It has to start with a foggy day. This means that there are just a few available days each year that will produce the perfect conditions for capturing the backgrounds, so keeping a close eye on the weather is a fundamental part of the image making process.

When I know that fog is imminent I make sure that the camera batteries are charged and everything is ready to go, I can then head out early and without delay. I find that shooting just before dawn gives the best results, but the window of opportunity is small, I usually only get an hour or so of ideal light. I shoot handheld so that I can stay mobile and move quickly. Fog can move and disperse at a surprisingly speed. The background images for the current series were all captured with a Fujifilm X-T3 camera and 16-55mm lens, an ideal balance of size, weight and image quality.

I compose carefully to make sure that there is room in the shot for my robot. Back at my desk I go through the shots, selecting the ones I want to use. This process in itself can be lengthy as I am always striving to create a coherent and considered collection of images. These then go into the digital darkroom where Adobe Photoshop is used to clean the backgrounds, remove distractions, such as litter, cars and people and to make minor tweaks to the colour balance and contrast of the image. It is a lengthy and layered process, during which each image is returned to and adjusted time and again until the correct balance is achieved.

I use another piece of software, Adobe Dimension, to create the robots. This is an intuitive 3D design package. From ‘primitives’ (basic 3D shapes) I construct the robot and position its hands, arms etc, then apply textures and materials to create the look I’m after.

Adobe Dimension allows me to import my background image so that I can rotate and scale the robot to fit. I then light the robot within the Adobe Dimension software, to mimic the direction, colour, brightness, softness and ‘feel’ of the ambient light in the original ‘background plate’.

Once the robot is rendered out as an image file, a process that can take many hours of computer time, I take it back into Adobe Photoshop to place it into the background I had selected and retouched. The final composite is then carefully retouched to make the blend between the robot and background seamless, and finally the light beams or glowing eyes of the robot are created.

From the capture of the original image on a foggy day to the completion of finished product, can take many days as I like to keep coming back to each shot and make changes and alterations, ensuring that each shot sits together with other shots in the series to create a considered and complete collection.