ISO 100 | 115mm | f 8.0 | 1/200 sec

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt completely helpless?  Where despite every effort to avoid a bad situation, it seemed to hunt you down, snatch you up, and pin you to the wall?  And no matter how hard you struggled, you still found yourself stuck in a predicament that you were physically incapable of escaping?

For most of us, I think a true nightmare constitutes a situation wherein we come face-to-face with one of our greatest fears and find ourselves incapable of overcoming.  Whether it be circumstances, physical inabilities, or some freakish turn of events, something always happens that causes us to fail and find ourselves in the death-grip of one of our greatest tormentors.  In a nightmare, fear always prevails and we are helpless to change the resulting course of events.

Fear doesn’t just reside in the imaginary dreamscapes of the average nighttime sleeper though.  Fear is a living and very active force that creeps from place to place, wreaking havoc and paralyzing it’s victims with terror and uncertainty.  Though unseen, fear is a very tangible thing to those who have experienced it, and many can vouch for the years that have been effectively trimmed off their lives because fear had pinned them against the wall and placed them in a position of feeling utterly helpless.  Afraid to pursue their life-long dreams, these individuals wasted away, victims of their own uncertainties and feelings of inadequacy.

We, however, don’t have to be victims.  We don’t have to by paralyzed by fear or bullied into a corner by our own sense of failure or incapability.  Rather than letting these feelings bind us, we need to face them head-on, realize the truth, and fight for freedom in our own lives.  Freedom from lies, from hurts, from despairs, from doubts, from worries, from insecurities.  All these things only exist to hold us fast and keep us from accomplishing the things that God has placed in our hearts to do.  If we choose to remain victims, then victims we shall stay, destined to live lives full of fear, dread, and unhappiness.

Don’t let fear pin you down.  Fight back!  Pursue your dreams!  Try things you’ve never tried before!  Go out and conquer the world!  You’ll be so much happier that you did…

Simple one-light setup for today’s shoot.  Shot the main image with a small soft-box from above-left.  I did the same for my self-portrait, only I used a slightly bigger light-source (a beauty dish) to try to capture a similar quality of light as that in the main image.  I also shot both images with a white-balance of fluorescent, this added a slightly blue tone to the entire image, giving it a colder feel overall.
As for the compositing, I had placed the tape on the letter before photographing it.  I just guessed at the approximate locations/proportions and figured I could make adjustments in post.  I then posed accordingly and composited my self-portrait over the top of the letter.  I ended up having to use the puppet-warp tool to adjust my positioning to fit within the bounds of the tape I had placed on the letter.  After getting myself positioned just right, I used a low-opacity brush to mask out my self-portrait layer and start to show the tape layer beneath.  By using a low-opacity mask, I was able to create the illusion of the transparent tape overlapping my arms and legs while in reality I’m partially erasing the top layer to show the tape layer below.
After adding the shadows and doing some color adjustments, this image really started to come together.  I did some slight dodging and burning, and also did some brightness adjustments on portions of my self-portrait layer to better match the lighting of the overall image.
Well that’s my submission for this week.  Hope it doesn’t keep you awake at night!

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