December 04, 2014

Bianca's Last Session of 2014 (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original, 3 image composite
It isn't often that I can definitively say a session is the "last one", but in this case, as Bianca was heading for another country four days after this session, there's little doubt this will be her last session with me in 2014 (she is hoping to be back in Nova Scotia in 2015, so my fingers are crossed for more work to be made in the coming year).

As an outdoor session was not an option, we headed to the apartment of a friend of hers, which promised a bay window and lots of light. After making a whole series of images exploring motion (Bianca has a dance background), I made three of her working with the window, with the intent to assemble them into a single image; in the end, two of the three worked perfectly (the ones of Bianca against the side window), and while the third, of her standing in the centre, fell short, a later image of her bending forward and touching the floor was ideal to complete the final composition.
Digital infrared original, 3 image exposure blend
After working with a dramatic low point of view and infrared at length, before setting aside the widow all together, I made some colour photographs of Bianca against the morning light. I still feel clumsy when it comes to photographing in colour, but the brilliant, luminous window provided such rich light for Bianca's figure, and gave such lovely soft skin tones that I just had to leave the image in colour.
Digital original
The end of the session was spent working with Bianca in front of an old fireplace; the front of it was covered with black-painted wrought iron, and provided a rich background to set Bianca's body against. I was pleased with the results, but in many ways feel I only scratched the surface of what could be done with the fireplace, and hope to have the chance to return to continue the exploration.

December 01, 2014

Jaime's First Session (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original
Though she'd never posed Nude before, right from the start, Jaime's comfort with the process was evident, and helped me create a number of very striking images over the ninety minutes we worked together. Jaime had learned of my work though Bianca, and got in touch to ask about working together; we met, and after an extensive conversation about her interests, my process, and tattoos (which I tend to avoid in my work), we set a date for a first session.
Digital Original
From her first message to me, I was aware Jaime had tattoos, but as this session was focused on giving her some experience with posing Nude, and many of the images were more portraits than body-scapes, tattoos weren't much of an issue.
Digital infrared original
My favorite image from the session has everything I look for in a Nude portrait; Jaime's pose was pure happenstance; she was relaxing after another image when she stretched her arm over her head and leaned into the bed; I immediately asked her to not move, and began photographing. I made a dozen or so variations on this composition (in both colour and infrared), but after careful consideration, it was this image, with the hint of Jaime's arm and belly tattoos that works the best for me. As true as it is that I avoid tattoos in my work with the body in landscape and other settings, as a portrait-focused image, the tattoos are integral to who Jaime is, and therefore, an important part of the photograph.

November 24, 2014

Bianca Poses Indoors (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Digital original
This was Bianca's first indoor session with me, and needless to say, she found it quite different from working outdoors; instead of having landscape to pose in, and take inspiration from, all she had was white sheets on a pull-out couch...
Digital original
This was my first session working in my current apartment; my last two haven't been very easy to work in (in contrast to my first apartment since my return to Halifax, which was excellent to work in). I relied upon my old approach of covering everything with white sheets, to focus the session on the model, and to diffuse the light from the windows.
Digital original
Most on my indoor sessions focus on portraits, but towards the end of this session, Bianca and I explored some bodyscapes, ending with some really pleasing images made from a high vantage point.

November 07, 2014

St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

I spent part of this afternoon photographing with a student inside St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica; the main focus for the session was helping her gain control over her exposures, and assisting her in finding compositions within such a visually rich environment.
Digital original, 7 frame exposure blend, 2 frame stitch
As the student worked, and experimented, I moved between her camera and mine, and made a handful of compositions of the space; I had never been in the building before, but as it was built as during the Gothic Revival period, the overall structure was incredibly familiar.
Digital original, 5 frame exposure blend
The last image was the one I'd planned to made from first walking into the Basilica; the ceiling. As usual, it took a good ten minutes to get the camera aligned, but using test images, made at 6400 ISO, I was able to find the exact centre of the nave, and get the ceiling perfectly aligned
Digital original

November 01, 2014

Evolving Beauty Evolves Again - Evolving Beauty 2014 is Launched

At long last, a new Evolving Beauty site has been launched; after more than a few years of little activity, I have produced a new site, and over the coming months (and years, likely), will be expanding it to reflect the close to 30 years of photography it champions.

From the my first website (originally titled "Mortalities") in 1995, to the current site, I have shared 20 years of my photography in real-time online, something I expect to continue to do for the decades to come!

October 25, 2014

Second Fall Field Trip (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Digital original

During a basic photo course field trip, I made this photograph of a metal schooner on the Halifax waterfront.

October 19, 2014

First Fall Field Trip (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Digital original
Another image from a basic photo course field trip, demostrating long shutter speeds (in this case 30 seconds); this waterfall is one I've been photographing for a decade during field trips, and it never fails to provide results.

