June 20, 1999

Miles and Ingrid Model on Rocks (Polly's Cove, Nova Scotia)

35mm infrared film
Because of the geographic position of Nova Scotia, much of her ocean-facing coastline is glacial plane. These broad expanses of granite cascade down to the ocean, and are strewn with a mixture of boulders, scrub and stunted trees. A distinctly inhospitable landscape, these glacial planes have been a favourite place of mine to work since 1993.

On this day, Miles, Ingrid and I didn't have much time, so we decided to stick with a route we knew and walked down to a rock cove where we'd worked last year. The day was sunny and bright, not my favourite photography weather but optimal for working with infra-red.
35mm infrared film
As we walked, following the path to the shore, we passed under a high cliff which both Miles and I instantly agreed had image making potential. We clambered up the rocks and began working with the pale wisps of cloud which I knew would turn black on film. It was only at the very end of the images we made on the cliff that the image above was composed. I seldom frame an entire landscape though I use a very wide angle lens (19mm) when I work with infra-red. The open vista looking down to the sea worked very well with the flow of Miles' shoulder and back and the low line of fog delineated the ocean from the sky.
4"x5" film
When we arrived at the cove, the sunlight pretty much obliterated working anywhere but under the sheer rock faces. The first image I made of Ingrid below the rock was an attempt to convey the massiveness of the cliffs at Polly Cove and, while I am pleased with the image, I still feel it falls short of conveying the space. The final image of the session was made when Ingrid moved into the crevasse to the right. Sunlight filtered down behind her in a narrow shaft along the crevice, producing a subtle side lighting to the left, while the flat front lighting gave a wonderful roundness to her figure, in a manner similar to Edward Weston's dancing nudes produced in 1927. One of the best ways to learn how light works is to see how others have mastered it and apply their technique to your vision.

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