Behind the Scenes: Cathedral of Junk

 In Behind the Scene

Cathedral of Junk

A song of metal and nature

This image was conceived during a trip to Austin Texas. While searching for a cool spot to take pictures, I found the cathedral of Junk. It only took a quick phone call to the owner to ask for permission and I was on my way. Once arrived, I wasted no time to get my shots. The quick story of the cathedral of Junk is that one day Vince Hannemann, the creator of the cathedral started this building using junk he found in Austin. After a few years the structure became so immense that it attracted tourist. I decided that a HDR panorama from varies angles will allow a large amount of flexibility in photoshop. I set up my tripod and shot the necessary plates. Afterwards I stitched the images later in Photoshop.

The concept therefore of the shoot is to combine nature and humanity with the manmade abandoned mechanical world. While being at the Cathedral of junk, you had an eerie sense that you were standing at the last remands of civilization and Nature reestablished itself.

Casting for this project was easy. Who’d be better to embody the natural than my wife who happened to be nine months pregnant. I chose the dress because the pink would help focus the eye and I like the shine of the dress. Her jewelry and head dress was custom made for this shoot to help her blend better into the environment. The photography was fairly straight forward, the goal was to create an even light to match the background plates. I set up my home studio using a white seamless, a couple of rectangle soft-box for the rim light, and a huge 7ft Octobox for the fill. A small  orange gelled speed light served to give the hair a sun kissed looked.

Once the photography was done, it was time for the CGI work. I chose a deer because I couldn’t think of better animal to embody the natural look. I took a stock 3D deer and then retopologize the surface to create the overall shell of the deer. I place a few engine parts to make up its guts. By using stock 3d Images, I shortened my modeling time to what would have normally taking weeks to only ten hrs. I used photograph of the cathedral of junk as the light source for my render to aid the renders realistic look.

Once I had every element ready, it was time to whip out Adobe Photoshop. A quick sketch helped me figure out the overall composition. I decided on a triangle that starts from the sun continues to the model and then ends at the deer. This allowed the eye to travel around the image.

A few more hours of Photoshop retouching and the images was finally ready. The atmosphere was spot on to what I had in mind.


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