The AAAS recently bought image rights to a shot I had made for a National Geographic story about Neanderthals. (I know, I know. Send a Neanderthal to photograph a Neanderthal.)
We went into the woods of Spain, with our prehistoric female in tow, nicknamed Wilma for obvious reasons. She’s a nearly 200 pound block of silicone shaped into the perfect recreation of a Neanderthal lady by the brilliant team of KennisKennis, who specialize in re-creating animals and humans from our primordial past.
Whilst on location, I noticed the gracious lady who owned the farm the Neanderthals once called home had reddish hair, similar to Wilma’s. I thought it would be cool to pair off the two, the modern day human now occupying that piece of the earth, with the echo of the ancient, former landlady of the site.
Below is Wilma, face on, as the opening spread in the Nat Geo story.
To do the in camera double exposure, I needed a black background. Thankfully I had drug along a Lastolite 6×6 Skylite panel with blackout material. Also, I had two umbrellas that were identical. (That was luck. It was not inspired preparation.)
I placed Wilma in profile, in between the two lights, but only firing one, the strobe she is facing. Then our modern lady stepped in, facing the other direction. Wilma’s light gets shut down, and the other light, now frontal to my human subject, gets turned on. Second exposure occurs. I didn’t space it right for a few exposures. See grid below.
But I finally got one. I used the single auto-focus cursors in the viewfinder, locating one at the eye of each subject to guide my framing, and then shot hand held. High power on the flashes, and 1/250th at camera clears out any influence of the cloudy, midday light.
The science folks at AAAS used it thusly.
First one, I think, of these off-the-cuff doubles I have ever tried that has gotten published, which is fun. And, speaking of fun, Brad Moore, recently of the Kelby organization but now on his own, was with me on this job. He studied Wilma intently.
And I of course, being of modest disposition, tried to help her out with a bit of wardrobe advice.
Life in the field. More tk….