Smoothie for Rachael Ray 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.