The late afternoon of this day of furious image-making was spent deep within a coastal wood. The former site of a children's summer retreat, the woods where we worked were varied, from open grassy fields to older trees towering over the clearings, broad branches sheltering the grasses below. For almost all the time we worked in these woods, we explored the possibilities the trees offered - they were so different from the tall, straight trees of the Cathedral pines that we reveled in their spaces.
Initially, Yvette worked within some smaller trees (in fact we spent
more than five minutes clearing one of these of poison ivy, only to then
decide the light wasn't right for what we had in mind), but further
along, we came across an older, spreading group of thick trunks which
offered up great possibilities. Because the trees sheltered their lower
trunks, the light within this space was stunning, originating in the
sun-lit field that was beside the tree and giving a soft, brilliant
highlight appearing across the top of Yvette's body.
tree, we moved further along, and came across an even more elaborate
tree, with no less than four thick trunks emerging from the same root
system. These trunks provided a rich area to work within, and occupied
Yvette and I for the better part of an hour, with me trying to translate
what was happening on the tree into successful images, and Yvette
working with the lines and flow of the tree to come up with successful
poses. Again, the strength of the space came as much from the setting
itself, as it did from the light; the setting sun behind the trees,
being softened and filtered through the leaves that surrounded it, gave
enough contrast to the figure to provide a distinct side light to the
poses, separating Yvette from the trees around her. It never ceases to
amaze me how many disparate and successful images can be made in such a
Of all the work Yvette and I did on this day, the images we made within this forest are by far the strongest, created thought the combination of perfect lighting, and a rich graphical quality, coming from the combination of strong poses and a striking setting. I think it is no mistake that these images came towards the close of the day, when Yvette had become comfortable with the experience and was more familiar with the process overall.