Thursday, December 5, 2013

Death Of A Christmas Card

"Are you sure it won't get in my eyes?", Nikki asked as she sat in the chair waiting to receive a colored powder bomb.

"Of course not, I'm gonna throw it from the side and behind you", I replied.  "Stop worrying about it."

The idea to use colored powder, or Holi powder, for our Christmas card, had been percolating in my mind for over a month.  After many years of taking the standard family photo by the tree, we decided several years back we would get more creative and have tried to implement something different since then. Like most people, I'd seen the "color run" photos and it seemed perfect to implement the powder into our card this year.  The effect of it exploding against the face is dramatic and definitely a crowd pleaser.  I bought two bags, one red and one green, and began thinking of how I would make it happen photographically.

I didn't want my first experiment to be on Nikki so I incorporated the powder into some baseball photos of my nephew, Jason.  His uniform colors were a perfect fit for the red, so that's what we broke out first.  With the camera remote in one hand and powder in the other, I dropped the powder from different angles and  heights to see what looked the best.   In the photo below, I threw the powder from the front.  Lucky for him, he had his glove to block the main thrust of my salvo.  Nikki wouldn't have this option.  As it turns out, the best shots came from dropping the powder lightly from above.  Armed with this knowledge and experience, I set out to make our Christmas card.

Before I go any further, it should be noted that Nikki was apprehensive about this concept from the start.  She doesn't wear disposable contact lenses so losing one is a huge pain in the ass for her.  It means wearing glasses for several days before a new lens arrives.  Plus, her lenses are hard so scratching her cornea is a real possibility.   I sold her on the idea and reassured her that my concept was sound and wouldn't cause any problems for her.

When the day of the shoot arrived, I eagerly went in the garage and got the lights and background set up and called Nikki in for some test shots.

"Remember, I want the 'mysical' look", she said.


I had the look in my head for at least a month, and "mystical" was not it.  I wanted exploding bombs, and nobody was going to change what I saw in my head.  Besides, I could always get "mystical" after the cool stuff was finished.

"You Ready?", I asked.


I put the camera remote in one hand, filled the other with a bit of green and a bit of red powder and prepared to get my shot.  I knew her patience would wear thin quickly so I had to get what I wanted in the first couple of shots.  Therefore, my timing had to be impeccable, which caused some anxiety, which led to a small surge of adrenaline, which made me throw the powder slightly harder, and from the wrong angle.

BAM!!!! Holy shit, I blew her face off.

I knew instantaneously we were done and that this Christmas card wasn't going to happen.

"Why did you do that?", she screamed.

"er...uhh....sorry.....didn't mean to....ohhhh....."  (something like that).

The shot above was the ONLY shot I got, and I never saw it until the next day.  We've made our peace about the incident, and we can even laugh a little about it.  Know this, though:  Whatever card becomes public this year, it's not nearly as good as what I had in my head originally.

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