October 16, 2014

A Wet Fall Session (Herring Cove, Nova Scotia)

Digital original, 4 image stitch
For a week or more, I had been watching the weather, hoping to have a warm enough day to work with a model outdoors in the fall colours. When the day finally arrived, it came with a price, fog and drizzle. Bianca and I had tentatively agreed to work together, and while I expected to have to call it off, her comment was "I surf, what's a little rain". So off we went to work in the fog, and from time to time, light rain.
Digital original, 8 frame stitch
When Bianca and I arrived at the burned forest, her first question was "what trees do you want me in", which was ironic, given my ideas were to work with the colourful ground cover. As it turned out, Bianca meant her question, and towards the end of the session, she was half-way up a tree, taking advantage of the dynamic space to pose within.
Digital original
The last image of this session with Bianca (and likely my last outdoor Nude of 2014) was the best, and the most unexpected; after working on a series of poses in this tree, Bianca clambered down, and perched herself at the bottom, waiting for other suggestions; I glanced down, and saw how the tree bisected her figure, and immediately knew I had to make an image. A gift from Bianca to me.

September 29, 2014

A Session in a Bunker (Chebucto Head, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original
My natural inclination when working with architecture is to work with symmetrical, formal compositions; in this case, after making some straight-on photographs, I tried to work against my first approach, and moved the camera off-center. Using an ultra-wide lens I was able to make this image, which puts the initial composition (formal and straight-on) to shame.
Digital infrared original
Bianca asked if we could work with the hold in the wall, next to the graffiti of the bee; after some experimentation, I found this back-on pose worked well, and after some careful adjustment of the camera position, I was able to realize the final photograph.
Digital infrared original, 2 frame stitch
At the close of the session, I made some portraits of Bianca through this window, and on a whim, I asked her to face away from me, and made some images, including this striking one of her arms out against the sides of the windows.

A Riverside Session (Pennant Point River, Nova Scotia)

The beginning of this session was focused on working with Bianca on a beautiful tree besides the river; initially she posed in the branches and working with the verticallity of the space, but towards the end, I tried to reverse the angle, and put myself in the tree, looking down onto Bianca, posed on a branch.
Digital infrared original
The middle of the session had a pause in it for Bianca to warm up (the day was unfortunately cooler than expected,); I took the opportunity to make some more portraits of her, reveling in the wildness of her hair.
Digital original
My hope for this session was to work with Bianca in this river, but with the day barely warm enough for posing on land, there was no way I would be able to make images with a model in water. That didn't however, preclude working with the river.
Digital infrared original, 4image shutter blend, 3 image stitch
This beautiful branch had grown out along the surface of the water, and was perfect for Bianca to pose along; it took only a couple of revisions to Bianca's initial post to bring it together, and for a good ten minutes, I explored the visual possibilities, with this, the final composition, being my favorite.

September 12, 2014

A Seaweed Session (Taylor Head Beach, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original

When she made contact about working with me, Bianca specifically asked about modeling in seaweed. As a result, though it was far from warm, the end of this session saw Bianca carefully walking out to the edge of a seaweed field, and posing on (and in) the rockweed.
Digital original
As we worked along the shore, between poses in the seaweed, Bianca paused, and I caught a glimpse of her looking out into the harbour; "Don't move" I said...and then made this image.

September 11, 2014

Infrared Beach Session (Taylor Head Beach, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared, 12 frame stitch
The simple stillness of this image really pleases me; the long lens used in the stitch kept the depth of field shallow, while the stitch permitted me to show the entire tree stretching out above Bianca.
Digital infrared original
As soon as I saw this bed of foliage high on the beach, I knew I’d end up working with Bianca in it. The initial images had Bianca’s arms on top of the plant, but when I had her interweave her arms into the foliage, the image really came together, giving her figure wings.
Digital infrared original
Bianca’s dance and yoga experience comes through in her pose ideas from time to time; in this case, I’d envisioned her standing between the two rocks, but after realizing that didn’t work, she worked herself into an arch between the rocks, and asked if it worked…which it did indeed.

September 10, 2014

A Sunset River Session (Bedford, Nova Scotia)

This was a short session at sunset, making the most of the last of the warm summer weather. Bianca knew we wouldn't have much light, with sunset coming so fast, but was still keen to make the most of what time we could grab.
Digital infrared, 2 frame stitch
As we worked with this great old tree trunk, Bianca mused “I wonder if I could climb it”, and moments later had scrambled up the outside. Truth be told, the pose possibilities were limited, but the strength of the final image (a combination of two poses by Bianca) is firmly rooted in Bianca’s physically adventurous approach to modeling.
Digital infrared, 2 image composite, 2 image stitch
The primary reason for this session was to work in the river, so before the evening light faded for good, Bianca and I headed to the deepest part of the river (where there was perhaps 3’ of water), and made a series of images of her posing in the water.
Digital original, 2 frame stitch
As it turned out, we waited almost too long, as rapidly the exposures stretched from the initial two seconds to eight seconds; quite a long time to stay still in cool river water. Bianca was able to stay still however, and while we had to call it quits due to low light before I’d felt I’d made the most of the location, both of us were pleased with the results.

