Faking It

Last week was a dispiriting week if like me, you retain a shred of hope for a future in which countries and people can peacefully coexist. It’s a sad state of affairs when 50 people are massacred by a car bomb in Yemen or like on Friday when the crazy Abubakar Shekau and his half human Boko Haram executioners went on another rampage leaving a death toll no one is sure about, although estimates range between 200 and 2000 and it doesn’t register on mainstream news because of the Paris murders, so is it any wonder I opted for the escapism of streaming  sports for solace.

It’s playoff times in the US of A, and although my favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers, have long been eliminated, I do like to watch the final rounds and then the grande finale, the Super Bowl.

Here in Germany the good people at Sat1 are broadcasting the playoffs in conjunction with RAN.de for anybody who’s interested, but sadly, despite their good intentions, German TV is not the best place to watch American Football, which is why I go to the source.

NFL games are stop start affairs with so much dead time that the American media have invented a raft of insignificantly pertinent statistics for commentators to rummage through while waiting for plays to begin, creating a symbiosis between the game and TV not seen with any other game. And then there are the ads. A never-ending string of explosions, color, loud music, beautiful people having wonderful lives because they can buy the right tyre, burial plot, the best Viagra tablets and marvelous medicines for incontinence and socially convenient colostomy bags. But the ad that really attracted my attention the most was for the Ford XL150 light truck. A supposedly commercial vehicle that’s fitted out like a luxury suburban car it has everything needed for work and attracting beautiful women. It also has a military grade body, whatever that means in reality.

To a non-American, ads touting a suburban car as being military grade is alarming, on a par with the fear mongering rhetoric of the NRA. A military grade body insinuates that when driving in suburban America one needs to be prepared for sniper fire and road-side bombs on a daily basis. It suggests that the country is involved in a violent internal armed struggle, which it isn’t.

I will continue to watch the playoffs, I love the game, but America, something’s wrong over there.

Today’s picture is one of those things that are much more than what’s needed, more about practicing skills than being creative. To get the light I wanted on the doll required three flashes. The key light was on camera right with a 80cm white umbrella, behind, also on camera right was another flash with a medium honeycomb grill fitted to control the light spread and illuminate the background. The doll was sat on a piece of white Perspex laid on a glass top table, which was lit from beneath by the third flash because I wanted the picture to glow. In post-processing the image was blurred with motion blur. The doll was then masked and partially restored, thereby giving the effect that it could possibly be a real in-camera effect, although it’s not possible to do such things in the real world.


70-200mm, f6.3, 1/125sec, ISO50


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