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.

Brianda's first session

Brianna had first contacted me about modeling in 2002, when she lived in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. I told her it was unlikely I would be up her way anytime soon (NWT is farther away from Atlantic Canada than Europe is, even though it is still in Canada). I did however encourage her to let me know if she was ever coming this way, as I would be more than happy to work with her.
8"x10" film
As it happened, this summer found Brianna with a job in Maine a relatively short distance away in Maine and, after some e-mail discussions, we settled on the last weekend of August as the best time for her to come up and work with me.

Though the afternoon when she arrived was sunny and warm, the next morning dawned more then a little wet. The day's weather was calling for thundershowers, and the threat of rain all day, so we decided rather then chance the whim of the weather, we'd leave New Brunswick for the promise of cloudy with sunny periods in Nova Scotia. Not wanting to drive all the way to Halifax though, I
decided to head for Neville Lake, where'd I'd previously worked with Bobbi and Ingrid. This time, however, the light was perfect - soft and even, and we spent more than two hours working at the lake, both in the water, and in the trees surrounding it.
8"x10" film
For someone who had never modeled before, Brianna had a striking sense of confidence (she claims it was rooted in two years of wanting to model, but I think it was still surprising, regardless). The first couple of images in the water had some hesitance and reserve to them, but before we moved out of the water an hour later, she was totally comfortable before the camera, and some of the most striking images of the session were standing portraits - one of the hardest poses to ask of a model.
Digital original, 4 frame stitch
On the whole, the session went really well - it was less chaotic then the previous session with Bobbi and Ingrid (two models often increases the possibilities, but inevitably leads to a measurable distraction factor), but at the same time, having worked in the space before made the session stronger- I had an idea of where I wanted to be, and what sort of poses and compositions were possible.

August 16, 2004

Bobbi & Elisabeth at Martinique Beach

This session was a second try this summer at the elusive sunset at Martinique - the session with Bobbi and Ingrid was successful, but I still had ideas in my mind's eye that I wanted to try to realize. Both Bobbi and Elisabeth had worked with me earlier in the year on sunset images and were keen to see what else could be created.
Digital original, 6 frame stitch
As it turned out, the sunset was brief and unimpressive; most of the images we made working with the sunset sky was made well before it dropped below the horizon. Still, taking inspiration for the two-model nudes of the previous session, I made a number of compositions with the two models below the dramatic sky that are more than pleasing. It is frustrating on some levels to feel so close to realizing these sunset images and then be foiled at every turn by the weather, but such is the lot of a photographer in the great outdoors.
Digital original
After the sky lost its lustre, and the water grew too cold for the two models, we moved up onto the dunes, and made a number of images with the 8"x10" camera (these were the same dunes where I'd first worked with Bobbi three months earlier). I made several images of each model, working with Bobbi on an image rooted in some work on the Boutouche Dunes, and making a very striking portrait of Elisabeth. I'd asked her to roll slowly down the dune (a feat that proved both impossible and quite funny to watch) and she'd landed, and then looked up at me from the dune. The resulting image is everything I look for in a Nude Portrait; confidant, challenging, and most importantly, unquestionably about Elisabeth.
8"x10" film

The end of the session came with both models running out in to the surf on the ocean-side of the beach...a little crazy half hour, with me standing to my waist in the water, and the models frolicking in the water.
Digital original

It was in the middle of this session that I rolled past 50,000 exposures made with my Canon EOS 10D, in about 18 months. That adds up to 5,000 rolls on the Mamiya RB I sold to buy the camera...even allowing that I have only kept half of those images, that still translates to more then $10,000 CDN in film (not even thinking of processing) which I have not had to purchase. Digital is not a panacea, and I certainly can't see myself setting film aside in the foreseeable future, but I certainly do not regret the shift of about half my image-making to digital.

A First Session with Veronica

Veronica had contacted me early in July and asked about the possibilities of working with me - though she didn't live there, she was planning a visit to Nova Scotia in August. After a couple of e-mail, we worked out a time to meet in August and talk about working together.
8"x10" film
After a pleasant meeting at a cafe on Saturday evening, we made plans for Sunday, working indoors to make the most of Veronica's time and give her a secure environment for her first modeling session. While I have a strong attraction to working with model outdoors, I do feel that first sessions are often better indoors, in a warm, comfortable environment where the model feels safe and at home. While Veronica was only visiting Nova Scotia, she did have a couple of places available to her for us to work in, and early in the afternoon on Sunday, we met up at a friend of hers, and half and hour later, started working.

