December 31, 2004

A Snow Nude Session

One of Katarina's first questions when she arrived was "When can we do snow nudes?". My initial response was that it would be too cold but she kept insisting she wanted to model in the snow.On the final day of their visit, several hours before she and Lymari drove back to New England, we headed out for what probably will be remembered as the shortest photo session I have ever had.
Digital original

If we'd had more time, I would not have chosen to work on the morning we did; the temperature was a chilly -17 C° and, while there wasn't any wind, the air temperature was bitter enough on its own. In a small attempt to mitigate the cold, Katarina bundled up in a heavy one-piece snow-suit before leaving the house, the logic being she should be toasty warm until the actual time to model arrived, in which case it was just one piece of clothing that needed to be shed and kept track of. Because of the depth of the snow (0.5-1 m), she could keep her socks and boots on through the session, which was a small blessing - I suspect the cold snow on her feet would have ended the session before it even began (not that you could have told Katarina that - she was so insistent on working in the snow before she went back to the US).

I carefully selected a space which Katarina could work into without her footprints showing in the image - I sought a smooth, unbroken sea of snow for the setting. Also, because the morning had direct sun, I chose an area with some brush, to both break up the image a little and provide some shadows to lend form to Katarina's body. When I was in place, and Katarina was ready, she quickly stripped off the snowsuit and walked a meter or so through the snow to where I wanted her to pose.
Digital original
Despite all our precautions, in the end, Katarina lasted a little more than five minutes before it became too cold to continue. I made just over a dozen exposures, mostly variations on framing the same pose before Katarina grew too cold to vary the pose much and the session came to a halt.It took several minutes to get her back into her snowsuit and back to the car where she started warming up (though I suspect the warming process took longer than a few minutes).

I hesitate to say that snow nudes hold potential, as that would imply I think they are an area I plan to pursue but I do think that the results from the short session with Katarina will please her and make an eyecatching addition to my body of work as a whole.

December 27, 2004

Lymari & Katarina Arrive

One of the unexpected rewards of working with a single subject (the Nude) for so long is the extended collaborations so integral to the pursuit of my vision. Most of these ongoing relationships have been with local models but some come from further afield. Lymari first drove up from New England to work with me in 2001 and since then has turned her visits into an annual event, coming up to photograph, be photographed, and catch up on each year's evolution in my work.
Digital original, 6 frame stitch
This year's visit was loosely planned for the fall but kept being pushed back later and later until Lymari suggested visiting during her December break. She brought Katarina, a friend who was also interested in modelling. On December 26th, in the middle of the afternoon, Lymari and Katarina arrived several hours ahead of schedule and a storm.

It wasn't until the next afternoon that we started photographing - I had hoped to start photographing in the morning but the snow-storm precluded that, keeping the light low and dull throughout the day. In the end, I opted to use the living room as a setting, taking a cue from the previous sessions with Jesse and setting up the space much the same.
Digital original
I started the session working with Lymari. Katarina, who had never modeled nude before though she had been appeared onstage nude, decided to observe for a while to get the flow of a session.As with much of my other indoor work, I began by focusing on portraits and portrait nudes, revelling in the strength of Lymari's gaze and the muted beauty of the snowstorm light. Truth be told, the light was pretty dim, but it was so even and enveloping that the longer exposures were more than worth it just to get that particular look in the images.

After an hour of working with Lymari, with an eye to the clock, I asked Katarina if she would be comfortable trying some modeling with Lymari (I figured if she was going to model today, it had better be soon as the light would begin to drop rapidly ). A minute or two later, she and Lymari were side-by-side on the futon with the late afternoon light falling over them.
Digital original
By this point the light was dropping rapidly and my exposures were growing longer which put added pressure on me to make the most of the time we had before the light totally left the session. Fortunately, I have a particular attraction to images with shallow depth of field so working with large apertures is never a problem. By the time we conceded defeat to the low light and packed in the session, I was making second-long exposures at f/1.4, indicating the light had dropped more then 256 times in brightness from my first images of Lymari ninety minutes earlier!

