July 17, 2001

Cassandra, Nova Scotia XX (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Our last morning of work, on the day that Cassandra was to fly back to Ontario, was spent in the woods near Halifax, working with an open area of young hardwood near the highway. I'd worked in a similar setting with Victoria earlier in the year, and hoped to find similar successes with Cassandra. The day was bright and sunny as we left Halifax, so I was somewhat concerned that there would be too much sunlight filtering through the trees, leading to too much contrast on the forest floor.
8"x10" film
My fears proved unfounded, however, as when we arrived the daylight was soft and diffused, both by the light tree-coverage, and the high cloud cover moving in from the coast. The lighting was perfect, and almost immediately, we set to work.

By this session, Cassandra had become fully comfortable with the dance that models and I go through when working, one or the other suggesting a pose, and then the opposite refining it until it clicked. There is no way that I know to teach an inexperienced photographer or model the process of finding a pose, but once the skill is learned, the difference to the speed and flow of a session is palpable.
8"x10" film
This session was different from most of the previous ones with Cassandra; I opted to bring only one camera with me, the 8"x10" Toyo. After spending more then a week working between my 4"x5" and 8"x10" cameras, I have become convinced that the larger view camera is where I want and need to be, and subsequently chose to dedicate our final session to this camera. The decision proved to be a good one, as the two hours we had flowed perfectly, with the last of the day's twelve images being exposed moments before we had to pack up and be on our way.
8"x10" film
The final image of the session, and of the entire Cassandra project also proved to the portrait I chose for Cassandra, the Nova Scotia Portfolio. Made as we were literally counting down minutes to when we had to be finished with the session, and the image creation part of the project, the image has a wonderful mix of setting, lighting and expression. The surrounding of ferns and low plants presented a perfect setting for the portrait, while the narrow focus, and back lighting pushed the ferns behind Cassandra into the background, and away from the focal point, her eyes. By this point, both Cassandra and I were pretty much ready to bring the project's image-making phase to a close, and her gift of this striking image made it all the more perfect a session to end the project..

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