We started working in a bedroom, covering the bed and side-tables with my white sheets and taking advantage of the large windows on the side of the room providing a soft, diffused light. One of the strengths of working this way is that is simplifies the room and keeps the focus on the model, but at the same time, it is crucial that the model has the comfort and confidence as the image focuses on her alone. With Veronica, though this was her first time modeling, she had more than enough strength of personality to deal with the attention.
Digital original
Once we finished working on the bed, I asked Veronica if she'd be interested in trying some shower nudes. When I'd been shown the house, I noted a well-placed window in the bathroom, perfect for lighting shower nudes. I think Veronica was take back a little by the request, as she hadn't considered the possibilities of shower nudes, and they were a little more personal then I think she had conceived of doing. After some thought and discussion of the lighting and visual possibilities, however, she agreed to give the idea a try.

The shower images turned out even better then I'd expected. Veronica has a natural poise when she stands which worked well in the shower, and the window beside her cast a beautiful light across her body, picking up the shape and form of her torso well, all the while lighting the water flowing across it. The space was a little small to work in (as many bathrooms are), but there was enough light to work hand-held, and the photos at the end were even better then I had hoped for.
Digital original
After three hours of working together, Veronica and I had created a wide variety of images, ranging from bodyscapes, to portraits and shower nudes. Both she and I had hopes of working together outdoors before she headed back home, but unfortunately, this never came to pass. I do hope to have the chance to work with her more in the future, but this will depend on her and my travel schedules, more than the mutual desire to make more photographs.

August 15, 2004

Carol's Pregnancy Documentation Continues

Digital original, 4 frames stitch
The second last planned session with Carol saw a huge change from the previous month, with the coming due date really beginning to show. By this time, our approach to the sessions was firmly established, taking about ninety minutes from start to finish. We started working with the soft even light in the front room, moving from there to a series of images on a white-sheet covered bed, and then finishing up with the images in the stairway.
Digital original
The further I get from the start of this project, the more convinced I am to the strength of time-based photographs. These images show the evolution of a pregnancy in a way that singular images could never tell, and while I am still frustrated that her pregnancy happened just after my move from Halifax, but all things consider, I think the two of us made the best of the potential offered.
Digital original

August 14, 2004

Leah at Martinique Beach

Leah and I had made plans several times before to work together but every time,either her schedule or mine changed, pushing the date off until another time. Finally, things came together, and after a day of teaching, I packed up my gear and headed off to meet her. Since the first time we'd talked about working together, Leah had said she was most interested in working in water, so we headed to the coast, opting for Martinique beach.
Digital original, 10 frame stitch
Since my first session with Krista at Martinique Beach, it has become one of the most common settings for my work with the Nude since (it has had a similar influence as Gold River and Dawson's Brook). I am always amazed at how easy it is to work on the beach, given what a popular summer destination it was for sunbathers and surfers (not that Nova Scotia has great surfing waves, but surfers make the best of what there is).

The day was sunny in Halifax, but when we arrived at Martinique, you couldn't see a hundred meters for the fog. Still, it was warm enough for Leah to work in the water, and after walking down a distance on the back side of the beach, we set to work.
Digital original
Because of the thick fog, I decided not to take the 8"x10" camera - the amount of moisture in the air was a concern, and while I could keep the digital SLR under wraps until I was ready to shoot, the larger view camera was impractical. Using the DSLR was actually very appropriate for the session, as many of the images we made were strongly horizontal, and could be made with multi-image stitches, which both suited the subject matter and increased the resolution of the images.

After working on the backside of the beach for half-an-hour or so, Leah started to get chilled (more from the cool air, and staying still than from the actual water temperature), so we wrapped up the session, packed up the gear, and prepared to set off. Before we left however, she wanted to check out the ocean side of the beach, to see the waves.
Digital original
In the fog, the surf looked pretty impressive, emerging from the wall of gray and slowly gaining contrast as it approached the beach. Leah wandered a little into the water, and promptly declared she could work for a bit in the surf, if there was enough light. Though the light was a little low, there was more then enough to work, so we began to work. I swiftly realized the best angle to work from was in the ocean as well, so I took my camera off the tripod, rolled up my pants, and wadded out into the surf. We didn't work for more then ten minutes, but it was a good, fun ending to a short but successful session.