December 13, 2004

A Third Session with Jesse

Jesse and have seemed to developed a two-week schedule, though this session will likely be our last of the year given the coming holidays and how hectic my December work schedule is, December being the only month when I work full time. For this session, I decided to continue working in the living room (where we'd worked during the infrared test session). By putting the futon flat and moving it below the windows, I could make the most of the limited afternoon light.
Digital infrared original
For most of the session I worked between the Canon 10D and the Sigma SD-10, exploring the subtle difference that the infrared camera creates in the results. The dramatic differences possible with infrared photography will only really come into play when I resume working outdoors in the spring. Part of this is my chronic "new toy" syndrome, but it is also partly learning the new tool and its place in my working process.
Digital infrared original
Although I began the session with my usual portrait series, because of the soft side-lighting of the space I worked with more bodyscapes and abstract nudes than usual. With Jesse, this required the breaking of a long-standing personal prohibition - namely the inclusion of tattoos, of which Jesse has numerous. Traditionally I have avoided including tattoos in my work, mainly because I feel they ground the images in the individual, as opposed to the universal.
Digital infrared original
Over the past years, the number of models with tattoos has been steadily increasing but with most of them, I try to work around them, either through careful posing or limb placement. With Jesse, however, I have found myself responding more to line and pose and seeing past the tattoos. I think when I do this, at some level I am aware that I could retouch the tattoos out of the resulting image (as they are produced on a digital camera, this would be easy) but, to date, I have always opted to leave the tattoos in the image. I suspect I may feel differently about Jesse's tattoos when I start working with her outdoors but for the moment, they seem to be creeping into my work.

November 30, 2004

A n Experiment with Digitial Infrared Photography

In recent years I have developed a spontaneous habit of changing equipment in the winter; in 2001 I switched from 4"x5" cameras to a larger 8"x10", in 2003, I switched from 120 and 35mm roll film to using digital SLR cameras. With each of these transitions, I used the slower winter months to accumulate the new equipment and gain familiarity with it. This winter is no different, with the acquisition of a dedicated digital SLR for infrared photography.
Digital infrared original
When I replaced my roll film cameras with a digital SLR, the only area of my work that I knew would suffer was my infra-red images. While infrared film is available for view cameras, it is prohibitively expensive; this, combined with the unpredictable exposures, pretty much ruled out shifting my infra-red imaging to large format.

I have been carefully watching the world of digital infrared photography for the past couple of years with a plan to take that route eventually. My initial plan had been to adapt a Canon DSLR through an American website offering the service but when I learned that the Sigma SD-10 was easily modified to infra-red by removing one screw, I decided to look into that system as a way of returning to infra-red imaging. As luck would have it, I was able to purchase a Sigma SD-10 demo kit and, in short order, I was up and running with a dedicated infra-red camera.

My very first thought on receiving the camera was "When can I try this out with a model?" I immediately checked with Jesse to see if she'd be available anytime soon for a session and four days after receiving the SD-10, I made my first infrared nude in more than 18 months.
Digital infrared original
Normally, I wouldn't choose to test new equipment on a model's second session working with me, but because of Jesse's previous modeling experience and her positive response to our first session, I wasn't too concerned. As opposed to working in the kitchen, which has little direct light this time of year, I decided to spend the session photographing Jesse in the living room, starting with her reclining on the sheet-covered couch and then proceeding to work with the last of the day's sunlight falling across her body through the horizontal blinds.

On the whole, the first session using digital infrared was quite encouraging, both in terms of workflow and results. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to shift between the Canon 10D and the Sigma (the Sigma has a smaller sensor so the same focal length lens on both camera gave a slightly different composition) and how easy it was to judge the exposure of the digital infrared images.
Digital original
One of the distinct advantages of working with infrared on the digital is the post-exposure view of the image (with a histogram) which permits easy exposure judgements, without having to wait until the film is processed, hours later. The second difference was how little difference there was between the infrared and non-infrared images of Jesse - unless there was direct sunlight in the image, they looked practically the same. The greatest surprise, however, was how much difference there was between a film infrared image and a digital one: film has a distinct glow to the image due to the lack of the antihalation backing on the film. The digital image, however, is sharp and distinct with none of the glow inherent to film. It will take some time to become used to this different look but, on the whole, I am very pleased with my first foray into digital infrared nudes.

