Featured Hasselblad User Thomas Morel

Featured Hasselblad user Thomas Morel

This week we are very excited to feature Hasselblad user Thomas Morel, a Dutch professional photographer, who currently resides in Norway.

Thomas combined his interest in sports and the human ability to defy gravity with his visual passion and aesthetic feeling for photography. He quickly started working on ad-campaigns for different clothing brands including Puma, Helly Hansen, Umbro, Skogstad and Nike.

Thomas Morel - Biathlon

He first became a semifinalist in the Hasselblad Masters Awards in 2010, at the age of 19, and has gone on to win many awards and competitions.

To find out more about his work, please visit: www.thomasmorelphotography.com

Or find him on Instagram: @thomasmorelphotography

Birds of Prey

Scandic Hotels engaged Thomas Morel to create the artwork for amongst other the Scandic Eagle hotel in Bergen, Norway. They needed photographic artwork within the theme of birds of prey and gave Thomas complete artistic freedom to come up with the appropriate imagery.

“I wanted to create images that would give the hotel guests the feeling of being intimate and on a personal level with these majestic birds. I knew that I had to get really close to be able to visualise this feeling, and careful planning and provocation was key if I wanted to pull this off.”

Gear used for these shots are Hasselblad H5D-50 with 24mm lens, and the lighting is one single Broncolor Grafit A2 RFS with Pulso G head and the big satellite, together with another head and standard reflector with grid to set the details and highlight the snow in the background.

Thomas Morel - Bald Eagle

Thomas Morel - Bengal Eagle Owl

Thomas Morel - Snow Owl


“For some time the idea of creating an image of a sport that had a three-dimensional feel had intrigued me, and I decided that the combination of a rifle, snow and the sheer dynamics of Biathlon would provide a dream-combo of elements for a truly spectacular shot.”

“Naturally I needed someone who was highly accomplished in this event to be my model, and fortunately Olympic athlete Ann-Kristin Flatland agreed to take part as soon as I put the idea to her. Next, the combination of weather and temperature had to be exactly right: anything warmer than -10C would have meant that the snow would have had a slushy consistency, so I needed to pick a date when the quicksilver had dropped below -19C. Now I know that Hasselblad’s manual suggests that the camera won’t work at these kinds of levels, but then again I’ve never really taken too much notice of such things and, sure enough, I never encountered any problems.”

“Once the temperature reached this point I knew the snow would have the beautiful powder-like consistency that I needed, and conditions would be perfect for the picture I had in mind. Now for the bullet: I’d calculated that it could be possible to catch this in flight with a muzzle velocity of 340m/s with a flash duration of 1/8000sec. It would mean that it would have travelled around 4.25cm during the exposure, so I knew it wouldn’t be entirely frozen, but it would still be recognisable despite the blur.
The night of the shoot in Lillehammer I set up my gear outside to let it acclimatise while I had a coffee inside Ann-Kristin’s apartment.”

Just trying without getting cold:
Thomas Morel - Biathlon - Just trying without getting cold

“I tried to explain what I wanted to capture, and we agreed that we would try to put every element in place while she was still wrapped up in her warmest clothing, and she would only change into her competition gear for the final shot. Because it was so cold we had several rounds of trying to get the shot we needed, interspersed with going back inside to warm up.”

“So, how did this shot finally come together? One of my big things is the fact that I don’t just piece lots of components together in Photoshop to get what I’m after: rather I look to manipulate the situation so that it’s as close to what I’m after in-camera as it possibly can be. In this case, I wanted to capture the shot of Ann-Kristin flying through the air in one take, and to achieve this I had her jumping from a chair placed just outside the frame to the left, landing in a pile of snow to break her fall. She had to do this around twenty times before I had what I wanted, and each time she leapt her boyfriend, Kristian, threw a shovel full of snow to create the effect we needed.”

“The timing for this was crucial and it had to be slightly early, because it took a little longer for the snow to take up its optimum place in the frame than it did for Ann-Kristin to reach her perfect position. Finally, we worked out that Ann-Kristin had to jump on a count of three, with the snow being thrown when we reached two. If you look closely at the image you can see that her rifle is filled up with snow, and that’s the result of some of the many previous attempts we had made at getting the perfect shot before things finally worked out.”

Getting the timing right:
Bullet right at the spot, saw it first when I turned up the exposure levels

“The only serious postproduction work carried out here involved adding a separate shot of the bullet. It would have been totally irresponsible to be firing a deadly weapon while airborne, so to protect any hikers or passers-by who might have been in the vicinity we had Ann-Kristin separately fire 10-13 shots into the snow on the count of three once the main part of the picture had been completed. This gave me my image of the projectile, and this was stripped into the final picture. This means that the shot is not manipulated in any way, rather it’s a simple combination of two shots.”

The final result:
Thomas Morel - Biathlon

Conceptional Branding, Huurre

”Huurre strives to be a global leader in refrigeration technology, cold storage construction and services, improving the world’s cold chain efficiency and safety. Huurre’s primary customers include the food industry, wholesalers, retailers, professional kitchens and medical sector.”

Thomas was together with the agency AlfGundersen, tasked to communicate the company’s and their employee’s passion for their product and service.

“We came up with the slogan ‘We have been deep-freezing the country since 1946’, and developed a concept to underline and visualize this. The idea became to show four of their passionate employees in a freezing situation, whilst they clearly thrive in the freezing cold condition. The imagery would be the leading part to communicate some textual ‘Cold Facts’ within the branding and advertisements.”

The point is to personalize some of the employees, and give the company a personal face and identity and at the same time underline the true passion that the employees have for their job. Showing the employees in freezing conditions whilst they still clearly thrive in it, is really a playful and simple way to get the point through to the target group as effective and powerful as possible.

Photographer: Thomas Morel
Agency: AlfGundersen AS
AD: Bernt Endre Johnson
Client: Huurre Group
Makeup artist: Mariann Øvreeide

Camera: Hasselblad H5D-50Cwifi
Lens: HC 3,5/50mmII