Scavenger Hunt - Round 26 - Wizard BTS
20 October, 2019
When I think of wizards, Gandalf the Grey always comes to mind first. What I like the most about him are his kind heart and affection for hobbits and other creatures, making him rather a grandfatherly figure than a mighty sorcerer. That’s why I discarded my first idea to create a picture of Gandalf's epic fight with the Balrog in Khazad-Dum and concentrated on his characteristic traits, so to speak.
One of those is of course his love for the Halflings’ pipe-weed. While I let the idea ripen in the back of my mind, I started making a list of the props I would need for the shot. First, there was the wizard costume, beard and wig (yay, more wigs! 😂). Then I needed a pipe. What else…? In the meantime, I knew I wanted to go with the theme focusing on hands, so which details could further improve this shot? I imagine a wizard having rather long fingernails, so I let mine grow over a period of several weeks. Also, Gandalf was the bearer of Narya, one of the three rings given to the Elves. I actually found a replica made of silver online, but the amount of money I had spent on props this round was high enough already, so I went for another, simpler ring 😉
Many of you mentioned the perspective. With all the elements described above, this angle seemed to best highlight hands and pipe. To give it more context, I leaned forward to keep the brim of the hat and some of the beard in the image. To keep the shot as simple as possible (and the time spent in Photoshop as short as possible) I decided to actually light the pipe and not add fire, glow and magic spark in post processing. I focused on the hands, then switched the camera to manual focus and shot a series of shots using my camera's intervalometer while I was lighting the pipe. I used a single off-camera flash at about 45º pointing downwards as light source. And yes, I was barefoot 😁
In the end, I didn’t have to go into Photoshop at all. All the edits (crop, dodging and burning, spilt tone and vignette) were done in Lightroom.