Atlanta Brain & Spine Portraits

Had the opportunity to shoot some headshots for some incredibly smart people last month. A representative from Atlanta Brain & Spine reached out to me and we coordinated a 6am Wednesday morning shoot (the only time we could get them all together...and no, 5am is not my normal wake-up time). But we got there and took a group shot and 11 individual headshots of the team of spine and brain surgeons. They were a very nice group and easy to work with. Here are a few of my favorites. 

They wanted a consistent background, so we used this spine wall in the hallway. It was a super tight space so the set up was a little tricky, but I'm really happy with the results. Below is a the group shot we ended up with. 

If your company needs updated headshots or group shots, please contact me at your convenience. If you mention this blog post I will give you discount. Hope to work with you soon! 

The Town of Spectre (part 2)

As promised, I wanted to post a series of photos I shot while at the Town of Spectre, located on Jackson Lake Island in Millbrook, Alabama. These are the remaining buildings of the set from the movie Big Fish which was released in 2003. 

My wife, our dog Dexter, a couple other friends and I went and camped there the weekend of the 4th of July. I had heard lots of great things about this little island and was excited to see it in person. I had heard that the land owners were incredibly nice and accommodating and all of that was absolutely true. We were greeted at the gate by and a gentleman who we ended up chatting with for a few minutes. He asked us where we came from and showed legitimate interest is us, something that you rarely find in meeting people these days. We payed for camping ($10/person per night) and headed in to find a spot. 

This place is perfect for us because there aren't any defined camping sites (yet), so you just set up camp wherever you can fit. I believe this will soon become a popular destination, and when you go there you'll feel all the feelings...there is something special about this little island. 

These buildings were constructed for the outside alone, and they are literally just shells. The inside is a combination of dirt floors and the occasional gift from the permanent herd of goats that live on the island. 

I wanted to create a very moody and dark scene for these photos because that is what you see and feel about this town at the end of the movie. I used a 10 stop ND filter made by Vu Filters combined with the Fujifilm XT1 and the 16mm f1.4 lens. I was fortunate to have a nice cloudy and windy day so I slowed my shutter speed down a 20 second exposure to capture the movement of the clouds and trees. Obviously at an exposure that long you'll need a tripod and I was set up on my Roadtrip by MeFOTO, which is perfect for packing light but giving you the support you need.  

The images were shot in RAW and brought into Lightroom for minor straightening/cropping then I opened the images in Silver EFEX Pro (a free program with lots of B&W control) to convert it to black and white. There were a few stray cars/campers in some of the photos, so I had to go into Photoshop and remove those before making my final tweaks in Lightroom. 

aaron coury photography town of spectre big fish 9.jpg

Thanks for checking out my photos and trip to Jackson Lake Island, and if you're ever close, make time to stop by this magical place. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about this series. Have a great day! 

 

The Town of Spectre (part 1)

One of my favorite movies, Big Fish, was made mostly in Alabama. Part of the set still remains on Jackson Lake Island where a few remaining buildings from the The Town of Spectre. Our whole family woke up one morning to catch the sunrise and was rewarded with this amazing view.

This is a 19 shot panorama with the Fujifilm Cameras XT1 and the 16mm.

I'm working on a series of images that I shot of the remaining buildings left on the island and will blog those once I'm finished making the final tweaks.  

Imitate the Greats

Yesterday I was so inspired by this shot I saw on Pinterest that I wanted to try to recreate it immediately. I borrowed my beautiful wife and we headed to our humble home studio. I set up my Dynalite Baja B4's with some reflectors and had the shot in less than 10m. 

I'm a huge believer in imitating shots that inspire you. While I don't claim credit for the original idea of the image, the process of re-creating that image is the best education you could buy. 

