Armor & Smoke

There are a few things I’ve been not so lowkey obsessed with for some years and that has been shooting a lot of concepts and stories fueled by inspiration that comes from armor, knights and shieldmaidens. It kinda kicked off with Arcadia; it turned into a second sister series called “Requiem” and here we are right now, fast forward to 2019; doing what I love most: causing some havoc.

For this set I got to thank my dear friend Erik, who both graciously let me work on his private land with the smoke bombs as well as offering his stronger smokebombs after I not-so-graciously forgot to check all weather conditions except wind. Which turned out to be pretty heavy that day and proved to be a bit of a challenge to control. But all by all: things turned out amazing!

This set was originally intended to be part of my broncolor GenNEXT program but after seeing the results on set I wasn’t completely satisfied - not due to technical matters; but simply because I had seen something far bigger in my head and I decided that this would just be a “little pre-study” ; one that seriously impressed and inspired me:

Shooting with popular elements like smoke bombs are easily repeated; Pinterest (and my moodboard) are full of awesome shots yet often touch on the same kind of approach, with the same goes for all “knight in the wood” themes. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I like to turn things around a bit, even just a little. For this I decided I would introduce a lot of color; partially because I absolutely love color and using this in my work but also as it’s not something I’ve seen done before a lot. For me there is something really inspiring about using some unusual elements and bringing these together and see it come to life in front of me. This here was no exception.

I shot this with both artificial light as natural; for a full run-down and explanation I will guide you to my Patreon where I cover the entire topic, light set-ups and some knowledge I picked up on the road. The lights I did use on set are from broncolor, both a siros 800 and my move 1200.


Credits

Model - Larp Vision
Assistence - Nzoye, Shienra, Maki & Erik
Armor - Mytholon

Lights - broncolor
Edited in Capture One Pro & Photoshop

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When we realised the smaller smoke bombs didnt work as good, Erik went for his red ones and we decided to make the best out of our waiting by shooting on the nearby field with the available natural light. I really like the simplicy of these yet their deep storytelling and have made me realise yet again that you don’t need a crazy amount of backdrop or set if you have a great costume and styling available (or vice versa, in other cases). Shienra was our amazing assistant who harnassed the cloak so the wind could really blow into it and create that amazing flow I was looking for.

"The Phoenix Gauntlets" Collaboration: Part 1

There are just a few things that have kept my fascination since my childhood - one is (as you might know when reading my blog) my obsession with armor and swords. I have little knowledge about it but I just like it all. Kinda like most of my geeky & weird obsessions - I can’t explain it, they just crept into my head and made it their cozy home and it has given me tons of fun adventures.

Throwback to like, almost 10 years ago and the moment I discovered the work of Lumecluster - an US based allround master of her craft that is equally as obsessed (but with a hell more knowledge) with armor and all that good stuff. I lowkey kuch stalked her for years - until she somehow found me, followed me back (cue my fangirling) and we got to talk to another (cue more fangirling until the end of this blog) about two years ago. She’s been creating some insane stuff for years already prior to this - her masks started in 2014 and she “only picked up” armor around 2016. I highly recommend checking her website out to see a ton more work she has done, as it’s too much to talk about: “Lumecluster: Where dreamers find courage” !

She invited me to - what would become an almost two year - collaborative project where I would be invited to capture her newest project: the Phoenix Armore. Once she was comfortable sending me her work to photograph and capture - I would be able to do so, if I wanted of course. Needlessy to say, I was freaking hyped and couldn’t say yes quick enough. Which also tested me in my limits of “non-disclore-verbal-agreement” as I was not allowed to talk about anything just yet. For. So. Long. This is actually my very first real public announcement, together with some overhyped videos on my own profile on Facebook and a quick livestream on Instagram just now - so you go figure HOW MUCH I wanted to share this!

But today is the day and today I can finally share more about it. While I won’t showcase or tell just yet what entire project I’ve planned in collaboration with her (where she also basically gave me free reign to do anything I wanted within her concept) - I will be sharing some exquisite insights in the work I will be shooting. I must stress these are not my images and I gently borrowed these from her website and blog, which I highly recommend checking out and giving it a read as it tells a hella lot more about it all - + you can even see Adam Savage himself putting it to the test :)

The two pieces I own here are both “small” - and when putting them on I could immediately feel how much love and research went into it. Not just the gauntlets on itself - but even the gloves. What I thought where first 2 sizes (small & medium) turned out to be two times a small. And all puns intended - the second prototype felt like a glove, even being a bit on the tiny side for my big lady hands! They’re super comfortable and they work with touchscreens. How about that …

The devil is in the detail and I’m pretty sure Lumecluster has been doing a lot of exorcism to get it out there - I’m incredibly humbled to be part of such an amazing project and to continue working with her on this. There is a 3rd pair in the make (one I will commission) - so I’m incredibly looking forward to see the beauty that will be the final piece. While I don’t think it could get any better after the second prototype, I’m sure Lumecluster will do just that …

The “Phoenix Gauntlets” by Lumecluster - 3D printed iridescent armor gauntlets to suit any shieldmaiden or warrior out there who wants to stand out and don’t compensate the fantasy for reality and the reality for fantasy.

The “Phoenix Gauntlets” by Lumecluster - 3D printed iridescent armor gauntlets to suit any shieldmaiden or warrior out there who wants to stand out and don’t compensate the fantasy for reality and the reality for fantasy.

So about the gauntlets: I received two pairs. One is the golden set (shown above) which is one of her earlier prototypes and a costum-colored pair featuring a gorgeous teal and purple color theme - close to the purple & blue one shown here yet different and striking in it’s own way!

As Lumecluster is a perfectionist, one could barely see a difference at first sight. While the gold has been worn a bit and shows some imperfections (I absolutely love as they tell a new story) - the new set is pure iridescent colorgasms and I’m living for it!

When I got the box, I eagerly unpacked all the pieces. Because that’s the best part: they’re not just gauntlets. They’re MODULAR - which means they’re detachable from another and can be worn in a variety of ways: you want to go casual? Don’t wear the wrist-piece. Feeling elvish? Casually attach one of your two options and become an elf. Feeling the need to steal the show? Get the other set, turn out your led-lights and literally shine your way into reality. Not feeling warrior on a certain day? Just wear the wrist-pieces on their own. Subtile and elegant? Take your pick. Want to show off? Turn on your leds!

It’s awesome. I’m a sucker for versatility, as I LOVE re-using pieces in my sessions. She literally gave me so many options now and I can’t wait to show what I’ve been cooking up with that. The following projects are also all dedicated to showcase their assembled and individual beauty - so stay tuned for sure if you want to see some serious action!

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