Tuesday’s Tales -Conceptual Art Shoot

As I posted yesterday, on the weekend I attended a Conceptual Art Workshop, run by Nathan Milner. I attended another of his workshops late last year as well, Natural Light Photography, most enlightening, and so much fun.

So on Saturday I drove the 1.5 hours to Mount Macedon up in the Hills North of Melbourne, stunning country area in full Autumn colours, I really wanted to stop and get some photos, but didn’t want to be late (and then it was so cold and dark on the way home I missed out entirely). I rarely get much time in complete isolation, so this was a rarity for me, I got to listen to what music I liked, sing as loud as I wanted and just ‘be’. It was a pleasant drive up in the Autumn sunshine. The closer I neared the more my excitement rose and my nervousness dropped.

By the time I arrived it had turned cold, and rather damp (it had rained heavily the day before), I met with Nathan and our Model Bridget and we chatted and waited for the rest of our small group to arrive. Nathan explained that this was not a free for all shoot, as such, but more of a planned walk through on how he shoots a image, in particularly an expansion shoot. I have never really done an expansion before, so was keen to learn some tips. He explained how he sets up a predetermined shoot, arranges the model, sets up for lighting and exposure etc. Nathan usually only uses Natural Light and it was quite dark and muted in the Forest.

So what is an Expansion shot you ask?ย If you take a single photo with a camera it is approx 20mb, which is fine for most applications, but what if you want more detail or a larger image? So to take an expansion shot you set up your main shot as required, you can be quite close, no wide shot required, switch your camera focus to manual and remove your model (or main point of interest) you then take a ‘blank’ shot. Proceeding in a methodical way you take more shots surrounding your point of interest, while leaving the focus on it’s original settings. So you take a few shots to the left, the right, below, above, these can then be stitched together in Photoshop, similar to the way in which you create a panorama, it’s just not from simply left to right, but all around (does that make sense, here is just one YouTube Video on how to do it, there are loads). The trick is to make sure you get enough images to make a complete picture.

The Concept for today’s shoot was a woman is looking for something which is lost, this could be literal or philosophical, then she gives up in despair. We shot the last part first, and then the first part last. Bridget was dressed in a period costume and Nathan had brought a few props. Once he set up his shot, he then invited us to arrange Bridget as we needed and take our own shots. I jumped in on this with gusto, having worked with Nathan & Bridget before, allowed me to feel more confident with my shoot.


Due to time and light constraints I only got to do 2 expansion shots done, but I did manage to shoot a few other shots as well. I was going for something dark and creepy, kind of like from a Horror Movie, I’m not really sure why, it’s just what I felt. That’s the whole idea about Conceptual Art, it is meant to be emotive, as well as visually appealing, some of it can actually be quite confronting. Not much more to say, here are my two expansion images (each is around 40 images in total, but reduced in size for the web larger images can be viewed on Flickr; Fallenย and Lost Love), plus a few others I managed to catch as well.

Lost Love
Lost Love

And then there are the creepy doll images………too far? A little Hammer Horror? Not sure why, but some of the guys really liked the creepy doll Nathan had found.

Til next time, happy snapping…