November 15, 2004

Jesse's First Session

Jesse had contacted me about modeling after hearing about my work through Kylie - the irony of the digital world is that a model in Moncton, where I live, learned out my work through a model in Halifax, three hours away. Jesse and I met up and spent a couple of hours talking about my photography, and her interests. She'd responded to my work well, and me made plans to have our first session together several days later.
8"x10" film
Often, Indoor work takes a little more preparation than working outdoors (for that, I generally pack up my gear, and head out the door, deciding on a location while en route). For this session, I spent most of the morning watching the light in the house, and trying to anticipate where it would be by the time Jesse arrived. The kitchen is probably the best room in the house for photography, but this late in the year the light is very different from during the summer. It took about fifteen minutes to move around the furniture, and have everything in place by the time Jesse came through the door..

Because she's had previous experience modeling nude, Jesse and I started working shortly after her arrival (with new model without previous experience, the transition between arriving and modeling is often much slower). I'd left the futon-couch in its upright position for the start of the session, making some images of her first sitting, then lying on the couch. The first image of the session that really resounded with me was the first portrait we made, with Jessie lying down on the couch and looking at the camera over her bent arm. The light, while a little low, was beautifully soft, and when I added a white reflector to soften the shadows, the resulting portrait was a beautiful mix of delicate skin tones, and rich, dark shadows around Jesse's hair and face.
Digital original, 3 frame stitch
Regardless of the experience of the model, a first session is always about exploring the model's response to the camera, and about learning their personal body language and mannerisms. These are what make an image of Jesse different from one of Victoria or Miranda. Most of my focus for a first session is on making the model comfortable, and watching how they move, and responding to that with the cameras. In some ways, this is the magic of a first session, as until you start working with a model, the tone and flow of the session is unknown and is exactly what makes or breaks a session.

Jesse very quickly relaxed and at ease, responding positively to my suggestions and refinements of the images we were creating. We worked for a couple of hours (until the light dropped too low to work easily without resorting to flash) and made a broad range of images. Most of the photographs focused on portraiture, as this is where I tend to begin working with new models but we made a number of bodyscapes and more abstract images.
Digital original
As the end of the session came, I moved the futon out of the kitchen totally, and worked with Jesse standing. Standing poses can feel quite vulnerable and are often difficult to do during first sessions but, based on Jesse's comfort with everything else, I suspected she'd have little or no problem; I was more than correct - some of the best portraits of her were her standing, capturing her personality quite successfully!

November 07, 2004

Bobbi in a Fall Outdoor Session

Because of the volatility of fall weather, I didn't know what kind of a session to expect with Bobbi. Even when I picked her up, I was expecting us to opt for an indoor session but she insisted she'd like to try working outdoors (she shares my preference for natural settings over man-made ones), so we headed off, intent on finding a sheltered space that would give us some protection from the cool November wind.
Digital original
The woods that surround York Redoubt have been a common space for my work since I first worked there with Denise in 1993. Easily accessible but seldom used except for the odd dog-walker (who inevitably stick to the well maintained trails, the woods are a great mixture of soft and hardwoods interspersed with granite bedrock and glacial erratics, all of which adds up to a rich cacophony of visual potential.

The first half of the session was spent working with the strong, angular sunlight that worked its way through the trees at several points. These images were lacklustre, however,because the contrasty light broke up the images more than I'd expected. Things changed when we moved down from the sunlit rocks and into a shady part of the woods.
Digital original, 8 frame stitch
I had thought that the shady parts of the woods would have been too cool to work in but, after a couple of minutes to warm up, Bobbi was more than eager to make another couple of image sets before calling it an afternoon (because it was so late in the year, the sun was already setting at 3pm!).

By far the most visually interesting element of the woods was the rich green moss that covered most of the exposed rocks, contrasting against a bed of reddish brown leaves that formed the forest floor. The last two compositions of the day were focused on Bobbi's body set against the moss; with the first image, she was set between two rocks, and in the second she was reaching up towards a tree, arching back along a line of moss.
Digital original, 8 frame resolution blend
As I'd expected, the session came to a close with Bobbi getting too cold to continue - we certainly could have made a dozen more compositions if it had been warmer, but at this time of year, every image from every session outdoors is a gift;when she said it was getting too cold, we wrapped the session up and headed back.

