August 06, 2005

Krista at a Beach...with a Friend

As Krista was leaving for Ontario at the beginning of September, she'd indicated she is interested in getting as many photo sessions in as possible before her departure. As this was my last planned trip to Halifax before she left, we'd made plans for an evening session. Like the week before, she brought a friend along, both as company and as a potential model, and we headed out to Martinique Beach in hopes of building on the beautiful images I'd made the week before with Monique. I had wanted to walk all the way to the end of the beach so I could photograph with the setting sun across the water but our timing was poor and, by the time we arrived at the beach, it was almost 8pm and with the sun setting around 8:30, the only option was to work on the beach proper.
Digital original, 6 frame exposure blend, 3 frame stitch
Krista and I began working on the low dunes bordering the beach. This had the advantage of providing some shade from the direct sun and shelter from the couple of pedestrians taking their evening stroll down the beach. Most of the poses we worked on explored the lines and form of the dunes but, in each case, I also tried to incorporate the evening sky into the image. We also explored some standing poses, working with the direct, angular light of the setting sun. These proved more difficult to work with, both due to the sparse landscape (dunes just don't have much to work with, in regards to standing poses), and the hard lighting. Even as the sun moved lower in the sky and became less intense, the light was still strikingly direct.
Digital original
As the sun moved towards the horizon, I moved from the dunes down onto the beach proper. There were few beach-walkers left and we had the space to ourselves. As Krista and I began working out the plans and pose for the first image, Caitlin announced she'd like to pose as well and the plans quickly changed to incorporate the second model. In some ways, this made the process
easier; with two models, the poses could have something to rotate around; a single model on a bare beach is sometimes a little hard to work with creatively.
Digital original, 2 frame stitch
I decided to make the focal point of the images the tones of the setting sun. Using a longer shutter speed to get the water to blur (this was accomplished by using a 6-stop neutral density filter over my lenses, requiring sixty four times longer an exposure for the images), I was somewhat concerned that the models wouldn't be able to hold still enough for the longer exposures (between 2 and 8 seconds in length) but I thought it was worth the experiment, and in the end, the results were more than crisp enough to use. With each image, I made separate frames for the beach, sky and model, so while they may have moved in the first two images, I tried hard to communicate to them the importance of keeping still during the images of them alone, which definitely paid off in the results.
Digital original, 11 frame exposure blend, 4 frame stitch
One surprise from the session was how much infrared light there still was after the sunset; Caitlin, who had only decided to model after the sunset, modeled for a number of portraits against the fading light of the sky, and while the light was low (1/60 th @ f/1.4) there was enough light to work – a stark contrast to a month earlier with Miles and Natasha.

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