Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter over Altrincham bus station / by Neil Alexander

I'm going out a day early this week because the thought of the small matter of the football game tonight between Manchester United and Manchester City which could potentially decided the 2011/2012 premiership title has prevented me from focusing on anything particularly productive at all, and I can't guarantee being fit for anything tomorrow. 

Star Wars X-Wing starfighter

So how could I waste the afternoon in the most productive manner that would avoid me having to think about the football....

My eldest mentioned to me this morning that he wanted to break up his Lego X-Wing starfighter that he spent hours making, with a little help from his Dad so I thought I'd photograph it before he did. Then I had the idea to composite it with a photograph I'd made a couple of weeks ago of Altrincham town center.

The first step was to call up the photograph I wanted to use as the base background and study the lighting. It was fairly flat without a great deal of direction and contrast. Then I needed to try and replicate it

Star Wars X-Wing starfighter - set up

Star Wars X-Wing starfighter - set up

Using a light stand I suspended the star fighter in the air with some black cotton (I figured black would have been easier to clone out, but in hindsight I really ought to have used white). From the above set up shot, you can just see a grided SB900 on top of the drawers next to the turntable - this was to be the sun, and to the left on the sofa is a diffused SB900 to provide some fill. Up on the iMac in the background I have the base layer so I can see what I need to achieve, and then shooting tethered into the laptop on the floor I got a full screen version to make a little easier.

wpid18648-Neil_Alexander-01-590x392.jpg

This image above shows you the final image that I decided to use to drop onto the base layer, and then with a bunch of layers, some dodging and burning, a few layer masks and some motion blur, the image below is the final result. The base layer is a 30 second exposure I made using a B+W 10 stop ND filter because I wanted to remove as much traffic and many people from the image as possible. All just a little bit of fun.

Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter over Altrincham bus station by Neil Alexander

Right that's it. I'm off to the pub. That's all I'm capable of penning today and tomorrow morning inevitably I'll be hungover, but fingers crossed it'll be a happy hangover.

N