Rambabe: Warrior Woman with Machine Gun – Rambo Parody

By: Scott Holstein

Filed under: Behind-the-Scenes, Personal Projects

Creative photography of a warrior woman emerging from the water while firing a machine gun.
A warrior woman (a Rambo spoof), emerges from the water at sunset while firing an M249 machine gun as the water splashes around her. 1/160 f/9 at ISO 800. Contact me to license this image.

"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 creative images that change it up a bit and have 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.

A warrior woman partially submerged in a lake with a machine gun.
Creative image of a warrior woman (a Rambo parody) partially submerged in a body of water at sunset with an M249 machine gun. 1/250 f/10 ISO 800. Contact me to license this image.

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 creative photography 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 speedlight flashes, which I mention in the video below.

Carlin Trammel 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.

17 Replies to “Rambabe: Warrior Woman with Machine Gun – Rambo Parody”

I have to admit that I thought the concept was corny at first, BUT you really pulled it off nicely. The lighting in the photographs is so well done that the pictures almost don’t look real. I also love the interview and the way the video is edited. Nicely done!

Well done Scott. Great concept and some great shots!!

Love it! Great job on the compositing, too. Did you shoot the casings under the same conditions on location?

Thanks, Jeremy! No; it probably would have been easier if I had. I photographed the casing later (and boy was that fun). Then Marc ‘shopped them into the frame. If you look close, the lighting gives it away.

Scott great shot knew Christine a long time ago,any way to get a poster for my grandson

I saw a similar concept in one of Joe McNally’s books, but what you pulled of here is just plain awesome. The second picture of her submerged in the water will make a great print to hang on the wall.

You put a huge smile on my face. Awesome shots, fun idea. Great work!!!

Awesome Scott! Love this BTS video and your final pieces! Amazing work!

Thank you, Kira! Glad you enjoyed it.

Excellent stuff – photos look almost unreal as others have mentioned – brilliant display of using lighting to get such an effect.

Wow. A VERY old article. But I’ll give it a shot that you’re still monitoring, anyway. Outstanding! Hey, it’s a parody, it’s supposed to be corny. Great idea. You should be a motion picture director. Ever done any commercials? Submit it to some Hollywood producers. I’ll bet you get a bite. . .

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