March 21, 1999

Water and Light (Duncan's Cove, Nova Scotia)

I realized recently was how much work I had done with the Nude last year. In previous years, I've had difficulty finding people to work with, but last summer, and to a lesser degree, in 1997, provided ample opportunity to work with the Nude. The only thing is that the Nude images came at the expense of other work. Where normally I would work with ruins or other subjects, I focused almost exclusively upon the Nude. I only have a limited amount of time to photograph in, and if a model were available, I would happily chose to work with them as opposed to a more static subject (ruins or rocks, for example). This is not to say that I prefer the Nude to architecture or other imagery, but more that a model might not be available on another day, where a fort has nowhere to go.
4"x5" film
All that being said, I set out with great pleasure for Duncan's Cove. It was too chilly to even contemplate working with a model, so I knew the images would be focused on light and rocks, and I hoped to find some strong images to add to the work I'd begun in 1997. The results of the afternoon's work are incredibly pleasing to me - the early spring light was perfect, with the sun low enough in the sky to provide wonderful textures on the rock, and brilliant reflections within the spray pools. Where early in the session I was focusing on the landscape as a whole (attracted the to glacial debris field left over from the last ice age), by the close of the afternoon I was working again with water in pools, pursuing Light Images.
4"x5" film
The best image of the day, above, is everything I saw on the ground-glass and more. I took a great deal of time setting up the camera, with the lens about eight inches from the front edge of the pool. While I was confident that I had the whole image in focus, due to the use of a lens tilt to manipulate the focal plane of the image, I was unsure how the wind-blown water would resolve on the film. Deciding that the tilt on the lens would take care of most of the focus, I opted for a faster shutter speed, in an attempt to freeze the water's motion, as opposed to increasing the focus and sharpening the image. The decision was a good one: the image is sharp except for the very closest foreground, but more importantly, the rippled water is sharp and clear, lending an almost three dimensional quality to the image. If I had chosen to stop the lens down more, and increased the depth of field, the shutter-speed would have blurred the water into an indistinct mass...far less effective visually.
4"x5" film
Given the results of the afternoon, I am more determined than ever to try to balance my figure work this year with other imagery, not because I feel that my work with the Nude is weak, but rather because I think there are other ways to hold the dialogue I have embarked upon with my work.

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