December 29, 2008

Ingrid, Miles and Sagira by Flash

Digital original
As a three-model session (Ingrid, Miles and Sagira), it had to begin somewhere, so never one to hesitate, Miles immediately volunteered to work with Sagira, and for half an hour or so, I worked with the two friends, though the images at times had more implication of lovers than friends.
Digital original
During a pause in more directed photography, Sagira looked up at me - and I immediately knew I wanted a portrait, so I did my famous "don't move an inch" line, and moments later had the above portrait made.
Digital original
The second half of the evening was spent working with Ingrid and Sagira; initially the two modeled on the futon, with many of the images focused on "compare & contrast", with the two models mirroring each other's poses, and myself find the images that worked from those poses.
Digital infrared original, 2 frame stitch
The last images of the session were of Ingrid and Sagira against the long wall in my main room. I shifted the light (a single flash with a soft-box) to light them from the side, and started to photograph. The cascade of hair over Ingrid‘s torso, combined with Sagira’s hands almost looking like they could be Ingrid’s are what makes this image work for me.

December 28, 2008

A First Session with Stephanie

Digital infrared original
Though Stephanie and I have been e-mailing back and forth for over a year, and first met at the Memory of Water opening last April, this was our first chance to work together.  Made in the first minutes of the session, and of Stephanie's first experience modeling nude, there is a simple beauty to this portrait which is everything l seek when I made such an image - the direct gaze, the beautiful light, and the obvious comfort, on the part of the model, all come together to make a wonderful portrait.
Digital original
Stephanie brought several props to the session, including a peacock feather; usually I don't work with props, but I also am not one to say no to an idea I haven't tried before, so we explored the potential; the most interesting image was the above, with the brilliant colour of the feather contrasting the delicate colour of Stephanie's lips.
Digital original
At the end of the session, Stephanie wrapped her head in a scarf, and we made some photographs with a strong mid-eastern feel, expect of course of the blend of the head-scarf with the nudity. While I really enjoy those images, and think they certainly have a point to make, the above photograph is much more engaging on a different level - only Stephanie's hands are sharp, which is really pleasing in the image as a is a little lost on the internet.

December 26, 2008

Miles & Miranda Model Together

Digital infrared original
Miles and Miranda have known each other for seven years, and have modeled together numerous times before, but this was the first indoor session we've ever done together, and the years of friendship between the two paid off in spades when it came to images this intimate.
Digital original
When working with friends, there is no argument the energy in a session is different to that of couples in a more intimate relationship, but there was real tenderness flowing through the image sin this session, born of the sincere trust and affection both models have for each other, rooted in friendship.
Digital infrared original
Infrared photograph is an interesting, often uncontrollable medium; I never seem to be able to predict when "veining" will appear - in this case, it turned Miranda's figure into an alabaster-like sculpture on which Miles laid his hands. In colour, without the fine veining provided by the infrared sensitive camera, the image would have been much weaker.

December 24, 2008

A Further Refinement of Focus Staking

Digital original, 7 frame focus blend
The greatest surprise of this session was how the colour actually bled our of a flower; I'd seen hints of this before, but never with such a strong pigmentation and tone. The 7 frame focus blend was crucial for seeing so much of the colour so vividly.
Digital original, 26 frame focus blend, 6 frame stitch
As the frozen flower project evolves, I have more and more successes, as my concept of what works and doesn't clarifies. In this case, the whole orchid centered in a sea of ice back-lit by a flash was just perfect. How this differs from where I started months ago is the image quality and resolution - the focus blend and stitching both have really improved the strength of these photos.

December 18, 2008

A Winter Night's Walk in Ottawa

Digital original
While my deepest architectural love is European Gothic, I set out this evening to make some architectural images of Ottawa, specifically hoping to get to the National Gallery at sunset, to work with the twilight. My planning paid off, and I spent a good 20 minutes working with the building in the fading evening light,  enjoying the mix of natural and man-made light.
Digital original
The second set of images I made were of one of the bridges between Ottawa and Hull; it was only when I was back in Halifax that I realized this image was of a rare Canadian flamingo-camel sneaking across the river under the bridge.

