November 18, 2010

Winter Reflections

Digital original
A gray, leaden sky looks quite different when reflected in a clear lake, rimmed with ice!
Digital original
Less than an hour after the first image, the sky had cleared, and a totally different appearance in the same lake.

November 15, 2010

A Sunset & Claire in the Studio

Digital original, 2 frame stitch
As I was preparing to head out to work with Claire, I caught sight of the sky outside my kitchen window, and paused just long enough to make a quick composition of the bands of gold and blue in the sky. A lovely look at the last light of the day!
Digital infrared original
This studio session was focused on working against a dark background, in contrast to most of the work I do with available light, which I set against white. I don't do a lot of studio photography these days, but with a model as confident and comfortable as Claire, it is deceptively easy to make striking photographs.
Digital infrared original
I just love the angle of Claire's shoulder in the above image - all through the session we had a running conversation, with pauses here and there when images came together. I forget what she had said moments before, but she was awaiting my response when I made this image, which goes some way to explaining the expression on her face.
Digital infrared original
For almost all this session I worked with a single light; in this case, I used it to light both Claire and the background, some 15' behind her. The rich shadows against the soft gray background are really pleasing, but I find the line up her other side, created by the light from the softbox falling across her hip, breast and arm, even more engaging.

It is no accident that while I intended the session to be set against black, I ended up working with gray!

November 11, 2010

A Vampire Bat Skull

Digital original, 9 frame focus blend
A while ago, I bought some skeletons and skulls online, for a photography project. That idea went nowhere, but recently, another digital concept has caught my interest, so I have returned to photographing the skulls. This time however, I was using a very different technique - lighting them with miniature soft-boxes illuminated by LED lights, and using focus stacking to achieve the sharpest, most detailed results.
Digital original, 20 frame focus blend
This image took a lot of careful camera work to make - it took three attempts before I got the spacing for the focus stacking right (if the difference between focus points is too great, there will be noticeable out-of-focus sections, which is very fake-looking). Now all I need is time to finish up the digital composites these are part of!

November 10, 2010

A Rain Swollen River

Digital original, 3 frame stitch
After two of the worst rains storms I have ever seen, this little stream, which I have worked with a couple of times lately, has grown to be a veritable torrent...there is no way I could have walked across the river, let a long have a model pose in it.

October 27, 2010

A Photographic Journey in South West England


On Wednesday night, October 27th, 2010, I will present an evening slide show sharing images from my recent visit to South-West England.

Drawn from one week spent working in Cornwall and Devon, and a second photographing historic Cathedrals and Abbeys, the show will explore both the beauty and heritage of South-West England.
Wednesday, October 27, at 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm). ViewPoint Gallery, 1272 Barrington Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia

October 24, 2010

October 08, 2010

Digital original
During a photo session creating some stock images for a digital collage I am preparing, I happened across this wonderful composition! It isn't often I get to photograph a bear!

September 23, 2010

Micro Micro Micro

Digital original
The more I work with the Canon 65mm micro lens, the more respect I have for people who do micro photography...it is hard to get just the right point in focus, let alone get a good composition. These images of watch parts give some idea of how shallow the depth of field can be!
Digital original

September 16, 2010

Ingrid & Denise in a Pool

Digital original
This was my second session experimenting with underwater nudes (the first session had been in a much shallower pool), and this session provided even more experience to begin planning with. As the last pool proved to be too shallow, I set about finding a deeper in-ground pool I could borrow, and through a fellow photographer, located one an hour outside of Halifax. As it turned out, a long-term model Denise (who's first figure session with me twenty-one years ago,  in 1989) was also available and keen to pose in the pool, so with two models, I headed out to the pool
Digital original
Working in the deeper pool was fabulous, in regards to pose possibility, and creating the sense of figures floating, but it was a greater challenge for me, on the photography side, as I had to dive deeper before photographing, and only had a short window before I had to surface to breathe. Very quickly this became the limiting factor for the session (though the images the two models helped me make were really pleasing).
Digital original
In the end, more than anything, this session helped me realize exactly how challenging my initial idea is going to be to realize; I am now mulling over options, including building a water-tight camera housing, and operating the camera remotely from poolside (using an external monitor to compose, and remotely capturing the images. It is going to take some time to work out the process, but the few images I made over these two experimental sessions have caught my interest, for certain.

September 12, 2010

Micro Photos

Digital original
I had a couple of hours free today, so I pulled out the 65mm micro lens, and got up close and personal. I can't imagine using this lens without a focusing rail - even with it, getting the right part of the subject sharply in focus is a challenge.
Digital original
The above detail is from a 4" long folding ruler...the hinge at the corner!

September 02, 2010

Experiments in a Pool

Digital original
I've been musing over a complex digital manipulation series recently, which would require some underwater nudes (and a lot of molasses); not at all familiar with the problems of working underwater, I put out a question to some friends, asking if anyone had access to a pool I could do some experimenting with (stressing that nudity would be part of the process).
Digital original
As luck would have it, not a week layer I was at the house of a friend of a friend, working with Ingrid and Stephanie in a borrowed pool. The process was challenging, with communication, posing, and the depth of the pool all presenting challenges...but it was enough to answer some questions, and help me know where to head next...first and foremost on the needs list...a deeper pool!

