As we flew into Vienna we knew it would be a dreary affair. The forecast had low cloud cover, fog and rain during the time we were there.
I tend to stress my producer out. He keep referring to me once saying “you are sending me right into a storm. There must be some place one can shoot where the weather is good…”
This time however there was no way around it. The Fog off the Danube River and the cold late winter weather was not going anywhere.
As a location photographer weather is always on my mind. We spend a lot of time planning our productions around weather patterns to make sure we can create the images we want without getting us and the client stuck on location.
A mixture of seasons, vegetation and the other ingredients the shoot needs, like talent and location specifics, leads us to recommend a location to execute our assignments.
We have gotten quite good at it but at times it’s not avoidable to run into some bad weather…
The pressure to create great pictures however does not go away. And it is not just resting on my crew and me, but on the art director, the advertising agency and the marketing department of the client. In situations like this it is great to have clients you have worked with prior, who both understand and trusts the process and can roll with the punches a bit. The client was Crystal Cruises and the reason for Vienna was their new river cruise along the Danube River.
We were here to capture 2 landscapes of the Belvedere Palace.
As a great client the creative team at Crystal were on board for changing the focus and atmosphere of the shots to the very early morning and late evening where the interior and artificial lights would light up the Palace. This would give the landscape shape and make the best of the weather, which was enveloping Vienna in a wet blanket…
This assignment would be captured in 3 parts. The landscapes in Europe, the people in Los Angeles and the third layer would be created using CGI.
So we travelled home with our backgrounds captured, being quite optimistic about the rest of the shoot and how it would all turn out.
As with the prior images I have made for Crystal Cruises, these were to describe feeling or establishing an association with a feeling rather than a literal narrative.( http://blog.erikalmas.com/2016/04/12/a-dream-assignment/)
They were to depict how you would FEEL arriving at the Belvedere Palace with one of the riverboats.
Crystal is expanding into air cruises as well and a third image we were to capture was for their airline. It is exciting and refreshing when you start with a feeling to create a narrative within a frame. In this emotional state one start painting pictures and the mind goes: Having a cruise line in the air must feel like…..
Walking in the sky, or maybe Walking on air or lounge among clouds.
In a studio in Los Angeles with spaces to shoot both inside and outside we set out to capture the narrative of the extraordinary feelings of traveling with Crystal cruises.
The studio part was in this case a bit of a dance. Big dresses and a lot of movement where I’m observing, letting the talent be a part of the story and narrative rather than over-directing.
And few weeks of computer work later, 3 set ups from 2 continents and one studio get blended together to create our final images. Below is a quick video with our layers and the final work…
The dreary weather barely shows.
It’s evening and in hindsight I keep thinking the images might be better this way. They are not what we expected when we started the project, but the unexpected makes us reset and work within the present moment. To let go of expectations and be in it without a preconceived notion of what it “should” be.
And to truly create this is where we want to be in the first place…
A big thanks to the creative team at Crystal Cruises: You are the best!!