October 30, 2005

Elisabeth in a Pool (the last session of 2005)

As much as I had hoped for good portraits, the real focus for the session with Elisabeth was to take the water session I'd had with Brianna in the wading pool a week earlier and see how much further I could push the same approach. Elisabeth had already seen the couple of images I'd posted to my blog and was more than interested in seeing where we could take the idea.
Digital infrared original, 7 frame stitch
With all the trouble-shooting of the first session under my belt, I found it much quicker to just focus on the scene before me, and find the images that worked with Elisabeth. Almost all of the images used the same basic approach, with the softbox on the far side of the water providing the reflection in the surface and the light on the figure at the same time.

The vast majority of the images of Elisabeth in the wading pool were constructed from multi-frame stitches. The higher resolution of stitches was crucial, as the photographs focused on the details of the meeting of water and skin, fine details were very important, and since the majority of the images were long and narrow compositions, they lent themselves naturally to multi-frame stitched panoramics. The issue of the water moving slightly between the different frames of the same stitch was address by working as swiftly as possible (though I did discover with the work with Brianna to wait longer than the flash indicated between photographs, to insure an even exposure), and by clearly communicating with Elisabeth when it was paramount to stay still, which allowed her to hold her breath through the multiple frames that made up the final images.
Digital infrared original
The greatest difference overall between the work I made with Brianna and what I did with Elisabeth was the confidence with which I approach the session. With Brianna, the wading pool was all very much an experiment and, while I very quickly got a sense of how the work was progressing from the post-views on the digital camera's LCD screens, the whole first session was as much about working out the details as it was about making the best images possible. With Elisabeth, the details were already taken care of and all we focused on was making the best images we could.
Digital infrared original
I didn't revise much in regards to the set-up of the indoor water-pool. In an attempt to get rid of the pattern on the plastic bottom of the pool, I layered the fabric in the pool to give a thicker barrier, but in the end, the pressure of the water still pushed the sheets down into the circles, leading to distracting elements in the background which I either will have to live with, or carefully remove in the digital darkroom.. The next time I work with an indoor pool I think I will try to construct a square pool, both to avoid the issues of the curved walls, and to get a perfectly flat bottom to work as a background.

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