September 02, 2002

Fern Models by a River

My second day of outdoor work with Fern (the first was in August) began with her and I working down in the river valley of the LaHave river, which was low from lack of rain. I would never have thought of looking along such a wide river for places to work but, as has happened many times before, local knowledge prevailed, and a fabulous space to work was discovered where none was expected.
6x7 cm film

The riverside was extremely varied, ranging from undercut cliffs of soft rock with verdant green ferns and rich rock textures to low rock shelves stretching out into the slow moving river. The light was perfect, with high overcast condition providing a wonderfully soft illumination that made everything seem to glow. Even under the overhang of the cliff, the light seemed to almost wrap around Fern's body and lift it from the surrounding rocks and shale.
6x7 cm film
Given the beauty of the light, the session moved along at a rapid pace; there was more then enough variation in the settings to keep me engaged, and as soon as Fern and I began to struggle for pose or composition ideas, we moved on to another location. This is an interesting variation of my normal approach of working with a space until all possibilities are exhausted, for fear of missing some fabulous composition or pose. Because I was working with the smaller Mamiya RB camera, it was quite easy to respond fluidly to each new location, without taking too much time to adapt the camera set-up. As much as I enjoy the studied, considered speed demanded by the larger view camera, it was almost refreshing to work at such a rapid pace, in such a varied setting.
6x7 cm film
As things turned out, it was fortunate that we worked so fluidly, and took advantage of the variety of landscape open to us in the space. When we were pretty much as far down the riverside as we could safely go, some hikers began to approach from upstream, so we brought the session to a close. One of the greatest advantages of having extra people along on a session (in this case, Lymari and a model she worked with) is that it increases the number of eyes looking out for visitors; I am aware that some people would be less then pleased to come across my work-inprogress, and sensitivity to this reality colours all of my outdoor sessions, no matter how remote the location.

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