Dan Francis, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, wanted to create a Normal Rockwell-inspired image using a toy red truck that sat on his mantle as decoration for the holiday season. “You would think that a photographer in Fargo, North Dakota, wouldn’t have to create snow in his studio, but that’s what I did for this image,” he says. He poured flour from above so that it fell on the truck like snow and rolled the toy car through the flour to make it look like the treads were covered in it. Then he took a few shots from various angles. The images of the trees, fence, and footsteps in the snow were captured during a snowstorm as he walked his child to school. “I wanted to challenge myself to create an image from a toy and really push my Photoshop skills that I’ve been a student of for the last 18 years.”
CAMERA & LENS: Canon EOS 6D, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens
EXPOSURE: 1/160 second at f/14, ISO 200
LIGHTING: He used one main light in a 2x3-foot soft box above the toy truck.
POST-CAPTURE: He used Adobe Lightroom for minor editing and Adobe Photoshop for the composite. He loaded the images into Photoshop and arranged them in a composition. He used blending modes for the snow, trees, and footprints, the clone tool to remove anything that would give away the fact that the car was a toy, and added ice to the car windows as well as a more detailed tree into the back of the truck. With the truck and the foreground snow, he added a detail extractor in Nik Collection Color Efex Pro 4 to make the ice and snow pop. Finally, he created a global color to bring the image into balance.