July 20, 2010

Claire in a River

Digital infrared original, 9 frame stitch
This session was set in one of my favorite locations to work in - an easily accessible river with relatively shallow water levels, and some interesting rocks to work with. We began the session with Claire posing on a trio of large stones that interrupt the river flow; this gave her an environment with a solid foundation to keep still on, as the water broke over her body, and swirled around her.
Digital original
As Claire was taking a break between water poses, I caught a glimpse of her sitting in the water pool, backed by the sky reflecting off the water behind her. I quickly set up my tripod and made a series of portraits; the above image, with the largest aperture (f/1.2) just happened to have the best expression!
Digital infrared original, 15 frame stitch
Almost fourteen years before this image was made, I worked for the first time in this River, and as it is said, you can’t visit the same river twice. I have worked in this spot perhaps a dozen times, and never made an image with such a perfect balance between the water, rocks and model. The combination of the pose, the water level and flow-rate, and the soft light all come together in one of my best water Nudes in years.

July 15, 2010

Claire at the Coast

Digital infrared original
There’s a simple beauty in the above portrait, made a little over an hour into our first time working together, that can only be rooted in Claire’s enjoyment of the process. The large aperture portrait lens (an 85mm f/1.2) helped provide some of the mood, but the simple joy on Claire's face is the real hero of the image!
Digital infrared original, 2 frame stitch
There are times when everything comes together perfectly in a single image, and the above photograph of Claire reclining in a shallow water pool is one of those. The sky above was clear and bright blue, but in infrared, the blue turned dark, and the faint, wispy clouds separated themselves from the horizon, and presented a very different result. I can make one image like this a year, I am a very happy photographer.
Digital infrared original
The last portion of the session was spent with Claire working in the ocean; not many models have the fortitude or enthusiasm to spend much time in the Atlantic Ocean, but it was obvious Claire really enjoyed herself. The only reason the above has an element of contemplation is that I was continually photographing as she moved around in the water, and managed to capture a moment of reflection between more expressive images.

July 02, 2010

South West England XVIII -Goodrich Castle, Hereford and Gloucester Cathedrals

Digital infrared original, 2 frame stitch
Goodrich Castle is a now ruinous Norman medieval castle situated to the north of the village of Goodrich in Herefordshire, England, controlling a key location between Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye. With a full day of photograph planned, I only had time to walk one side of the castle before I had to continue on my way, but as one of my favorite castles as a child, it was great to see it for real at last.
Digital infrared original, 2 frame stitch
On the walk back from the castle to the car park, I saw this beautiful tree in a field, and had to stop to make a composition - one of my best infrared landscapes to date!
Digital original, 9 frame exposure blend
The current Hereford Cathedral, located at Hereford in England, dates from 1079. Its most famous treasure is Mappa Mundi, a mediaeval map of the world dating from the 13th century. Smaller, and more compact that some of the other Gothic Cathedrals I'd photograph on this trip, it was also MUCH less crowded, and it was a real pleasure to be able to photograph in a space without having to wait out piles of tourists.
Digital original, 8 frame exposure blend
The nave of Hereford Cathedral was quite lovely, with bold normal arches on the bottom row, and 12th century arches and windows above. The stone ceiling is believed to have been built at the same time
Digital original, 18 frame exposure blend, 3 image stitch
The cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral were built between 1351 and 1412, and are one of the earliest examples of fan-tracery in all of England. Much of the stonework of the cloisters is overlaid upon earlier Norman walls from two hundred years earlier. The dramatically wide angle of this image gives some sense of the beauty of these magnificent halls.

This image of the cloisters has become my favorite image from this entire trip.
Digital original, 17 frame exposure blend, 3 image stitch
The dramatic perpendicular period walls and fan vaulting over the high altar were stunning to look at, and even more enjoyable to photograph. The East east window (at the top of this composition) includes elements of medieval stained glass.

July 01, 2010

South West England XVII -Canada Day in South West England

Digital, 8 frame exposure blend
The east window of Worcester Cathedral was a beautiful example of early English Gothic; with the 17mm tilt-shift, and careful exposure blending, I managed to capture some of the beauty of the space. The ceiling of the nave at Worcester was an interesting contrast to many of the ceilings I had seen over this week; only the bosses (where the arches meet) and a very small part of the arches were painted; regardless, it was a beautiful ceiling to photograph.
Digital, 10 frame exposure blend, 2 frame stitch
Though the focus of this week was on exploring the interior of religious gothic architecture, I did, when the time and setting worked out, work with the infrared camera and the buildings I was spending so much time within.
Digital infrared
In most cases, the cathedrals and abbeys I was photographing were in large towns and cities, and there was just too many urban elements for my aesthetics. With Tewksbury Abbey however, the landscape around the building was perfect, as was the sky!
Digital, 16 frame exposure blend, 2 frame stitch
The ceiling over the altar at Tewksbury Abbey is incredible to behold; the luminosity of the room, the lightness of the architecture, and the bold colours  all came together to make an incredible space. Even with the 17mm tilt-shift lens, exposure blending and multi-image stitching, it is hard to convey the incredible beauty of the space.