Fujifilm XT1 // 50-140mm @ 63.4mm // f16 @ 1/160  

Special thanks to Martina Mueller Photography and Pinterest for the inspiration. And to Cleo for modeling. :) 

Peter Happel Christian portraits

I've been working with Serenbe's Artist in Residence program this summer to make some portraits of the artists while they're in town. The first set of portraits I'm sharing is of photographer Peter Happel Christian. Please take some time to go check out his work. http://peterhappelchristian.com/

The first couple shots were taken in the shipping container, which the artists use as their studio when the weather permits. :) 

After we shot in the shipping container, I drug him out to a field because I wanted to pair his epic mustache and beard with beautiful flowers. 

Our last spot was this barn because tones on tones equal a big win. 

Laughing at a photoshoot with me is not optional. 

Camera - Fujifilm XT1  //  Lights - Dynalite Baja B4 with beauty dish

A Moon to Remember

I'll forever be in awe of the moon and it's textures. This shot was from a spot off of Chapman's Peak Road in Cape Town, SA. After we'd finished watching the sunset, we looked behind us and caught this beautiful moon rising behind one of the mountains.

Fujifilm XT1  //  ISO 200  //  140mm @ f4.0  //  1/250sec

Revisiting Yellowstone

I've learned a lot about editing in the last few years. From watching tutorial videos to just experimenting. I decided to go check out some old Yellowstone photos again re-edit a few that maybe got overlooked originally. I'll be posting some of my favorites and hidden gems over the next couple weeks

Catching the Full Moon Rise

Earlier this week, Cleo and I went out to watch the sunset at one of my favorite spots in the city and I hoped to catch the full moonrise in a sequence. I'd seen it done so many times and had always been fascinated, so I wanted to give it a shot. Thankfully we had a super clear night and it was a great temperature, all that was left was to capture the moments. 

I'd done some research earlier in the day (though I should have scouted a couple days before) as to where I wanted to set up based on where the moon would be rising using the super helpful app The Photographer's Ephemeris

Fujifilm XT1  //  ISO 200  //  140mm @ f7.1  //  1/160sec handheld

I set up my Fujifilm XT1 and decided to use the incredibly sharp 50-140mm f2.8 for the sequence. My view was blocked a bit by some of the buildings, so I ran down the street to see if I could see the moon, and sure enough despite my research, it had already started rising 20min earlier than expected. I snapped the shot above then headed back to my location frame up my shot. When framing your shot, you need to think about where the moon will end up in the sky and frame accordingly. The moon rises in the East and sets West.

Fujifilm XT1  //  ISO 200  // 50mm @ f10  //  1/40sec on MeFoto tripod

The first image I took would serve as my foreground for the composite. It's super important to make sure you get your exposure for the moon right, but it's easy to overexpose. Make sure you zoom in (if your camera is capable) and look for the details in the moon. As a rule of thumb, it's always better to underexpose than to overexpose. 

Once I got the first shot, I kept my exposure the same for the next hour and a half. As ambient light from the sunset disappears, my scene get dramatically darker. But what's most important is that the moon is exposed correctly. 

Fujifilm XT1  //  ISO 200  // 50mm @ f10  //  1/40sec on MeFoto tripod

As you see above, all of the detail is lost in the photo, but the moon detail is perfect. Again, my exposure was the same for all of the 22 shots I took in this sequence. Here is the final composite image.

Final Image. Composed of 22 individual photos.

For the editing process, I imported all of the photos into Lightroom and labeled them with a blue flag so I could separate them from the rest of the images taken that night. I used my first images for the foreground and performed my normal edits by straightening and cropping, then tweaking the highlights, shadows, whites and blacks. I bumped the clarity and vibrance up a bit, then sharpened and added just a bit of luminance for a little noise reduction in the sky. Once I was happy with that image, I copied all of the settings from my foreground photo and applied those settings to the rest of the photos in the sequence. 

Now that all the photos were in sync, all that was left was to make the composite....and it's MUCH easier than you think thanks to the free program StarStax! I followed this easy tutorial and the composite was done in less than 5 minutes.

I hope you enjoy the final image and the walkthrough, please let me know if you'd like to see more of these and I will start posting more. Have a great day and go capture something beautiful!  

Fujifilm XT1  //  ISO 200  //  16mm @ f14  //  30 seconds on MeFoto tripod