“Rambabe” is my latest personal project, done just for kicks as a creative recharge. It is, of course, inspired by the Rambo movies; I own the ’80s trilogy. While watching it one day I decided it would be fun to make a photo that changes it up a bit and has a beautiful, tough woman as the “one man army” instead of a sweaty dude (no offense, Stallone).
And since I’m from Florida, there was never any question that she would be in the water. I scouted several places in the Tallahassee region, originally looking for something swampy that might be able to pass for Vietnam, but I decided on a more open-water location with Lake Jackson so I would get a clear view of the sunset.
I rented a rubber replica of an M249 machine gun and fake ammo from a prop house out in L.A. (OK, I admit it; it was a rather arduous process; “I’m not going to rob a bank, honest!”).
I wanted to do a behind-the-scenes video again (embedded below) to show the process from conception to realization. This time, though, I wanted to play with the high-definition video capability of my Canon 1D Mark IV and create a quick, film-like intro to set the stage for the photo shoot. In addition to the gun, I also rented an old military radio and microphone just for the intro. We filmed a short parody of a scene from Rambo: First Blood Part II, my favorite of the trilogy.
The beautiful Christine O’Connell brought Rambabe to life, donning a camouflage bikini and braving the lake at sunset with her warrior game face on. For the photos, I lit Rambabe with a couple of Canon speedlights, which I mention in the video below.
Carlin Trammel of Stormspeed Entertainment did great video work again (he also did the behind-the-scenes video for “Quagmire”). Marc Thomas did post-production work on the photos, Rebecca Lehman did Rambabe’s makeup, and Rick Jackson wrote the music.