August 16, 2010

Ingrid at Long Lake

Digital infrared original
Ingrid's nick-name is "the elf", and her love of posing in nature proves it is an apt one. In this case, I used my tilt-shift lens to extend the depth of field as much as I could, keeping all but the closest plants on the forest floor in sharp focus, while keeping a good balance between the top of the frame, where Ingrid is, and the bottom, with the old tree trunk and foliage.
Digital infrared original
The real joy of working with Ingrid is how well she poses; in this case, even before I'd set up the camera, she had worked herself into a pose that placed her perfectly into the scene; I'd selected the setting as the sun was reflecting off the water, and without any prompting from me, she placed herself right where the magic was happening.
Digital infrared original
The photograph above was quite the surprise to make; Ingrid had moved out of the open water to under the tree as a joke, expecting like me that it would be a horrible option with dull light and poor contrast. As it turned out however, in infrared, the contrast between Ingrid and the open lake behind her was minimal, while the water around her went dark (reflecting the tree above)...the result was quite pleasing.

August 14, 2010

A Sambro Island Field Trip

Digital original
I've wanted to photograph on Sambro Island for much of my life, having grown up sailing past it numerous times a year.
Digital original
This field trip was a unique opportunity to visit the oldest standing lighthouse in North America, and certainly was worth the visit. The island was a wonderland of pristine views of the surrounding ocean, and lovely sun-bleached rocks like the above glacial erratic.
Digital original
Sadly, the island is showing the price of neglect; with no keeper, and only sporadic maintenance, the out buildings on the island are starting to really suffer - like this building below the light proper, which has lost much of its back end.

August 13, 2010

Four Models in Wolfville


Digital original
The first images of the session were of Ingrid, posing in a corner of the pool at the bottom of the falls - the light here was magical, with the light of the sunlit trees above Ingrid reflecting in the water around her feet.
Digital infrared original

After working with Ingrid for a while, I switched to photographing Monique, whom I hadn't worked with for several years; we began working on the waterfall itself, but quickly moved off to the side, where a curved fallen tree had caught my eye. I asked Monique if she could try posing on it, and quite quickly, this image was born.
Digital infrared original, 11 image stitch

It was only close to the end of the session that Miles and Natasha modeled (Miles was photographing for the first portion of the session); it was a great pleasure working working with them again (they moved away from Halifax years ago, and I only get to see them occasionally). Almost all the images of the couple were of them together, working with the natural interplay between them.

August 11, 2010

Stephanie & Miles at the Coast

Digital infrared original, 2 frame stitch
This session was something of an improv; Miles was in town for a visit, and had arranged to work with Stephanie on some mermaid photos (Stephanie's alter-ego is a mermaid), and I was asked if I wished to come along; once it was clear that both Stephanie and Miles were keen to do some figure photos as well, I was on board (and providing transportation).
Digital infrared original
Working right at the mouth of Halifax harbour had numerous advantages, the most pleasurable of which was the liveliness of the ocean - many of the coastal spaces I photograph in are somewhat sheltered, but here there was nothing between the rocks and the open sea, so when Miles found a space that worked for a pose surrounded by seaweed, I took full advantage of the setting, and waited for the perfect wave!
Digital infrared original
Once we finished with the first setting (and Miles was thoroughly soaked) we changed the location a little, and made some photos working with the waves sweeping around Miles; it was challenging for him to keep perfectly still, but in the dozen or so exposures I made, he was still enough in several.
Digital infrared original
At the close of the session, I made some standing portraits of Stephanie; Miles held the diffuser to soften the light on her, and the square crop (more reminiscent of film, and perhaps an affectation in the digital age) seemed perfect for the final image.

August 08, 2010

K_ & W_'s Second Day of Modeling

Digital infrared original
The second day of working with K_ and her friend W_ in New Brunswick saw us head further afield, and find more successful environments to work in, this time along the banks of the St John River. In the forest that ran between the river and the road, we found several perfect stands of trees to work in, and in some cases, entire trees that had been uprooted by recent storms; one of my favorite images of the day was of K_ reclining in such a tree, a figure of grace in the midst of chaos.
Digital infrared original
My favorite image of the day, however, was made a couple of minutes later, as K_ sat in the smooth curve of a large branch; the sunlight coming through the leaves cast a wonderful highlight on her back, and the sweep of her hair was absolutely perfect, mirroring the slight movement in the tree above her.
Digital infrared original
Though the river wasn't exactly warm, and the day's brisk wind made full immersion less than pleasurable, W_ did some modeling standing in the shallows along the side of the river; it is a challenging thing to just stand and be nude, but as soon as she started pulling at some of the river grasses, everything came together in an image somewhat reminiscent of the photo secession style from 100 years ago.
Digital infrared original
The last photographs of the day, and the visit to New Brunswick, were made in a nearby lake - a little warmer than the river, both models did some modeling in the water proper, but again, it was a standing pose - this time of K_ walking slowly towards the shore, which really stood out!

August 07, 2010

Christ Church Cathedral at Night

Digital original, 2 frame exposure blend
After a long drive from Moncton, I arrived in Fredericton just before sunset; after a quick bite to eat, I headed out to do some dusk photos of Christ Church Cathedral; several years ago I photographed it, but lost the images in a memory card failure, so it was nice to finally revisit the location.

W_'s first Two Sessions

Digital original
W_ had never planned on modeling for me; she'd accompanied K_ on her first session working with me earlier in the day, and by the end of the afternoon, asked me if I'd like to photograph her. When K_ and I finished up in her friend's house, W_ disrobed, and we proceeded to make a series of particularly pleasing portraits against a wonderfully textured wall.
Digital original
After a break for dinner, W_ and I headed out to a hillside location nearby, to work with the evening light. The sky was layered with soft clouds, and the evening sunlight was softly diffused, providing lovely highlights on W_'s figure as she looked to to the last light of the day.
Digital infrared original
The last images with W_ were made after sundown; the dying light was wonderfully soft, and I photographed W_ through a sea of high grasses, which created a wonderfully soft screen between us - a lovely romantic image to end an unexpected, but very pleasing session.