August 13, 2004

Bobbi in an Abandoned Engine Room

Some of my very first outdoor nudes in 1989 and 1990 were made in the military ruins that abound in Halifax. These spaces still serve as very successful settings for working with models. They are perfect places to work on sunny days, as they keep the compositions in the shade, and they are often quite secure from interruptions, as the forts are relatively remote and unvisited.
8"x10" film
As Bobbi had the whole afternoon available, I knew from the start of the session that I would concentrate on working with the view camera and working slowly enough to insure that every image was as refined as possible. This is a luxury seldom present when working with models - usually the emphasis is upon making the best of the setting and lighting, while looking to the comfort of the models; in this case, with a comfortable setting, consistent lighting and plenty of time, I could put as much into each composition as required.
Digital original
We spent the majority of the session in a small concrete engine room, working on the concrete blocks that supported the engines, and the small windows around the room. Because of the regimented nature of the space, with the engine-block supports on the floor and the concrete roof beams running parallel, the space was fabulous to work in with a wide lens. With the view camera I could use lens movements to keep the perspective correct, and with the digital camera, I could play with the inherent distortions of ultra-wide lenses, pulling lines to the corners, and playing with spatial relationships.

As much as I had intended to focus on working with the view camera, a good amount of time was spent working with the digital - after finishing with my initial perceptions, I often explored to pose with the digital camera, using it to examine other possibilities and less rigid compositions. I have such a strong attraction to image symmetry that often it is difficult to bring myself to make photographs that use off-centre composition, or strongly distorted perspectives.
Digital original
Every time I work in the forts, I am reminded of how beautiful the light is - the combination of diffused, even lighting for the image as a whole, and small focused bright light-sources (the room windows) providing beautiful highlights on the models. This combination almost never fails to deliver on the final images, and put together with the long tonal scale of large format negatives (or carefully processed digital images, to be fair) really helps create photographs of great delicacy, where the lighting is concerned. I think this is where my real attraction to working in the forts lies - the light is so beautiful and delicate, and the poses and settings often have a real look of strength and power that the final image is the sum of both elements.

Miranda Returns to Herring Cove

With few exceptions, the pattern of my work this summer has been packing as many photo sessions into my weekend visits to Halifax as possible and then returning home to Moncton to process and edit the work I've made. The more I've followed this approach, the better I've become at planning my time, fitting as much into the weekends I have in Nova Scotia.
Digital Original, 3 frame stitch
On this particular weekend, my first session was with Miranda; she had been along with Bobbi for the afternoon we'd spent working at Prospect but had spent much of the time working with Jay. I'd initially planned to spend the whole afternoon working with Miranda, but she only had a couple of hours free, so I decided to stay closer to Halifax and work at Herring Cove - the same location where she'd modeled solo for the first time three years earlier.
Digital original
The lighting for the morning was as close to perfect as you can find - there was a thin layer of fog over the landscape - not enough to chill the air, but more than sufficient to diffuse the sun and even out the light. Because of the limited time, I decided to work only with the digital camera but I took full advantage of Miranda's patience, and made the majority of the compositions as multi-frame stitches. It also turned out that almost all the images were stronger in colour, so I took the unusual step of keeping all the images in full colour - this has only really happened in the past when I have worked with models at sunset, but in this case, Miranda's hair was so similar in tone to the warm granite rocks that it seemed a shame to remove the colour and render everything in black and white.
Digital original, 5 frame stitch
Given that this was our second time working in the same space (albeit separated by three years), it was very interesting to see how Miranda and my working process has evolved. In the intervening years, her relationship with my imagery has grown to the point that a session flows very smoothly with her and I moving over the landscape in a kind of choreographed dance. I'll point out a setting and she will work with it, refining my suggestions into a working pose. It isn't that our earlier images were any less successful, more that the same images take far less effort today.

August 10, 2004

Bobbi in a Lake at Sunset

I seem to have developed something of a fascination for sunsets and water images - I think this is one of the areas where my shift to digital is most apparent. The freedom to work in colour when it is appropriate has unleashed a whole new area of possibilities where before they were lost to the black and white film I worked with.
Digital original, 2 frame stitch

Given temporal realities, we didn't have the time to make the journey to Martinique Beach, where I have had such successes in the past with sunset nudes. The closest water that I thought would work was Chain Lake, on the outskirts of Halifax, so as the sun moved below the horizon, we raced from the car to the lake, arriving with enough light to work for a little while.
Digital original, 2 frame stitch
Unlike Martinique, where the beach was sand and gravel, the bottom of long lake was decayed leaves and mud, but with some trepidation, Bobbi ventured in and we started working. It was very different from the beach, as the water gained depth relatively quickly, so I had to remain relatively close to shore, and was limited to having Bobbi move around in the water, as opposed to moving myself, to gain an alternate point of view. I also was forced to focus on working with the digital camera, as working with the 8"x10" camera would have been both too slow, and too limiting, given how hard it was to move around in the water. In fact, after working for fifteen minutes in our first location, I suggested we quickly move further up the lake - the light was fading by the minute, but I wanted to be able to move around her more and knew of a space further up the lake where that would be possible.

