Ravenglass Handmade Ice Cream

ravenglass handmade ice cream

I had an enquiry from Ravenglass Handmade Ice Cream, which at first I thought was to be a food shoot. Ice cream? Food? Seemed kinda obvious to me. As the conversation unfolded, I realised it was more along the lines of an automotive shoot. They have a trailer they can supply for weddings and events. Fully manned and ready to go, selling their unique flavours. They just needed to market it, hence the conversation.

Whilst it’s a food vending trailer, for the marketing images, I wanted to concentrate on the trailer itself, as they would have plenty of images promoting their delicious ice cream. I felt approaching the shoot as if it was an automotive shoot would best serve this purpose. I would be able to concentrate on promoting the flexibility of the trailer regarding possible locations, and the fact it would suite most terrains. The images photographed during a sunny afternoon would likely appeal most to corporate event organisers, or indeed most event organiser. I wanted a very polished, meticulously organised feel to the image. Whilst these images would likely appeal to brides and grooms as well, I wanted something with a bit more of an emotional pull for those potential clients, which I’ll come to later.

So let’s stick with the first image, and I’ll walk you through it.

Starting with the lighting, I placed an ELB500 frame left, firing through a 26cm reflector and aimed at the end of the trailer. Look at the light path along the grass for confirmation. The output was set to 5.0 (Equivalent to 200Ws). A second ELB500 was placed frame right, aiming at the front of the trailer. Again, it was firing through another 26cm reflector, at an output of 5.5 (Equivalent to 300Ws). Both heads were at a height of approximately seven feet, or roughly 2m.

It was 15:30hrs, and I wanted the image to have a late afternoon/early evening feel to it. I did a test shot, and the settings it gave me were 1/250th sec and f9 at an ISO of 200. This is my “base” exposure. I then did a further four shots at an ISO of 64, 100, 400 and 800. This gave me a five image bracketed sequence. The images were imported into Lightroom, where they were merged to create a very natural looking HDR image.

That’s the main thing I like about the Lightroom HDR functionality. It doesn’t overcook the image, causing it to look very contrasty. And it certainly doesn’t incinerate your retinas like some of the HDR stuff I’ve seen over the years.

Further finishing touches were done in Photoshop, mainly to increase the contrast in the sky and develop an early evening feel to the image.

Olympus E-M1 mkII 1/250th sec ISO 64, 100, 200, 400 & 80012-40mm f2.8 @ f9

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I’ve moved to the other side for the alternative 45° view. The ELB500 firing onto the front of the trailer remained in place, but I moved it nearer the trailer by a couple of feet and the output reduced to 5.0. The second ELB500 was moved to camera right and placed not too far out of frame. The output remained the same at 5.0.

The combined output was still a little brighter than the previous image, and I increased the aperture to f11 to compensate. The same bracketing technique and post processing routine was used.

Olympus E-M1 mkII 1/250th sec ISO64, 100, 200, 400 & 800 12-40mm f2.8 @ f11

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For this final image, I placed an ELB500 either side, creating a cross light path at 45° to the trailer. They were both firing at an output of 5.0. The camera settings remained the same as for the previous image. As did the bracketing technique and postprocessing.

Olympus E-M1 mkII 1/250th sec ISO64, 100, 200, 400 & 800 12-40mm f2.8 @ f11

So let’s move on to the images I wanted to provide for the potential wedding clients. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted a definite emotional hook to these images. Something that would hold the attention of a bride or groom to be. Generally speaking, the happy couple would intend to have something like this ice cream van at their reception. It’s unlikely it would be wanted for the wedding breakfast (or reception), as that tends to be quite a formal meal. However, it makes and ideal, and quite obvious choice, to have it available in the evening, particularly as there are more guests arriving, and it tends to be far less formal.

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The rather nice folk from Ravenglass Handmade Ice Cream added some lights, which gave the trailer a very celebratory feel to it. Now, if I were to do a simple long exposure, I’d have had issues with over exposure of the interior and possibly the sky too, as well as under exposure of the trailer itself. Oddly enough, the Olympus offers an extremely easy “fix” for this. I made use of the Live Composite mode, which records a series of exposures, and creates a composite file with any light increases when measured against the original first exposure.

So it’s simply a matter of working out the base image settings, which in this case were 4 seconds at f18 and an ISO of 800.
Why such a small aperture? Because it would create the nice star feature for each of the points of light.

After you press the shutter for the first “reference” image, the second press of the shutter starts the camera recording sequential images at the same exposure setting. Any increase in lit areas is added to the final image.

Once I set off the camera, I simply walked around the trailer with an LED torch, lighting the trailer in a specific fashion, so as to emulate similar lighting to that which I had used earlier in the day. These were taken just after 21:30hrs in August, as the light was dropping quite rapidly.

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Incidentally, Ravenglass Handmade Ice Cream can be found at http://www.ravenglasshandmadeicecream.co.uk/

My automotive and vehicle photography can be found here.