June 29, 2004

Three Models on the Seafloor

Without a doubt, Burntcoat Head is one of the best spaces to photograph in that I have ever found in the Maritimes. Every since my first session working there in 2003, it has been in the back of my mind but the chance to return to it has been somewhat limited, both by the schedule of the tide and its distance from Halifax (90+ minutes) and Moncton (almost three hours).
Digital original
That being said, when plans were being made for Miranda and Bobbi to come up to Moncton to model for a few days, the suggestion was made to meet with them and Ingrid, as well as photographer/occasional model Miles, at Burntcoat Head to get in a day of photography in before we headed back to New Brunswick. I agreed to the plan, and early in the afternoon, a small army descended upon Burntcoat Head (seven people in total!).

Having already worked at both Burntcoat Head and Hopewell Cape in New Brunswick, I was better prepared than every before for the particular exposure issues presented by these spectacular spaces. In colour, the rocks present little problem, as their deep red shows up well but with black and white film, getting the correct exposure for both the model's skin and the dark rocks around them has previously been difficult. Black and white film is naturally insensitive to red; with the rocks being so red, they have a tendency to record about four times darker then they seemed to the eye. The simple solution to this is to provide more exposure for the rocks, while reducing the development of the film to combat the increase in exposure. I tried this approach with Ingrid at Hopewell Cape in the spring, and it was better than any of my previous attempts but with this session, I finally hit upon the correct combination of exposure and development.
8"x10" film
Because there were three models and two photographers present (kind of an embarrassment of riches), the session took on a slightly more structured feel than most. I began by working with Ingrid and then switched to photographing Bobbi and finally working with Miranda. There was a slightly artificial feel to this approach, and I couldn't help feeling that while I was working with one model, I was ignoring the others. From time to time, an image would present itself that called for a second or third model, and I could take advantage of the extra talent present, but on the whole, I felt that I was constantly missing possibilities because I couldn't be in two places at once.
Digital original, 2 frame stitch
This was by far the best timed session at Burntcoat Head, with us arriving as the tide was falling, and working until we had to leave, as opposed to when the rising tide forced us off the beach. Even after four hours of working on the shoreline, there were so many images that went unmade that I long to return to the space to continue exploring its possibilities.

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