August 18, 2015

Discovery from Adversity (Dorey Lake, Nova Scotia)

This was the time session K_ and I have worked together this year; as the first worked by the ocean, I thought we'd spend the second working in a river; by August, Nova Scotian rivers tend to be quite warm, and more than a pleasure for models to pose model in.
Digital original with a mean shutter blend
It was only when we'd parked, and walked into the location that I realized I'd left all my neutral density filters at home (with 9 filters in sizes from 72mm to 145mm, I have a separate bag for them)...and my plan had been to use neutral density filters to provide me with slower shutter speeds to blur the water around K_'s figure.

It is said that discovery comes from adversity, and in this case, that is certainly true. Though I had never used the technique, I knew it was possible to combined multiple images into a mean blended image, which should in theory provide "blurred" water if there were enough source images. With this in the back of my head, K_ and I began making images.
Digital original with a mean shutter blend
For each composition that worked, I tried to create at least 8 exposures of K_ in the water; these typically had shutter speeds in the 1/4 to 1/2 second range, which meant they had only a moderate amount of motion blur. When combined into a mean blended image in post production however, they emerged as a wonderfully smooth image displaying as much if not more water blur than I usually work with.

Though I had no idea the approach would work at the time, my faith in the abstract concept paid off - K_ and I made a number of really striking water Nudes, each of which is made stronger when combined with the mean shutter blend. I suspect I would have been happier working with my more traditional approach of "real" long shutter speeds accomplished through Neutral Density filters, but in the end, the final result is all that matters, and I am more than happy!
Digital infrared original with a two-frame stitch
Towards the end of the session, K_ and I walked to the head of the river, and did a few images on the side of the lake that fed it; there was a fabulous tree that rose into a deep blue that was was just perfect for infrared. After K_ found a pose on a smooth rounded rock below it, I made a series of images with the 17mm TS-E lens that gave full expression to the massive tree rising above K_.

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