Some of us just don't have the body type to be King Henry VIII, and I'd count myself lucky to be one of them. But with time running down on my art historical reference assignment, I was picking out a fat suit to go along with the outfit that was being assembled for me. A chance comment and a complete shift in directions later, I'm standing on Avenue A in Turners Falls, Massachusetts and trying very hard to pretend it was London, and I was the world's premiere detective, Sherlock Holmes.

I think all this would be too easy if I stuck to my original plan, and far less fun. King Henry as a photo subject would be stuffy, posed, and with the exception of a few wenches, likely to be uninteresting. Being able to switch gears as quickly as I did made the ideas come loose and fast, and let me leave a small mark on a literary great. Read more after the jump.


This picture was the one that will ultimately be submitted for the assignment, being based on a more modern day cover of 'The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes'. Location proved to be the only sticking point for this project. Making a small modern town look like 1800's London wasn't exactly easy. The street lamps were the main feature, and finding the right type wasn't going to happen in the short working radius I had around town.

Luckily, the buildings near a local tavern evoked a more retro feeling, with wrought iron fences, brick sidewalk and an appropriate replacement for the street lamps. While the artwork I was sampling from wasn't exactly a masterpiece, it did have good directional lighting, or at least I could imagine where the lighting should be placed. Those familiar with my other work will wonder how many lights, or how high they were turned up, but subtlety was much in play for this shot. A single profoto softbox, high up to give a sense of street lamp light was only at f/4 to make me stand out a little bit. The overall exposure was 1/25th at f/3.6. Shot on a Mamiya 645AFDII, iso 50 on the leaf 22 back.

The picture was toned in photoshop to match the colors on the cover, a little olive green. Curves darkened the sky slightly for that foggy London look, and that was it for post processing for this one.

The title picture on the other hand had serious retouching work to get exactly the right feel. A green filter on the sky knocked it down to the proper color, along with some burning to darken it even more for a much moodier feel.