December 16, 2008

Ottawa by Night & Day

Digital original, 2 frame focus blend
During my stay with Miles in Ottawa, I took some time to photograph his curios; the above image of a chalice and shells was particularly pleasing, especially when I accentuated the shallow focus with a (reverse) focus blend - using a large aperture for the overall image, and then making a second with a smaller aperture - used only on the chalice and edge of the box.
Digital original
The second curio to catch my eye was a partial shell, cut in half to expose the inner architecture. I spent a more than half-hour working through many visual combinations and permutations with the shell, though most of the successful images focused solidly on the shell's interior, reducing it to an abstract or sorts.
Digital original
At the end of the evening, I went out for a walk around Ottawa, with camera in hand. I have always enjoyed night photography, and found the exploration of a new city (to me) really enjoyable...even though it was well below freezing.

December 14, 2008

Quebec City

Digital original
The last time I was in Quebec City was in the summer of 2004, when I drove Bobbi and Miranda to Montreal; this visit was made on my way to Ottawa. I arrived late in the day, and after a lovely dinner with a friend, I spent an hour or so with her, walking around the old city and photographing.
Digital original
There is a real magic to snow-covered cities around the holidays - the colourful decorations mix with the snow white surroundings to make very different images for the more dramatic night images that are made during the warmer parts of the year.
Digital original
The three skaters that were enjoying themselves as I made this image were lost to the 30 second exposure it took to record the scene.

December 12, 2008

A Midnight Bathtub Session

Digital original
This one of the most impromptu photo sessions I’d ever had, originating in learning of a claw-footed bathtub, and ending in the frantic purchasing of candles before midnight, to start photographing at 12:30am…fortunately the effort was well worth it!
Digital original
The room the tub was in was not exactly idea; the barker board behind the tub worked well with the candles, but the bright green wall to one side was less than ideal...but it did play off against the warmth of Kayla's skin well, so I resisted the temptation of converting this into monochrome.
Digital original
The session wrapped up after a series of images of Kayla modeling with her friend M_; there isn't much a tub offers in the way of flexibility of poses, so the photographs were more about line and light than any real interpretation of the two women, or the space overall.

December 11, 2008

Evolving Beauty: New Brunswick Opens

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An Exhibition titled "Evolving Beauty:New Brunswick" is on display at Galerie Maurice Henri in Moncton until the end of the month, New Brunswick. Featuring work made between 2003 and 2007 in the Province of New Brunsick, the show features Nudes, landscapes, architectural images and abstract images.

December 10, 2008

A New Camera Arrives!

Digital original
When I received my first Canon EOS 5D MKII in December 2008, the night before I left for a trip to Ottawa, I immediate phoned Miranda, mentioned the new camera had finally arrived (I’d had the 85mm f/1.2 lens for almost a month already) and oh so innocently asked “Any chance you happen to be planning to take a shower anytime tonight?” Needless to say, less than 20 minutes later I was at her house, photographing her in the shower.
Digital original

This was a test of the new camera in many ways - but most importantly, it was made at 1600 ISO - a highly sensitive setting that permits photography in low light, but usually comes with the price of lower image quality (digital noise), but in the case of this camera, 1600 ISO proved to be more than practical!

December 08, 2008

Ryan & Jessica on A Sunny Afternoon

Digital infrared original
The happenstance of seeing some flare in an image minutes earlier lead to this image - for much of the winter, the sun in the afternoon comes right into my apartment, and with the camera in just the right place, the flare was just perfect. I made perhaps two dozen images of this composition to ensure that at least one had the flare in the perfect place.
Digital original
An interesting challenge of having worked with Ryan and Jessica together so often is that many of their mannerisms and interactions present mirrors of earlier images. In the case of the above image, i suspect I have more than a handful of similar moments, but none with the particularly soft light that we were working with during this session.
Digital original, 9 image stitch
For almost all my work with Ryan and Jessica, I have placed them against light walls, or worked with them on white sheets, so towards the end of this session, we shifted to working on a black comforter. I am not certain the results add much to the series, but it does provide some visual relief to the continual luminous surroundings of the other work, so in that way at least, it has some potential.

December 04, 2008

The Black Couch

Digital infrared original
In 2001, with Cassandra and then Victoria, I made a series of images on a white leather couch; almost a decade later, for a model’s first (and only) session working with me, I had the chance to work with another leather couch. In this case however, the couch was black, which worked beautifully with the model’s pale skin.
Digital infrared original
The entire focus of the session was on providing the model with images celebrating her body; with a whole life of experiences behind her, and a recent focus on reshaping her body later in life, she wished a classic image to have for ever to remember reaching a personal milestone.
Digital infrared original, 3 frame stitch
As the model desired anonymity, I couldn't make images that were parallels to the earlier ones on the white couch, but in many ways this session drew directly from the images made seven years earlier.