October 03, 2000

Rocks & Water (St Margaret's Bay and Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia)

I came to working with water late - it was only after working with photography for eight years that I first made my water nudes, and it was Joy's poetry that opened my eyes to other possibilities, leading to the Laetitia images.
6x9 transparency film
On this day, the chance to guide Peter along the south shore of Nova Scotia was coupled with the opportunity to spend the day photographing the waterways inland from the coast where I normally work. This river, which feeds directly into St Margaret's Bay, is one of the most striking water spaces I have ever come across. The lake which the waterway feed off was as still as glass, but then it flowed through a narrow gap, under the road, turning swiftly into rapids and small falls. The smooth flow of the water towards the bay was wonderful to work with, creating smooth, even ripples in the water. Because I was primarily acting as tour guide, I'd left my 4"x5" at home, and instead was working with my smaller Fuji 6x9 rangefinder. This was a very different way for me to work (the camera has a fixed lens, limiting the angle of view to one the equivalent to a 28mm lens on a 35mm camera). The final results though, were more than pleasing, with some very interesting interpretations of what was, to the naked eye, a small and limited space.
6x9 cm film
When we moved onto Blue Rocks, I again focused on rocks and water, but this time it was tidal pools, as opposed to the moving water of a river. What really drew me to the pools was less the water, and more the reflection of the afternoon sky. The day, up to now, had been overcast, and it was only in the late afternoon that the sun was finally breaking through the clouds, and providing some contrast to the scene. By carefully waiting for the right moment, when the sun was behind clouds, but still very present in the scene, I was able to make a well balanced exposure - with more cloud cover, the clouds would have been too dark, and with less, they would have been brilliant white against the properly exposed rocks.
6x9 cm film
At the end of the day, I was left with a really surprising group of images. Because I have limited time and resources, I tend to focus on the Nude, when I have the opportunity, with the logic that on days where there are no models, there will be rocks and water and stuff. This day bore that truth out, but also provoked the question - if I took more time to work with other subjects (as opposed to working with models whenever I have the chance) how different would my work become, given time to experiment and grow?

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