The move ended up taking a frustrating location and changing it to a fully functional one. The light had dropped even more by the time we started working in the shallows, but with longer exposures (four seconds) the images were perfect - the water blurred slightly, smoothing it out into a reflective glass sheet but Bobbi stayed still enough to be an anchor in the frame.
Digital original
Like all my other sunset session, the light faded well before either Bobbi or I ran out of energy, and we likely spent more time walking in and out of the space then actually working, but the results of the session were worth the efforts. I was pleased with how different Long Lake looked from my other sunset session, and am wondering if this will end up a motif - colour sunset nudes, as a subset of my water nudes.

Bobbi at the Coast

With a fellow photographer/friend visiting from the US, this week was planned as a photo extravaganza, with a particular emphasis placed on working with the Nude. Because of the few models I've met to date in that province, however, we ended up travelling to Nova Scotia for the last day of his visit, to insure there was at least one full day for us to work together with figure models. We were fortunate that Bobbi and Miranda had the day free, and were willing to work with two photographers, as opposed to just me.
Digital original, 4 frame stitch
After meeting up in mid-morning, the four of us drove out to Prospect to work along the Atlantic shore. The day was bright and sunny, perfect for a walk outdoors, but not the best for photography. Sunshine tends to bring dark shadows and high contrast to a scene, both of which are difficult to combat, particularly with digital cameras. Black and white film is actually quite easy to adapt to working in contrasty situations, but with a digital camera, there is only so much one can do to minimize the problems.

Bobbi and I worked along the shore for an hour or so, experimenting with her posing the foreground, and the waves breaking on the rocks behind her (we also remade an earlier image from 1997, working with a much higher vantage point, and a wider-angle of view). Much of this was produced on the digital camera, but occasionally, when a particularly strong composition was created, I set up the 8"x10" camera and made a second version of the image on the larger film.
Digital original, 2 frame stitch
By noon we had worked perhaps 200 metres along the shore, and were becoming more and more aware of the occasional dog walker or hiker. As a group, we all agreed the population increase was potentially problematic, so we packed up, and walked for half-an-hour or so, moving farther down the shore then I have ever walked before. Once we were pretty certain we'd moved beyond the other visitors, we took a break for lunch, and just sat and enjoyed the fresh air and stunning vistas.

I spent the rest of the afternoon was spent working with Bobbi on the rocks, and in the ocean itself. The focus of the images however, was less on the landscape, and more on the skies. Over the afternoon, light wispy clouds had moved in overhead, and drawing upon the cloud images I had been exploring in New Brunswick as inspiration, I proceeded to mix that drama with poses Bobbi and I generated.
Digital original, 2 frame stitch
On the whole, the time we spent at Prospect was very productive - I worked with spaces both familiar and new, and incorporated some new approaches to my work. The indulgence of Bobbi with my experiments (she had not seen the sky images I'd been working with the week before) was invaluable, as it permitted me the freedom to make mistakes (and successes) without worrying about the model considering the session a waste of time.

August 06, 2004

Genevieve at Cape Enrage

Genevieve and I haven't worked together since the late winter, though we live in the same city; an irony of the move to Moncton has been that I have tended to work more with Halifax models, 2.5
hours away, then make contact with new models in New Brunswick. Partially this is a function of Moncton being a much smaller city, and partially that I have been back in Nova Scotia on
a monthly basis teaching.
8"x10" film
As with the Prospect session two days before, because of the harsh sunlight of the day, we decided to head for the coast in hopes that the high clouds we could see in that direction would diffuse the light  into something more usable. We arrived at the coast to find the light was indeed softening, but also, the tide was rising. Unlike most shorelines, where the tide is a 2m rise, on the Bay of Fundy, there is close to a 10m of difference between low and high tide. In the time it takes to make a single image, five feet or more of shoreline could disappear under the rising water.
8"x10" film
We set up to work as close to the water as possible, planning to work as the tide rose. The first set of images worked with some very angular rocks, perfect for Genevieve to recline in. Between starting the image, and finishing it, the Bay of Funday had risen over a foot, prompting us to grab the gear, and scamper another ten meters inland to a large rock outcrop that seemed perfect to work on. This was a doubly wise move, as simultaneous to this, some tourists arrived at the beach, and started to walk along the tide line. Moving up also placed Genevieve around a corner and bought us another previous half-hour of shooting time.
Digital original
 The end of the session was forced by the rising tide; we literally ran out of space to photograph in, and had we stayed any longer, we might have found it difficult to get back to the car. As we were packing up and preparing to leave, however, I happened to glance across the Bay of Fundy, towards Nova Scotia, and what I saw there took my breath away. The day had been pretty evenly overcast, but across the bay, a dramatic line of clouds were building, including one with a dramatic sweep to it. I immediately set up the digital camera on the tripod, and using the longest lens I had (a 300mm), made an exposure. Because the cloud was so far away, and the day was kind of hazy, the resulting image was pretty low in contrast, but through careful post-processing of the image into black and white, I managed to make a striking image of the rising cloud, stretching out over the low, dark landscape across the bay.

