August 17, 1999

Lilly Models in a River (Ingramport, Nova Scotia)

Lilly and I had produced some very strong work in a series of sessions in 1998, but due to hectic schedules, had found it hard to get together to work this year.  Finally we managed to work out an evening we both had free, and we headed for the country.
4"x5" film
Our initial plan had been to head for the coast, to make a series of nudes working against the setting sun. This project was shelved however, due to a fog bank we encountered en route. Turning back, we opted to try the Ingramport River, which was about ½ way back to Halifax. By the time we arrived at the river, there was less than an hour left for us to work, including our driving time.
35mm infrared film
Working under a time restriction is never my forte, but Lilly and I did the best we could, with surprisingly strong results. The couple of 4"x5" images we made were well framed, focusing more on the setting. The composition used the body as an element of the setting, as opposed to the focus of the images.  What was more interesting, however, were the 35mm results. I was testing a new 20mm Canon lens, but because of the setting sun, did not have enough light for hand-holding the camera while imaging.. After putting the camera on a tripod, I made a series of photographs using a one second exposure - my first long exposure images made on infra-red film. The results mirror my 4"x5" work, but also contain the elements of infra-red that appeal to me so strongly: the dark, murky blacks and wonderfully luminous skin-tones.
35mm infrared film
The best result for me from a technical point of view was the overall image quality of the session. The Canon 20mm lens proved to be every bit as sharp as I had hoped, producing images that surpass the images I produced earlier in the summer with a 20-35mm zoom. I have always used fixed lenses on my 35mm cameras, and now regret my brief venture into zoom lenses. The cost in terms of lens speed and sharpness is by no means outweighed by the slight increase in convenience.

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