Today I’m bringing you the photo that was the most fun to shoot: Tad Williams as the Weather Mage!

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Copyright Lauren Zurchin Studios. It is illegal to use this photo without permission
Behind the scenes of the actual photoshoot
Behind the scenes of the actual photoshoot

When initially coming up with the themes for the different photos, I started throwing around ideas relating to elemental magic. When weather mage popped into my head I immediately knew I had to do that for Tad. His personal look really fit the feel of the image i was planning, and lucky for me Tad loved everything about it.

A surprised and deafened Dana stands in for Tad during the test shoot
A surprised and deafened Dana stands in for Tad during the test shoot

The original plan was to photograph lightning coming out of a tesla coil and conducted into a rod cheated behind the staff, making it look like lightning was coming out of the staff (yes, I know, I’m crazy). I contacted a few tesla coil companies and performers, but they were either not in California, or they didn’t want the risk of possibly frying a world-famous author. I also wanted it on the beach, with rocks and waves all around, so I have no idea how this would have possibly worked! Oh well, sometimes ideas are bigger than practicality.

Since tesla coils were out I needed a back-up, so I purchased a bunch of fireworks. I ended up rubber-banding them to the back of his staff so they look like they’re coming directly out of the top. Good thing Tad doesn’t have any hair on his head, he was right next to and underneath all the sparks. And boy, were they LOUD. Check out order semenax my sister Dana during the test shoot. I wondered what was wrong with her, until I walked up and was promptly deafened. Needless to say, Tad was seriously the champ of putting up with my crazy ideas, and I think the final result is absolutely amazing.

A close-up of the top of the gorgeous staff that Kenny made for the shoot.
A close-up of the top of the gorgeous staff that Kenny made for the shoot.

I used the pattern for Gandalf’s movie cloak for Tad’s cloak, thinking the vibe would work well with the theme. I found a great heavy upholstery pattern that reminded me of a stormy sky, and after pairing it with metallic fabrics for his vest and cravat I felt like the overall look fit exactly what I wanted.

I needed a staff, and came across Kenny AKA Kurth at Kurthworks (he makes amazing staffs and wands, check him out!). I asked if I could borrow or rent something, but he surprised me by wanting to make a custom one for the photo! He took a giant blue crystal and surrounded it with blue swirls. Seriously, it was SO gorgeous, and I wish I had walked around SDCC with it (not sure why I didn’t, actually!).

I have a lot of great memories from this project, but one of my favorites was after this shoot. Once finished we decided to set off the remaining unused firework. So Tad, his wife Deb, their son, my sister, and I enjoyed a little bit of a finale for a job well done.

Be sure to tell Tad just how insanely bad-ass he is in this photo (though I think he knows it!). And be sure to check out the other released photos! Plus, be sure to pre-order the calendar! 

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  • Sedjwick

    Awesome! This is totally epic. I can definitely imagine a weather mage looking like that. The dim sky gives the idea of an incoming storm which I think makes it look even more epic and weather mage-like. Awesome work.

  • Kat Mc

    At first, I thought you were Prospero! Cool.

  • Mary Flavell

    This is seriously badass!