September 21, 2009

Vanessa in the Burned Forest (Halifaax, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original
When I described the burnt forest to Vanessa, she immediately responded that it sounded like a great place to photograph - and off we went. The challenge of working in the location, of soot-covered trees and stark contrasts never materialized, as Vanessa immediately began to explore the space physically, suggesting poses and settings for images.
Digital infrared original
All through the site of the forest fire, I saw potential - dramatic shapes set against the new growth on the forest floor.Towards the end of the session I caught sight of a beautifully curved tree that was too large to have Vanessa pose against.  I realized, however, that by using it in the background, I could mirror its lines in the model’s body. The lovely, silky bokeh of the 85mm f/1.2 perfectly completed the image.
Digital original
I have had such success with infrared over the last couple of years that I frequently go entire sessions without making any really memorable images in colour. During this session however, I was frequently shifting back to colour, as the sky was a strong, rich blue, which was beautiful to set Vanessa's body against - especially with the out-of-focus trees behind her.

Vanessa in the Engine Room (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original
There is nothing as beautiful as window light, and this portrait of Vanessa, made in an abandoned World War Two era engine room takes full advantage of that. The large lens aperture helps keep the focus on Vanessa, not the setting, and the light on her face is near studio perfect.
Digital infrared original, 2 image exposure blend, 2 frame stitch
I have always loved the drama of wide-angle lenses, but have frequently been frustrated by the distortion and warped perspective that they often add to an image when used with smaller cameras (as opposed to wide-angle lenses on large format cameras, which can correct perspective with camera movements). All this changed in June of 2009, when I received my 17mm tilt-shift lens, which opened up much the same possibilities with my digital SLR camera.
Digital infrared original, 2 image exposure blend
I don't normally use the tilt portion of my tilt-shift lens (though I did use tilt all the time when working with 4"x" and 8"x10" cameras), but in this case, to emphasize and downplay to the room around her, I tilted the lens severely towards Vanessa. I am not certain I like the effect, but it was fun to experiment with.

September 05, 2009

Vanessa on the Barrens (Polly's Cove, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original, 3 image exposure blend
Vanessa came to my work through a mutual friend, and as soon as a day came along that worked for both of us, we headed out to my favorite Nova Scotian space to work in - the glacial barrens. The first successful composition, above, was made with one of the largest erratics in the area, and took full advantage of the exposure blending I have become so enamored with lately.
Digital original
It is hard to represent a session like this accurately in the blog format - I saved 115 images from the day's work, and only display three here. Vanessa and I made some really lovely image all through the afternoon, with her previous modeling experience blended with my persona aesthetic perfectly! The above photograph, one of dozens we made working in the ocean, is just magical with the sky reflected in the concentric circles around Vanessa.
Digital original
As we were walking back to the car, I kept looking for one more space to photograph in - for most of the session I'd concentrated on more dramatic images focused on the body in landscape, but I felt I hadn't made a really solid portrait of Vanessa yet. As it happened, a rock beside the path we were on was perfectly situated for the afternoon light to make a series of portraits, the best of which is above.