Steve Thornton  
As an advertising image maker, I am frequently called on to create something interesting and memorable, even if the scene and light is less than memorable. This was one of these times. I arrived arrived at the Naples train station from Milan with my crew and we were on our way to Sorrento, where we were booked for a 4 day video shoot. The client later expanded this to 6 days which we all were happy about, more great food from the Sorrentine Peninsula! Part of what they wanted us to do is to shoot a cruise ship in the Naples harbor. (More below)

Fine, except there was no way to get to where I needed to be due to security. I started to look around and I saw something on the opposite side of the dock. I asked our driver if he could drive us there. He said he would try so we got into the van and off we went. As soon as we got as close, we jumped out of the van with my gear and while I started to set up I pointed to where I wanted to be and asked Emiliano, my lead assistant in Europe, to find out if he could get there. I started to shoot and in 2 minutes Emiliano is calling for me, standing where I want to be. He shouts how to get there so I grab all of the gear and start walking toward the spot. Emiliano doubled back and met me about halfway there to help with the gear and the first thing I do is grab a few shots while Emiliano sets up the other tripod close to the water. He then sets up another body with a 24-70mm Canon zoom lens and plugs in the intervalometer set to one frame every second and calls me over to set the framing. After I look and make a slight adjustment, I start the intervalometer I then go back shooting other imagery and video. The video above is this time-lapse.

We then packed up and got into the van to be driven to Sorrento. Knowing full well I wanted "more" I kept looking for another spot to set up while we drove out of the Naples port and into and through the city of Naples. Once we got onto the coast road I asked the driver to pull over at his first opportunity where we shot a short video clip on the scene below.

I knew full well this was not a great image, but I at least had one more POV (Point of View) of the cruise ship that I could use if I did not get anything better. As we drove I kept looking and then I saw what I was looking for and asked the driver to stop when he could. We got out and set up the video gear and I shot 10 seconds of the scene below. The big difference is the spit of land in the bottom left corner of the image, the small boat, and the wake in front of the small boat from larger watercraft out of frame.

But the color you see in these photo is very different than reality. If you take your mouse and roll over the image below you can see what it REALLY looked like. I knew that I could adjust the "Before" footage to get the "After" footage. The ability to pre-visualize the end result is a big help when placed in a situation of having to produce something interesting and wonderful with less than wonderful conditions.

By my knowing the limitations of technology, I can feel comfortable in the fact I can "Fix it in post"... OR... "There is no way I can fix this, I'll need to wait or re-think the image." Either answer allows me to get what the client needs, something wonderful. I do always want to "Get it in the camera", meaning I want to shoot everything in perfect conditions if at all possible, and all great image makers will tell you this. However in 'The Real World' it is not always possible given the constraints of the time allotted, the time of day you have to shoot and weather conditions that one has to work within.

Before & After
These clouds would have been nice to have behind the ship, but it was on top of the ship, if you will look just to the left of the middle you can see the cruise ship, roll your mouse over to see the image with an arrow pointing out the ship..
Roll your mouse over the image

The Gear for the shot above: Canon 5D MKIII camera set at 160 ISO, 1/2000 second shutter speed, Canon 24-70mm zoom lens set to 24mm, f11 all attached to a Sachtler fluid head on Gitzo carbon fibre sticks.

If you would like to use this image, or any of my images for mock or comp use, please just ask. There is never a charge for this service. Educational use is permitted without charge, unless published, but please ask first. All commercial use is available only with a limited copyright release prior to use from the copyright holder, Steve Thornton. Thanks for looking!

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