May 11, 2004

Ingrid Models at Hopewell Cape

One of the first things I did after my first visit to Hopewell Rocks was put together a small gallery of images, and send them to Ingrid; I thought she'd find the space intriguing, and perhaps even journey up from Halifax to explore the possibilities. One of the primary motivators in trying to convince her to come up and work with the space was that the rocks are part of a provincial park which opens towards the end of May; if Ingrid wasn't able to come up before then, we wouldn't have a chance to work with the space until the following year. As it happened however, Ingrid was intrigued by the images I sent, and arranged to come up a week after I first visited the rocks. The tide cooperated and we arrived at Hopewell Rocks early in the morning and set to work.
8"x10" film
While the weather was less then ideal - foggy and cool, Ingrid was willing to model. One small benefit of the poor weather was it decreased the chances of coming across other visitors to the rocks. The overcast day was actually preferable to bright sunlight, which would have been too contrasty for the location. Though it looked gray and dull, there was actually plenty of light, and many of my exposures with the 8"x10" camera were made between f/32 and f/45, which ensure maximum sharpness for the images which concentrated on the texture of the rocks, and their contrast with Ingrid's smooth skin.
8"x10" film
Over the four hours we worked on the rocks, we took a couple of breaks to warm Ingrid up, but we were never at loss for locations or poses. In retrospect, I think I focused rather heavily upon the details, making tightly framed compositions, and didn't take advantage of the bizarre landscape as a whole. Ingrid's strength at finding successful poses kept me focused upon her and the local setting, so with the exception of the single image of her lying at the base of one of the "flowerpots" all the compositions I made were about "parts" of the setting, as opposed to the space as a whole.
Digital original, 32 image stitch
Without a doubt, the biggest difficulty with working at Hopewell rocks was the rocks themselves - made or deep red sand-stone and proved very difficult to photograph in black and white. Black and white film is relatively insensitive to red, and therefore, the rocks have a tendency to look too dark - I'd discovered this the week before during my first trip to the Rocks. Because I'd already experienced this problem, I decided to rate the film I was using at E.I. 200, to increase the shadow detail; this wasn't enough however, and as it turned out, the images all had dark, inky shadows; next time, I will expose the film at EI 50, severely reduce the development, and hope for the best.

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