The Rocket Summer

Back in December I was assigned to shoot The Rocket Summer for Alternative Press Magazine. I rounded up some assistants and my girlfriend Emily and headed to Cleveland. We got an early start, about 7:30 am. The shoot was going to be at my friends apartment, which coincidentally is the same building AP is based out of. We got there early so we could get everything set up on time. Brad Heaton and Aaron McKee met me at my house and drove up.

Bryce showed up and we got to shooting. I was feeling under the weather and recovering from a mouth full of canker sores so I was definitely not wanting to be interacting and trying to be personable, but I think I pulled it off. We shot for about an hour at a total of five locations within the building.

I can only post one photo for now, but I figured I’d break down the process.

The Freight Elevator

As Bryce was getting ready for another location, I figured I would run down to the basement and grab the elevator to the top to try a few shots. I was freaked out by this thing, it’s a huge elevator in a big empty hole basically (then again, that’s what every elevator, ever is {except that glass one in Willy Wonka!} ) I get it to the top and throw the idea over to Bryce, he didn’t really like the location, so I asked if we could get a few shots. I took just one and considered it done. I lite the shot with an Alienbee B1600 above me into a Large Octobox.

Here is the original shot:

Obviously the tilt is annoying as can be so first things first I cropped this in Lightroom (and rotated) I than noticed how bland his shirt looked, very washed out. I did my basic adjustments in Lightroom and then exported it to be edited in Photoshop.

Here is the Dodge and Burn:

I spent about two hours total Dodging and Burning this, my lack of a tablet is annoying but so is the price of one.

Here is the Haze:

One thing I wanted to try was to add some haze in the background to give it some atmosphere. The room was very dry in my opinion so I added the smokiness in the background. I accomplished this by brushing in with a lower opacity brush and then masking out around him, it was very simple and effective.

The Lights!:

I felt like adding the lights in the shot because it was just hanging there, so vulnerable to my editing. So I added in some faux light.

And here is the final!:

And after all was said and done, here is the final image!

I hope reading through this was interesting! Let me know if you have any questions!

Aaron Van Dike

  1. Great work as usual Aaron. And I love the before and afters of it all. Your burn and dodge work is tedious..

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