May 26, 2001

A Second Outdoor Session with R_ (Tupper Lake, Nova Scotia)

The final location for the day was a lake about two hours from Halifax. By the early afternoon, the day had warmed up enough to be more than comfortable for the model, and the quick pace of the morning was replaced by a more sensible work-speed that more suited the 8"x10" camera.
8"x10" film

R_ knew the area and felt that it would lend itself to my imagery. The first image was actually made with a piece of driftwood we found a little into the woods and drew on the complexity of the wood and the smooth elegance of R_'s side and hip for its success. I was a little doubtful about the location as we walked through the woods, but when we came to a clearing by the water, and I could see the granite rocks at the shoreline, I knew this would be the perfect place to complete the day.

The late afternoon light was coming across the lake, providing strong side-lighting, which is always enjoyable to work with - too often direct sunlight comes from above, which is quite frustrating to photograph with. I took advantage of the light and set R_ against a large granite rock that sloped back away from where I'd placed the camera. With her leaning back against the rock, the sun on her skin offset the dark rock, and created the look I wanted. With the 159mm lens on the 8"x10" (equal to about a 24mm lens), I managed to keep all her figure in the image (I couldn't move the camera back any, without going for a swim) but avoided any extreme distortion through careful use of camera movements.
6x9 cm film
Without a doubt, the last three hours of the day were the best, both from the perspective of R_'s pleasure with the warmer air temperature, and the images we made. While my favourite image of the day was created in the woods we worked in in the morning, the afternoon work felt less rushed, and more considered - there was more time to reflect before making an exposure.
8"x10" film
As my first day's work with a model and the 8"x10" Toyo, I was extremely pleased. I was a little hesitant to work with a first-time model with the camera, given how large it is and how much it slows down the process but, all in all, R_had no problem. And the results, though sprinkled with technical shortcomings and niggling process problems, move me further

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