November 06, 2004

Kylie Poses Indoors

The last time Kylie and I worked together was at the beginning of July at which time it was warm enough to model in water. For this session, however, we were limited to working indoors, so we met up at her house and began exploring the possibilities it presented.
Digital original
The first space we worked in was by far the most engaging - one of the bedrooms has an tropical canopy over the bed made of a fine net mesh which had a wonderful texture when it overlapped and overlaid itself. The whole net, cascading down from a ceiling right, looked wonderful, but wasn't possible to work with, due to a rather obvious wall-paper scheme on the surrounding walls (I tried to make images of the whole thing, hoping to be able to digitally retouch out the wallpaper, but the task turned out to be too time consuming). In the end, the most striking photographs turned out to be the net flowing down and over Kylie's body - the added layer of visual complexity reminded me of the Simulacra images, where one can look and the body, or the reflection - here, there is the body, and the net texture overlaying it.
Add caption
Once we had exhausted the possibilities of the tropical netting, we moved to working in the hallway outside the bedroom. Initially, I thought the space had little potential but as Kylie worked with the lines of the stairway railing and walls, I started to be drawn into the space. Normally, I don't have much of a reaction to architectural spaces which aren't ruins, but the clean, stark lines of the walls and railing worked nicely with the delicate light.
Digital original
We finished up the session working on the main floor of the house, with Kylie lying on some comfy couches and padded chairs. A number of these compositions were fullbody, but by far my favourite were a number of closer portrait images, where I look advantage of the lovely quality of the light, as opposed to the setting or pose.

October 31, 2004

Bobbi Poses in a Studio

Digital original

As the year draws to a close, the days get shorter and colder; I by necessity begin to move my image-making indoors. While most of my indoor work is with available light, when the resources present themselves, and the situation calls for it, I do work in a lighting studio.
Digital original
At the end of October, a friend and I had made plans for me to come to Halifax to help her with some view camera photography she was having issues with; as part of these plans, I kept an evening open to work in the studio with Bobbi. She and I have produced a broad variety of work since our first session in May but, to date, we have never worked together in a studio (the irony of this, of course, is that she first met me at a Studio Lighting Workshop that I helped co-ordinate). I often complain about how frustrated I am with studio sessions but, truth be told, I do enjoy them, for all their shortcomings. In some ways, they function more as sounding boards and practice sessions, but they do function.
Digital original
I began the session working with the same mirror which had fostered the creation of the Simulacra work and then moved onto more traditional portrait and body-abstract images. I worked for almost the entire session with a black background, preferring the more stylized look to my more usual approach with white sheets. It was only at the end of the session that I switched to working with Bobbi lying on the sheets and I by far prefer the dramatic, stark nature of the black backgrounds.

October 16, 2004

Fern Models in a Studio

One of the last people I'd expected to work with during my visit to Halifax was Fern; when I'd emailed people to let them know the dates of my visit, L_, Fern's sister passed the message on, and just by chance, while L_ was busy for the weekend, Fern was in town (she attends university outside of Halifax), and available for a couple of hours of modeling.
8"x10" film
This was my first indoor session working with Fern on her own; previously I've worked indoors with her and her sister, but as a solo session, this presented an opportunity to focus on just Fern, as opposed to the relationship between the two siblings.

I had expected the session to be spent working with studio flash; the day was cold and wet, and given access to a fully equipped studio, it seemed like the obvious solution. However, when we set up and started working, I had some problems getting my cameras to work with the studio flash (a problem with my synchronization cord, as it turned out), so rather than give up on the session, totally, we moved to plan B, opening the curtains on the large frosted double doors, and shifting gears to work with available light.
Digital original
This wasn't the first time a studio session has spontaneously changed to an available light session (the session with Christina is another good example of this occurrence), but it was the first that happened on a day with poor weather. My first concern was whether Fern would be able to hold poses still enough to keep them sharp on film; the low light levels were not a problem with the digital camera, because of its faster lenses, but with my portrait lens on the 8"x10" camera letting in 20x less light then the portrait lens for the EOS 10D digital camera, it wouldn't take too much to make working in the lower light a problem.
Digital original
As it turned out, there was just enough light to work with (only three of the ten 8"x10" negatives showed any motion blur), and the session was fabulous. Fern is a very animated, vivacious woman, and between her energy, and the beautiful directional window light, we spend several hours working between classical portraits, playful nudes (I seldom have smiles in my portraits, but when they do crop up, the end up looking playful and fun to me), and a few abstract nudes. As with many indoor sessions, I focused predominately upon Fern as a person, and worked with the nudity as a foil to introduce a sense of intimacy, comfort and unrestrained beauty into the photographs that we created together.

