Time for something new, I might just make it a returning topic depending on the feedback. The post processing part of photography has always interested me. Just like everything, learning to edit has been a path of trail and error. Nowadays I’ve become more experienced though and people often ask if certain aspects are real or not. The best compliment any retoucher can get I think?
A few years ago, an opportunity arose that I couldn’t let slip. The wellknown Australian automotive photographer Easton Chang, one of my inspiration sources, was on a trip through Europe. He reached out to me that he’d have a full day to spend in Amsterdam, the final stop of his vacation, before flying back home. We had been in contact for a couple years and I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to meet him. I managed to arrange a customized BMW M5 for us to shoot and picked him up at his hotel. We drove around the city of Amsterdam and even made a quick trip to Rotterdam to get some shots of a Ferrari too. One of the most memorable things happened when we we’re shooting on a side walk right around the corner from the famous Dam Square in Amsterdam.
While we expected to get noticed by the police if they would pass by while we parked the car on side walks, we didn’t see this coming. A cop on a motorbike came up to us and ofcourse asked us what we were doing. We quickly grabbed some shots, fully expecting to be fined or atleast send away. When we told the officer that we would ideally park the car in the middle of Dam Square for some photos, he got quite. He told us he was there because the Dutch queen would make an appearance on the square later that day and that we should pack our gear and follow him. He then drove his bike over the sidewalk onto the square, we never saw that coming. The photos we shot that day got quite a response.
Dam Square is litterally the center of our nation, the main square of our capital. We had a blast shooting the noisy BMW E60 M5, wrapped in a bright matte blue foil, here on a busy weekly morning. When I posted the photos online though, the main point of focus became the birds. If you’ve ever visited this square, you’ll know there are a lot of birds there. It’s know for the huge numbers of pidgeons, used to eating scraps of food from tourists. The abundance of food attracts a lot of seagulls too, although not people notice. The seagulls in my photos made a lot of people wonder though if the birds were just a result of my imagination and photoshop skills. So, is it real?
I’m happy to answer these questions here today. Yes, the birds are real. Yes, there are seagulls at the square. A lot of them actually, although they usually don’t walk the ground like the pidgeons do. While I can’t deny I use photoshop for all my photos, and that I’ve put some work in these too, there was another factor at play. That factor was a few simple sandwiches I brought from home. While they’re pretty stupid animals and can’t be directed much, the birds loved the bread. By throwing pieces on the floor and in the air, we soon attracked almost all birds from the square to where we were. After a few tries we managed to work the bread and birds in a way we could get these unusual results. You still don’t believe me? Here’s the proof!
As you can see, a little ingenuity and some bread can go a long way. You can even see the fact the pidgeons walk right up to you while the seagulls soar overhead. Only swooping down if they see an opportunity to score a piece of breakfast. For as long as the sandwiches lasted, we kept the cameras rolling so to speak. We ended up with incredible material, that made a lot of people wonder how we did it. The best part was that non of us, not even the car, became a victim of the notorious divebombing pidgeons. They clearly knew better than to bite the hands that feed them.
While I’m not sure what to blog about most of the time, I feel this might have answered some questions some of you might have had. It’s also a different approach to give a little insight in what life as a photographer can be like. You can always get in touch with me if you’re interested in my services or if you have any questions for me. Feel free to let me know too what you’d like to see on my blog too. Feedback is always welcome as I’m not sure I’m doing this blog thing quite right yet.