October 18, 1998

Ingrid on a Cool Fall Afternoon (Polly Cove, Nova Scotia)

Having just read the above, it may come as a surprise that two weeks later found me once more working in chilly conditions, again with the intrepid Ingrid, and again trying to make the view camera work under adverse conditions. This time, for whatever reasons, I was more successful, and out of 15 sheets of large format film, there are three definite successes.

Rather than working with water or woods, this session was set in familiar territory - the glacial barrens that make up the coast of Nova Scotia to the south of Halifax. The below image from early in the session would eventually become my first book cover.
35mm infrared film
The first really engaging image of the day was made in an old foundation. Ingrid climbed down the wall and into the window in order to make the image to the left. The thing is, the window was more than 10 meters above the ground (Ingrid was also the model who posed for the railway bridge image in the August 1998 photo diary, so daring is her middle name!)

With the making of this image, I have pretty much decided a new element has worked its way into my imagery this year, starting with a nude I did of Megan in June. These two images, and perhaps three more made between, show a marked departure from my other work - they have an element of strength and tension to them which is refreshing and invigorating.
4"x5" film
The remainder of the work of the day revolved around the rocks and plains of the glacier field, one of my favourite spaces to be in, with a camera or without. Having learned my lesson from the previous session, I tried as much as I could to frame the image up with a 35mm camera (loaded as usual with infra-red, and later colour) before I set up the 4"x5" for the more traditional black and white approach. By previsualizing with the 35mm Nikon, I knew before I set up the camera what was the best pose, and radically sped up the process of creating the images.
4"x5" film
The final image of the day, above, is by far the best example of the advantage of this process. The first image of the scene was made with the camera off to the left, but once I made that image, I explored the pose with the far more portable Nikon - discovering the wonderful image to the right. It took less than a minute to move the Wisner, refocus and compose the image, and make the exposure. While I would still have preferred to have had the time to reflect and contemplate the images I make, I would be the first to admit that there seems to be a distinct edge gained by working "on the fly" so to speak. It's also better for the models, be they ever so indulgent and dedicated.

October 04, 1998

Ingrid and a Friend (Riverlake, Nova Scotia)

35mm infrared film
Generally speaking, I traditionally finish working with the Nude in outdoor settings by mid-September, with the cool weather and shorter days making serious work uncomfortable and infrequent. This year however, I have been fortunate to work with several tough-skinned models, whom, it would seem, have as much dedication as I have to the process (perhaps even more, as they have modeled in snow for another photographer - something I would have a hard time encouraging!).
35mm transparency
The session began with Ingrid and myself working on a river. The air was too cold to consider immersion of any sort, so we worked on rocks, first with the 4"x5" view camera, and then with 35mm infra-red. With the Wista, it quickly became difficult to frame the images I wanted, as there simply were not rocks in the right place. Frustrated that I could not work with what I saw, I eventually put the tripod and camera on the shore and finished up with the Nikon. The best image by far is the one above on the right - the sparkling light on the water, combined with the wind in Ingrid's hair make is a very magical image for me.
4"x5" film
After we finished up at the river, we walked inland some, and began working in the forest. As I had never worked outdoors this late in the year, I was not aware of how dramatic the light was. Even in the early afternoon, the sun was low in the sky, providing wonderful light. The final set of images of the day, including the one to the right, had me returning to 35mm, as the models were becoming too cold during the time it took me to set up the view camera. On colder days, lighter, faster equipment is definitely the order of the day.