September 28, 2004

An Outdoor Session with Carol

This may well be my last outdoor session of the year - while the day was lit by beautiful light, thanks to some high cloud, it was slightly cool, with the snap of a fall day in the air. Since the beginning of Carol's pregnancy, the plan had been to document the pregnancy with the indoor sessions, and than do a session or two outdoors at the end of her term. During my last visit, ten days earlier, a baby shower and other plans precluded working outdoors so, after some debate, it was decided to make a special trip to Halifax, just to insure that we had the opportunity to do some images outdoors. The logic of a specific car rental and six hours of driving for one hour of shooting might escape some but I think the importance of wrapping up the images of Carol's pregnancy with some outdoor images far outweighed the effort and expense.
8"x10" film
As it happened, the day was a little cool for the images we had initially considered - outdoor images along the coast so, as an alternative, we headed to Spion Copp, one of my favorite architectural spaces to work in (and where I'd worked with Christine at the end of her pregnancy). Though technically not an outdoor setting , the old fort was definitely different from the indoor spaces in which we work for the previous five months and gave a very different type of image.
Digital original, 30 frame stitch
Carol was more than indulgent in providing me with the hour that we worked; this late in a pregnancy, pretty much anything gets uncomfortable after a few minutes, and working barefoot on the cold concrete floor was above and beyond the call of duty. I knew we wouldn't have much time to work, so I tried my best to photograph swiftly while still using all the tools at my call. For the digital images (all multi-image stitched), I first made the exposures of the part of the image in which Carol was present and, as soon as those exposures were made, got her back in her robe and shoes, and continued with the rest of the image. This permitted her to warm up between exposures and helped keep her from becoming too stiff and uncomfortable. For the 8"x10" view camera images, I did my best to get the composition and exposure set before Carol disrobed, making the final image in thirty seconds or so, with only a quick conformation of the final composition being made on the ground glass.
Digital original
With the end of the session also came the end of the body of work Carol and I have created over the previous five months focusing on her first pregnancy. A little over a week later, she successfully brought her first child into the world and both mother and baby are doing well!

September 26, 2004

Elisabeth under a Bridge

It turned out that the second space was right where I'd parked the car. The huge highway bridge which we'd parked under was quite awe-inspiring but both Elisabeth and I were unsure if it could be used as a setting for a figure session, given the massiveness of the scale, and the limited elements involved (basically, the huge concrete base and two pillars).
Digital original
Throwing hesitation aside, I helped Elisabeth up onto the concrete and began walking around it looking for angles to photograph from. Very quickly I realized the 12-24mm lens would be the best lens to use, as it was the only one capable of showing the bridge and Elisabeth with any sense of scale. I let Elisabeth know that I thought it would work, she undressed, and we started working.

Digital original
In actual fact, over the entire session Elisabeth probably moved less than ten feet; she started standing next to the left-hand pillar, then shifted to lying on her back below the pillar and finally to working standing on the inside edge of the concrete. Almost immediately, I saw that the real strength of the images would come from the contrast between the deep blue sky, the warmth of Elisabeth's skin, and the gray concrete. The limited range of poses that were possible was a little frustrating, forcing me to work more with composition and framing, but the graphic qualities of the bridge, combined with the rich colours made this more than possible for the twenty minutes we worked.
Digital original
In the end, the bridge images were in some ways more engaging than the river Nudes we had done at the beginning of the afternoon. Where those images were comfortable and familiar, the lines and stark colours of the bridge were totally new and invigorating, something that is near impossible to plan to build into an image.

September 24, 2004

Elizabeth in Jemseg

Although I moved to New Brunswick a year ago, I have actually worked very little in the interior of the province, preferring to concentrate on the areas closer to Moncton and between there and Nova Scotia. When I learned, however, that Elisabeth would be moving back to her home in central New Brunswick in the fall, I immediately asked her if she though it would be early enough in the year to permit a session or two before the winter weather closed in. She thought this wouldn't be an issue so we made tentative plans early in the year.
Digital original
When everything finally fell into place for a session, at the end of September, we were looking at the dying light of summer, and one of the last warm days of the year. Because neither of us had very much in the way of local knowledge, we decided to simply drive along the old highways of New Brunswick, and keep our eyes open for possible spaces. I have long been interested in photographing along the riversides in New Brunswick, but such a space, both isolated and accessible, seemed elusive, as the road was either directly beside the water, or too far back to permit us to judge if the space would work or not (the day proved again how important local knowledge can be to finding spaces).

