash-can-blender so we could pour a smooth and constant stream of yogurt in as it was running. And finally, Adam being the Photoshop wizard that he is, was able to bracket focus and bring together the different depths of the vortex smoothly and seamlessly.
It took quiet a few steps to get to the final image, but the results were well worth it.
And here are a few of the parts and pieces all brought together to make this picture work.
The September/October issue of Popular Science is out and we’re once again super honored to be able to say “Hey, we took that picture!”
The outside shape of the watch was actually a composite of two different watches, but the inside “space” part, was actually shot in camera. We spray painted an abstract cosmos on seamless, then spread the gears and planets out over a 10 foot span in front of the background to get the feeling of depth and space.
Beside the cover watch, we also made (and destroyed) a concrete alarm clock that was covered in vines to represent the passage of time. And also got to work with some fun trippy poster art and lava lamps for a feature opener about string theory. The cashier at Half Price books was amused when Robin headed to the register with arm loads of string theory quantum physics books. I think he knew they would never be opened.