September 29, 2015

Ingrid in the Burned Forest (Herring Cove, Nova Scotia)

As the fall moves on, every outdoor session is precious, and as the colours start to change, more magical. That makes the first success of this session a little ironic as it was made in infrared, and focuses on the contrast of the texture of the fall foliage surrounding Ingrid's torso, as opposed to the colours. More than anything, I love the delicate tones of the image.
Digital infrared original, 2 frame focus blend
There were a number of colour photographs made during the session, but the foliage was only starting to change colour, so the overall palette was more traditional than I'd expected, so I chose to work with the bare, stark trees in contrast to Ingrid, as opposed to the colour below them.
Digital original
The final set of images focused on a massive coil of cable we found in the forest - doubtless a remnant of the old military fortifications nearby. When we first saw it, I gave no thought to working with it (assuming it would be spiky and awkward to pose upon), but Ingrid immediately moved onto it, and discovering it was quite comfortable (compared to rocks and trees), she enthusiastically began exploring it for pose options.
Digital infrared original, 2 frame stitch
In the end, there were more than a handful of different poses which worked, but the above, a panoramic stitch looking from Ingrid lying back on the cable, all the way up past the burnt trees to the lovely sky is by far my favourite. A lovely, and very unexpected way to end the session.

September 23, 2015

The Universe Delivers a Lesson (Herring Cove, Nova Scotia)

Any outdoor session with a model after mid September is a gift, so when Lavender asked if we could go out and do some images on this afternoon, I was more than enthusiastic. When we arrived at the coast, we were both enthralled with the massive breaking waves that were rolling in from the open ocean, and the first composition, below,  A challenging image to make, as the waves were moving from a sun-lit ocean into the deep shade of the rock face Lavender was posing on, I used a careful exposure blend to create a blend of the two levels of illumination.
Digital infrared original, 2 frame exposure blend
After we did a number of compositions working in the deep shade, we moved further up, to experiment with poses where Lavender was in the sun, with the breaking waves far below her. Unfortunately, moments after the below  image was made, a wave crashed up and over, giving a brief and unexpected shower to Lavender, myself, and my gear (fortunately it was brief enough to cause no damage to my new cameras, and the lenses). Unfortunately, as we hadn't planned for water-based images, we had no towel to dry Lavender off the session came to an abrupt halt as she huddled out of the wind and tried to dry off an warm up.
Digital original
After Lavender warmed up some from the unexpected shower, she offered to work on a couple of more images before we backed up and headed for home. And for the first time in the session, I looked up from the breaking surf, and saw the sky.

The hardest thing about photography is being able to see what is really in front of you, as opposed to what you think is there. From when we arrived at the coast, until well after the wave cut the session short, I was focused on the waves, and on trying to incorporate them into the images. In spite of the fact that they were in the worst place, for the light of the day. In spite of the fact that there was an increasingly beautiful sky forming right over our heads.
Digital infrared original, 8 frame mean blend
Fortunately, the universe kicked me in the ass, and made me sit up and pay attention. As Lavender was drying off and warming up, I started to really see the day, and saw the wonderful cloud formation over the harbour. The last composition of the session made the most of that shape, and set it against Lavender's figure nestled in the rock below. Usually I'd be frustrated to have a session cut so short unexpectedly, but after making the above image, I was positively glowing all the way back to the car, I was so happy.

September 17, 2015

A Session with Biranca (Polly's Cove, Nova Scotia)

Though Bianca returned to Nova Scotia in June, it has taken us ages to find time for a second session; almost three months later we finally headed out to the coast to work on the glacial plains.
Digital infrared original, 4 frame stitch
Out first set of images were made on one of the bedrock outcrops that underlies the scrubby terrain. At the edge there was a crevasse in one of the massive rocks, and the early fall sunlight crossed it at a perfect angle to illuminate Bianca as she posed in the gap between the stones. We experimented with a number of different poses, but the first, with Bianca arching against the sunlight, proved to be the best. I used the longest lens I had (300mm) to place her figure upon an arching line of stone, set against the distant horizon of the Atlantic Ocean.
Digital infrared original
Twenty minutes or so later, we were working further along on the same outcrop when Bianca experimented with a pose she'd used a year earlier. Based on a yoga position (Bridge), and the initial images worked well, but when I asked her to extend the leg on the camera side, it all came together
Digital infrared original
The last portion of the session was spent with Bianca working with the rocks, seaweed and water at the coast. We hadn't come prepared to working with water (no towels, water shoes or neutral density filters), and being later in the year, the air temperature was a little cool for wet skin. Bianca did the best she could with the situation however, and the above image was really pleasing - the luminous seaweed and dark water surrounding Bianca highlights her figure perfectly, and the direct sunlight was at low enough of an angle to be flattering, as opposed to frustrating.