July 13, 1999

Victoria, the Alberta Portfolio VII (Mountain View, Alberta)

The final light of Victoria's first day modelling in Alberta was spent down in the coulee, along the banks of the Belly River. As I'd previously explored the coulee, I had several locations in mind, and as the sun went lower in the sky, we moved along the coulee.
4"x5" film
Most of this session ended up being portraits of Victoria; the landscape at the bottom of the coulee was quite fragmented and disjointed, and rather than struggle to find order within it, I set the environment aside, and focused upon the model. There is a particular power which comes from an unclothed portrait.
4"x5" film
One of the biggest differences between Alberta and Nova Scotia, is the quality of the light. There is no real way to describe this difference; suffice it to say there is more, and longer light in Alberta. When the sun goes down in Nova Scotia, there is between 10 and 20 minutes of decent light, before night rapidly encroaches. In Alberta, however, the twilight seemed to linger far longer; "Quiet Light" is apparently one of the treasures of the West, from a photographer's perspective (I personally thought it was the mountains and hoodoos).
6x12 cm film
Regardless, the evening light was luscious and alive in a way that never happens in Nova Scotia. The final two image here were both made well after the sun went below the horizon. In both cases, one second exposures were necessary, yet the quality of the light was wonderful, soft and diffused in a way which I have never seen before.

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