A Valley Session III (South Waterville, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original
The last location Bianca and I worked with during this trip to the valley was a small barn at the base of the property; as with most barn, the interior was dark and cluttered, but the window light was second to none, and helped me create some lovely results.
Digital original
The last images of the day were focused on Bianca posing with an old rowboat she’d found in the corner of the barn; after first seeing it, Bianca came around the corner, and asked if we could make an images working with "this great green boat". The ontrast between the colours and textures is just wonderful.

September 09, 2014

A Valley Session II (South Waterville, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original, 2 frame stitch
After a circular walk through the woods, Bianca and I came out at the top of a field, and were presented with some long abandoned farm machinery; never one to miss an opportunity to work with something new, I immediately asked Bianca if the metal grate on this old wagon would be comfortable enough to model on; moments later I had my answer.
Digital infrared original, 2 frame stitch
The best find of the day was the abandoned farm equipment; after working with the old wagon, we shifted to exploring the possibilities of a set of tires on an axle; initially I’d passed by this as it was a little “minimal; in retrospect however, Bianca arching back across the wheel (in 5 or more different poses) lead to some of the best images of the day.

A Valley Session I (South Waterville, Nova Scotia)

This is one of the first successes from my second session working with Bianca; we’d intended to do an early morning coastal session, but the weather in Halifax was a little chilly, so we headed to the valley.
Digital infrared original, 2 frame stitch
After a few preliminary portraits in a field, we headed into the woods, looking for spaces to work in. Almost immediately, Bianca spotting this uprooted tree, and over half-an-hour or so, we explored it visually, with this being my favorite result.
Digital infrared original, 2 frame stitch
After the first forest image, Bianca and I continued our explorations, and swiftly found this perfectly angled tree, which lent itself perfectly to a number of compositions.
Digital infrared original
When I first met Bianca, to talk about working with her, one of my first thoughts was “what a great face”; while get the feeling she feels I have yet to get that “perfect” portrait of her, I really enjoy this moment, made while she was modeling in some ferns.

September 02, 2014

1st Session with a New Model (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original
One of the earliest images of Bianca from this session, this image was made 10 minutes into her first experience modeling Nude. Bianca’s years of dance and yoga came out almost immediately with this pose; initially she was simply lying stretched out, and then, without any prompting, asked “what if I arched some, like this”.
Digital infrared original
By this point, about 30 minutes into the session, Bianca was totally comfortable in front of the camera, and was working hard with me to make the space work; though she complained the window was “too small” to do much with, we managed to create a handful of successful compositions with variations on her flexing against the window edge.
Digital infrared original
I  just love this image - made just after an attempt at something totally different that didn’t work; Bianca walked away from the camera, into the doorway, and stretched. Then the famous (for me at least) words came out “Oh, don’t move”…
Digital original, 5 frame stitch
The last images of the day were actually the first of that night; as we were walking back to the car, we passed by a fog-shrouded pond; not one to pass up such a beautiful moment, I asked Bianca if we could create one-more set of which her answer was "where do you want me".

August 23, 2014

An Evening Walk (Lunenburg, Nova Scotia)

After participating in a day long workshop focused on portraiture, I took a walk along the Lunenburg waterfront; I'd recently invested in a Canon 300mm f/4 L lens, so on this walk, that was all I worked with.
Digital original
The rust on the sides of the trawlers was just perfect for the lens, and when combined with the soft evening light, the resulting photographs couldn't have been better.
Digital original
At the very end of the walk, I came across an old weathered building, and made a number of images of it, including this.
Digital original

August 14, 2014

A Summer's Evening (Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia)

Digital original, 2 frame stitch
I seldom visit Peggy's Cove during the summer, both because of its popularity with tourists, and the fact there are spaces close to it that find far more visually engaging. For this evening however, the plan was to meet with some other photographers (some visiting from the US) and enjoy the evening light.
Digital original
Water pool reflections have long been a favorite subject of mine, and while most photographers focus on sunsets themselves, as the sun drops in the sky, and the shadows begin to grow long, I start looking for the brilliance of the evening sky to reflect in pools.
Digital infrared original
My final images of the day were of the sunset, but working with IR, I turned the camera right angle to the sun, and caught the shadows of the evening light.