August 04, 2004

Three Models at Martinique Beach

It is unusual for me to have a set plan or expectation for a session, but occasionally an experience or image makes such an impression on me that I will seek out to build upon it. For this session, I'd made arrangements with Bobbi and Ingrid to head to the beach for a sunset session. I was hoping for a sunset like the one Miranda and I had worked with in August of 2002, but when we arrived at the beach, the sky looked dubious - there was some great clouds but also more then a few wisps of fog, which I suspected would come in as the day came to a close.
Digital original, 5 frame exposure blend, 2 frame stitch
Regardless, the light was beautiful when we arrived, so we quickly set up the equipment and started working. I'd chosen the day to work because it would be low tide when we arrived at the beach, guaranteeing shallow water to work in over the hour or so of the session.

I worked with both Bobbi and Ingrid in the water, making multiple frames of each composition, so I could later blend the images together, thereby preserving both the detail in the models, and the sunset sky behind them. The water was quite smooth to begin with, making it easy to blend the images between the bright sky and the dimmer foreground.

Numerous time, I asked if one or the other of the models would be able to come in to add a second figure to the image - this made coordinating the poses a little more difficult, as I had to communicate to both models, as well as respond to the changing light at the same time, but for a number of  images, it was more than worth the effort.
Digital original, 1 frame resolution blend, 3 frame exposure blend
When the sun was a hand's breadth above the sky, I realized that we definitely were not going to have our beautiful red sunset - there were beautiful clouds in the sky, but below them in a narrow band along the horizon, was a line of fog, which was thickening swiftly, obscuring the sky. I didn't know how this would play out, but I had the feeling that we would be looking at something different from the fiery sky and water I had been hoping to work with.

Within a space of half-a-minute or less, the light changed dramatically - the sky was a mass of dull gray, and the only hint of the sun was a red smudge on the horizon. I moved closer to Bobbi and Ingrid, and asked them both to move as low in the water as they could. I set the horizon high in the
frame, and making the most of the surreal nature of the image, with the two models huddled against the leaden sky, and the tiny fire of the setting sun almost lost behind them.
Digital original

As with the Miranda session two years earlier, the light changed almost faster then I could respond, and the session ended all too soon. This time, however, because of the shift to using a digital camera, I had the advantage of both a faster working process, and the option of working in colour (almost all the images I ended up with were in full colour, though some did work well in monochrome). Working with two models (three actually, as Miles, who was along as a photographer, also ended up modeling once the light fell) was defiantly beneficial, as some of the most pleasing images relied upon the interplay between the models, as much as between them and the landscape.

A Seaweed Session

Bobbi has proved to be one of the most keen, enthusiastic new models I have worked with in years; she is not only open to working with a wide variety of landscapes and situations, she is also totally comfortable with working with other models, often asking if any other models will be coming along on a session. On this particular morning, both Bobbi and Elisabeth were free, and after checking with both, we made plans for a two model session.
4"x10" film
As we drove towards Prospect, I was having doubt about how the light would be. Inland, on the highway the sunlight was harsh and direct, but at the coast, thin fog and low clouds quickly changed the light to a much more pleasing indirect light. Deciding to skip the parts of Prospect I knew well, we walked on the inland path down the coast for about twenty minutes, until we were in unexplored territory (for me at least).

