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The Light And The Way Amongst the Dark And The Lost
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I'm not one for static pictures of characters. They make for poor subjects. Oh, quite often I'll pose someone "just so" but even then there has to be some purpose to it, not just standing there for the sake of it, else the concept has to be very strong. This original photograph, taken by Laura Shearman at Camarilla Conclave 2007 in Sydney struck me with it's calmness, but still in movement. The thought that has gone into the costume for Bishop Harker has resulted in a beautiful use of recurring red (well done Katie) and with this picture I wanted to play on that primary colour.

As a Lancea Sanctum Nosferatu Bishop, and given the nature of the costume, I wanted there to still be a dark element in the picture, as well as playing on the red. The dark, storm cloud sky gave me that element of "gothiness" I needed. As bishop, I wanted the church to be present, walking out to do God's work. Originally I wanted a stone church but think this one works better, especially in contrast against Harker, the sky and the dry stone walls (which I didn't know I was going to use yet).

When I placed in the poppy fields, Harker looked lost - too much red not broken up by anything. I decided to put in a low dry stone wall to frame Harker but had it stopped at the front of the picture because I didn't want her to look boxed in. Again, originally I wanted a gravel pathway but the green grass (that came with the dry stone wall) set off the red so nicely I decided to go with that instead. Yes, it's the same dry stone wall either side. When I reversed the original wall and stuck it on the other side, with the green grass overlapping, it was obvious where the line of the two layers was in the path and with elements of the grass doubled up either side it looked awful. So I simply used Photoshop's Stamp Tool with a diffuse brush to smooth these over and change many elements of the path (a tuft here, remove a divet there..) Originally the horizon line looked very sharp. I used a small diffuse brush on the eraser tool right across the top of the poppy field and to my delight it produced the exact effect I wanted.

I had to do virtually nothing to Bishop Harker herself, other than cut the picture out of its original background. The only fiddling was shadowing around the feet to make them look as though they belonged on the path. Indeed, with the inclination of Harker's face and the placement of her feet, I think it looks as though she's watching her footing on an uneven path.

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