Spirit of Ecstasy

click to view large or purchase

click to view large or purchase

The Spirit of Ecstasy is known the world over as the bonnet ornament of Rolls-Royce cars. A symbol of opulence and freedom, leaning forward into the wind, her arms stretched behind and the fabric of her dress billowing out behind like wings, ready to take flight.

This is the main thing that came to mind when I took this shot, I knew I had to get low and shoot up against the sky to engender the feeling of flight, but this posed two problems; first it was a bright day and the contrast between the brass statue and the sky was high, add in a few reflections and it could be an issue, sure I could have used fill flash but I did not want to ruin the light. In the end I opted to bracket my shots taking spot readings from the statue.

The second issue was more of an ethical one, this was not a small ornament on a car, this was a four foot statue placed on top of a grave as a memorial! Getting this shot meant getting down on the ground between the graves which raises the question “is it right to lean on a grave for a photo?”, I opted to half crouch beside the grave and lean over to get the angle I needed.

Processing was done in Adobe Lightroom, the basic processing made for the statue, followed by brushing in adjustments to bring out the detail in the sky, finally small adjustments were made on the statue itself to bring out more shadow & highlight detail.


2 responses to “Spirit of Ecstasy

  1. I am a pretty big Rolls-Royce fan, but have never seen the Spirit herself used outside the scope of the hood ornament like this. What a GREAT shot here, Chris, very dramatic. I love the way you used the sky as a backdrop to add to the feeling being conveyed here, it really adds a great element to the shot.

    • Thanks Scott old chap, always good when you drop by. If you like Rolls-Royce I think I may have something a little bit special for you coming up

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