Today I shot the first part of this image on a black background using high speed flash and a macro lens. I photographed the chameleon is a series of poses but couldn’t get it to pose correctly with arms outstretched as illustrated in my original plan. I altered the idea slightly and went for the image below with the chameleon holding on to the top of the branch. I think it looks like she is worried with a slightly downward titling mouth and eyes looking down too. Chameleons have an amazing ability to move their eyes independently and still be able to focus and this dexterity really helps me to create an emotion in the subject. I persuaded her to look down by holding a mealworm just below the frame and wiggling it to catch her attention. This was one of the more challenging shoots but I am happy with the results and think this image will make a strong starting point.
once home I was able to shoot the rest of the stick using the same camera settings and lighting. and merged the two together in photoshop.
I then shot smoke using a mist machine I have made and overlaying these layers onto the original. I have also changed the ration of the image so it is in landscape format. My research images were a mixture of both landscape and portrait but since this image is intended for web use and most screens are landscape I decided to select this orientation. The smoke layers have also been coloured to match similar images of forrest fires smoke that I found on the internet. Shooting the original image on black allowed these layers to be quite simply merged.
Photographing the same stick again I doused it in lamp oil and set it on fire. That image was then added to the original. The image was shot outside and the wind was effecting the direction of the flamed to counteract this I used multiple layers of fire to give an even burn on the stick.
This was the image I came up with. I am pretty happy with the result using the same stick allows for more realistic editing and some other flames were added at the bottom of the image to emulate a real forrest fire. I consulted a few of my colleagues and they suggested I maker the flames even more prominent and add more smoke. I think that this will make the picture even more dramatic but looking at the other images WWF uses I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing.
THE FINAL IMAGE
I am very pleased with the final image. Photoshop is not one of my strongest points but I have really enjoyed shooting all the plates and editing them together. I made a few final adjustments to the final image. I added more flame and smoke dodged and burned the chameleon so that it looks as if the fire is partly lighting it and gave its underside an orange glow. I also added an orange glow to the smoke edges and colour toned the whole image. I think the image fits with the other WWF campaigns that I have seen both in subject matter and presentation and I look forward to hearing the results from the competition.