Our real break came as we drove along the old road, under one of the new highway bridges, built in the past decade. we spotted a dirt road heading off from the highway, towards the river, underneath the new bridge. A short drive later, we had the perfect space to work, in trees overhanging the slow-moving Jemseg River.
Digital original, 12 frame stitch
The session was actually quite short; there were only a few trees with the right shape and form to work in and the direct sunlight, while great in terms of keeping the day warm, was difficult to work with. In the end, after a little more than thirty minutes spent working with a couple of trees, we packed up the gear, and headed back to the car, planning to look for a second space to work.

September 20, 2004

Bobbi in a Forest

From mid-September onwards, outdoor sessions take on an extra edge. Not only is each session a crap-shoot in regards to the weather, but the light has a particularly beautiful quality as the sun moves lower in the sky for the winter months. Even for a session like this, where the lighting was muted and subdued, the low angle of the sun still had an influence, providing a direction to what would have otherwise been a totally diffused light.
Digital original, 12 frame stitch
I haven't done many woodland sessions this year so, knowing the bugs were long gone, I suggested to Bobbi that we work in some trees for this session - the day seemed warm enough, as long as we were out of the wind. For lack of a better place to work (one woodland setting is pretty much the same as another) we drove outside of Halifax and then parked by the highway and walked into the woods.
Digital original
As I'd expected, the light in the woods was beautiful; none of the trees had turned to their fall colour yet, so the space was predominately shades of green, though there were undertones of gray and brown. The muted colour palette suited colour images, and while a few of the photos we made were converted into black and white, the vast majority of them I chose to keep in colour, playing with the contrast in hue between Bobbi's warm skin and hair, and the cool tones of the forest around her.
Digital original
This session was produced exclusively with a digital camera; I had considered bringing the 8"x10" camera, but as it was pretty cool when we started working, I didn't want to sap Bobbi's energy by having her stay still for the longer poses required by the larger camera. In retrospect, the best reason for using the digital camera turned out not to be the working process (it ended up being much warmer in the woods then we'd anticipated), but the fact that the images were made in colour. So much of what I responded to in the woods was the beautiful vibrant colours of the trees, and while many of the images we made work well in black and white, it is the colour images  which appeal to me the most.

September 19, 2004

A Final Sesion with Carol

Digital original

This session marked the completion of more then five months of work. What Carol and I had begun at the end of April was brought to a conclusion, with the last of our indoor sessions focusing on her pregnancy. The work that we'd produced was very different from any other photographic project I'd done to date; where most of my work revolves around singular images, this project followed a number of poses through the pregnancy, working with the idea of repetition and growth, as opposed to chronicling a singular grace.
Digital original
In many ways, we were fortunate over the course of the project. Our sessions were regularly spaced and by luck more than design, the poses and setting we chose in her house had surprisingly consistent lighting, given how much the time of year could have changed this.
Digital original

The final part of the project will take place over the coming fall and winter - taking the images and assembling each series into the final, printable, images. Done the easy way, this would require little effort, simply placing each image next to the previous, and calling it finished. Early into the project, however, I decided that I would rather keep the only variable the evolving pregnancy so I will be pulling Carol's figure out of each composition and carefully matching the images in size and composition on the same background. This will accomplish several things - by insuring the background is identical in each image, it will increase the sense of repetition of each series, but by the same measure, it will increase the sense of difference between each of the photographs, focusing the eye on the subtle differences in the body between each frame in the final composition.

September 18, 2004

Some Field Trip Images

Digital original
I do not often include images in the Photo Diary that are make on the various photographic workshops I teach, often viewing them more as side-effects of the teaching process. Over this summer, however, more and more I find myself making images that resonate during the workshops. These images are very different from my work with the Nude, but still rooted in my love for visual exploration and revelation.
Digital original
This particular workshop was about photographic perception - being open to visual possibilities at any time, as opposed to setting out to photograph preconceived notions. Of all the classes I teach, this is the one most rooted in the idea of actually making images, so it also tends to be the one that I make the most images in.
Digital original
We spent most of the morning photographing along the Halifax waterfront but, rather than making images of the space as a whole, I was drawn to the little details, the rope lines against boats, the weather marks on the wharves and concrete. What really caught my eye though, was the rise and fall of the waves; when I have extensive experience photographing moving water in lakes and rivers, I haven't done much photography of the ocean, so I pulled out my ten stop neutral density filter (which makes the exposure 1024 times longer then it would be without it) and made a thirty second exposure of the water moving between the wooden beams of an old pier. The result was extremely pleasing, and was a peak to the day.