We actually spent the entire session working around a small rock outcrop that broke up the rock beach shoreline, and created a number of small pools of water separate from the ocean as a whole. After a number of portraits of the two models on the rocks and standing in the ocean, we moved out onto the rockweed that covered most of the shoreline that was submerged at high-tide. Neither model had worked in seaweed before, and both were surprised by how warm and soft it was to work on - quite a change from the Atlantic Ocean and bare rocks.
8"x10" film
After the rockweed images, I made a number of images of each model alone, working with their bodies emerging from seaweed or water, depending on the pose.

The biggest shock of the session came as I was setting up my first composition, and went to meter the light - my light meter was inoperative. It had taken a dip in the river three days earlier when I was working with Claudia, but as it was a weatherproof design, and continued to work through that session, I had assumed there wouldn't be a problem. Not the case. Occasionally in the past, I have worked through partial sessions without meters (due to battery failures), so I decided to continue, using the sunny-16 system (where the exposure is based upon a couple of simple rules for different lighting conditions) to generate the exposures.
8"x10" film
Problems aside, the session was very successful. I had decided to work only with the 8"x10" camera due to the short time-frame we had, and the decision proved influential to the results. As opposed to dozens of images of each pose, with slight variations on position or angle of view, I have close to a dozen images, each a singular composition.

August 01, 2004

A Second Session with Claudia

After spending the morning working on the coast, but not really working in the water due to its limitations being fairly featureless and bounded by a flat, white beach, not to mention extremely cold, I was keen to continue working with water but thought that if we could find a small river or stream to work with, we might have better results. As it turned out, on the highway back towards Bridgewater, we passed over a small bridge, under which flowed such a stream. We parked just beyond the bridge, and walked down to river to check out the possibilities.
8"x10" film
I was a little hesitant working right next to the highway, but after watching a handful off cars pass by without a single passenger or driver glancing our way, we decided to take advantage of the space. One advantage of Claudia's militant support for the Naturist lifestyle is she had little concern about being seen modeling, which is usually not the case.

The water in the river was perfect to work in - seldom deeper than a meter and moving slowly enough to permit Claudia and I to work on both sides of the river but swiftly enough to permit water blur with longer exposures. The first set of images we made was set along the far side of the river where some ferns hung over the water and provided a beautiful contrast to the dark tone of the water and Claudia's pale body.
Digital original, 4 frame stitch
I usually pose models lying with their head and shoulders pointing upstream, but in this case, with the water moving so slowly, and the rocks being positioned as they were, it was preferable to have her facing downstream. I used a four second exposure to blur the water, trying to make the exposures when there wasn't any wind, to insure the ferns stayed as still as possible.
Digital original, 9 frame stitch
The rest of the session was spent working between the digital and film camera, making exploratory images with the Canon EOS 10D, and then revisiting the most engaging images with the slower, more precise Zone VI 8"x10" camera. As shallow as the water was, I had to move very cautiously, to avoid slipping on the rocks. As it was, I did have my cell-phone and light meter fall in the water - ultimately causing the demise of both (though the Sekonic meter, in its own defense, did work throughout the rest of the session).

Claudia at a Beach

Claudia learned of my work through a US screening of the Revealing Beauty video held by Eric Hayes, the photographer/videographer who produced it in 2002. A naturist, Claudia is an experienced model, totally comfortable with nudity and even involved on political issues surrounding public nudity. She was planning to visit Nova Scotia to model for Eric Hayes and his partner Mary Dixon, and asked by e-mail if I would be able to spend some time working with her during her visit. After a short discussion, we set aside August 1, planning to work together for the whole day.
8"x10" film
Given that Claudia was staying on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to return to Carter's Beach and the old rusty boat where I had worked with Fern two years earlier. I had always felt that Fern and I had only scratched the surface of the space,and that more was possible, given some time.The possibility of making some colour images was in the back of my mind.
Digital original, 2 frame stitch
When we arrived at the beach, however, a great disappointment greeted us - the rusty boat was full of broken glass and burnt wood, and totally unworkable. Rather then give up on the space, we simply move ten meters past the boat, and work along the shoreline with the water and rocks. Initially, I wasn't sure if Claudia would be able to work in the ocean, as it was so cold, but she appeared to be immune to the bite of the North Atlantic, and we made a number of images of her reclining on a sea-weed covered rock emerging from the ocean.

After exploring the possibilities offered by the ocean, we moved back onto dry land, and made a few images in the woods that bordered the beach. One particular tree had a strange "U" shape to its trunk, which I worked into an image of Claudia's hair and back.
Digital original
On the whole, for a first session, the morning went very well - Claudia's comfort and enthusiasm was unusual for a model's first session with me and really helped propel the session past the "getting comfortable" stage, and turn it into a focused morning of figure work.