11 Oct 2014

World Zombie Day 2014

Today it was WZD and the streets fill once more with moaning zombies in the look for juicy brains. This event is a real treat for photographers (alive or undead), and having had so much fun last year I was not going to miss it!. I checked the itinerary and chose to go to the first stop on a tunnel under a bridge –a great place to be surrounded by zombies– instead of an iconic London landmark because I thought there’d be less tourists to bounce against, and more importantly, a lower level of ambient light so I wouldn’t have to wait till dawn to get some dramatic lighting.

The idea was to repeat the strategy of last year and combine ambient light with flash. My ever so patient wife Raquel was giving me a hand by running around with me carrying an off-camera flash with a small diffuser which was pushed barely outside of the frame. I gelled the flash with a warm tone and compensated with a tungsten white balance on the camera — this gives cool tones on the shadows and the background, and neutral tones on the highlights. The resulting light has more edge than just plain ambient light –which suits zombies particularly well– however I have to say it has been tricky to keep the balance between the shifting ambient with the amount of flash (something I’ve realised probably way too late is that there’s significant differences of ambient light on the ends of the tunnel than in the middle. Obvious in hindsight for sure!). The light is a tad too hard for what I’d normally go for, due to the small light source. This, again lucky me, works well with zombies! but my plans of using an umbrella quickly rendered as impractical given how crowded with tortured souls the place was.

The event is great fun, and if you happen to be a photographer in London, trust me Leake street where the tunnel is, is an amazing location to shoot at. I need to come up with another excuse to shoot there again.


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