August 31, 2004

Brianda Poses Indoors

The final morning of Brianna's visit was spent working indoors, with the available light coming in through the deck doors. The day was perfect for an outdoor session, but as she had to drive back to the US, the best use of our time was to spend it working indoors, as opposed to losing more then half of it to driving to the closest space I know to work near Moncton.
Digital original, 2 frame stitch
As opposed to putting the couch down into the bed form, and working with Brianna lying down, with the light coming from beside her, I opted to keep it in couch form, and set it running away from the deck doors. This provided the same kind of lighting that I am so enamoured with on the bed, but a totally different space for the model to pose it. Initially I worked from inside the kitchen, exploring the side lighting flowing across the couch, and Brianna's body.
Digital original, 13 frame stitch
The really interesting images from the kitchen, however, came when I shifted to shooting from the living room, towards the deck doors. As I shifted the camera to the new location, Brianna was playing around on the couch, and had thrown her legs up onto the back. Just as I has set up the camera, I glanced at her, and saw the soft glow of the window surrounding Brianna, with her legs creating a strong diagonal to the frame. I made several variations on the final image, each one made of multi-image stitches, to insure the final images were of the highest quality.
Digital original
The final part of the session was spent working with Brianna posing in the cut-outs between the living room and the kitchen. Since we bought the house, I had eyed the cutthroughs, but never actually suggested working with them to a model. Brianna however, saw the openings when she first arrived at the house, and immediately mentioned she would like to pose in them. As a close to our two days of working together, I cleared off the walls, and hung a backdrop on the far side of the openings. With such a limited space, I was surprised by how many variations Brianna could come up with, in regards to the pose. Still, in fifteen minutes, all the potentialities seemed realized and we drew the session to a close. Less than an hour later, Brianna was driving back to the US, and I began the processing and editing the images from the previous 48 hours.

August 30, 2004

Briana's Second Session

After we finished up in the water and shoreline of Neville Lake, we drove for another ninety minutes to arrive at Burntcoat Head shortly before 6pm; the tide was at its lowest and we had several thousand feet of beach to work on. Brianna and I had agreed to make the most of the daylight we had and planned to work until the light faded totally which gave us about three hours to work.
Digital original, 2 frame exposure blend
For most of my previous visits to Burntcoat Head, I had focused my image making on the small island, exploring the curves and lines of its wave-worn red sandstone but, given that the tide was so low, Brianna and I decided the best place to begin working was far out on the tidal flats. From a distance, the mud flats at the lowest edge of the tidal region look featureless and dull, but as we walked into the space, numerous possibilities presented themselves. By far, the most striking setting was a beautifully textured rock, backed by a round smooth bolder. Both Brianna and I thought the space had possibilities, but all the rocks were covered with sharp barnacles and I was unsure if Brianna would be able to find a pose that would be comfortable enough to hold.
Digital original, 2 frame stitch
It turned out to be relatively easy to generate a successful pose, and I spent several minutes working with the space. The sky was covered by drab clouds, but I planned to post-process it into something more dramatic, taking my cue from the earlier cloud images I'd worked with earlier in the month. This isn't to say that the image wouldn't have worked without the post processing, but just as I might decide to use a particular filter for a scene in black and white, this image was created with the sky post-processing specifically in mind.
Digital original, 2 frame exposure blend, 2 frame stitch
After working on the flat-lands of low tide, Brianna and I moved up onto the water-carved rocks that line the shore of Burntcoat Head. This space is now becoming more and more familiar with each subsequent visit, and that is making working in the curves and flows of the red rock all the swifter, as I have an idea of the spaces I wish to work in, and which ones would be better left for another session.
8"x10" film
In the end, the light faded before my ideas did, and Brianna and I had to walk back to the car in deepening twilight. We'd made the most of the day, and while we had to drive into Nova Scotia to find it, the weather was close to ideal (though to be honest, it could have been a little warmer at Burntcoat Head, but as long as we kept out of the wind, it was quite bearable). Given how little time Brianna had available to model, the extra effort we went through for the photos was more then appropriate.