July 29, 2016

Post Production 1: Culling

There are multiple stages to post production, and while they are seldom carried out in isolation, I've decided to blog about each one separately, to provide some insight into my personal process, and how it's being applied to the 10,000 images created during the Ingrid portfolio project.

By far the most important step in the post production process is culling - the act of getting rid of surplus images, and identifying the images to be retained (the best ones, usually).

My first step upon returning to Canada was to copy all the images onto my desktop computer, and add them to my Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Work-in-Progress catalogue. Once this was completed (and while the catalogue was busy making 1:1 Previews and Smart Objects for all 10,000 images I created in Ireland) I made a Collection for each day of the project, added the images from each day to each collection, and then pressed the Sync with mobile box next to each collection. This added the daily folders to the Lightroom Mobile app on my iPad Pro, and created proxy files (Smart Objects) on the iPad Pro for each image...sadly, this is a slow process that took more than 48 hours to complete.
The outcome of this process, however, is quick and convenient access to all the images I made in Ireland on my iPad Pro, without having to be sitting in my office at my desktop computer, and without the significant time delay that working with the original RAW files introduces. Even on my high performance desktop, with 32gb of RAM, every time I click on a new 50mp image, there's a several second delay before the full resolution preview of the file is loaded...on the iPad Pro, I can flip between images as fast I wish, without lag.

With all the images on the iPad Pro, I began the process of separating the images into two piles - Picks and Rejects. On the first pass through the photos (and it takes some time to work through 10,154 images), I rejected junk - test exposures, obvious mistakes, botched compositions or seriously flawed poses. Without an careful reflection or time spent on minutia, this eliminated close to 300 images in a relatively short time.
 The next step was a little slower; again using the iPad Pro, I went through the images a little more carefully, and rejected any photographs with more subtle issues - bad expressions, subject motion or botched compositions. Again, this was a relatively quick process, and lead to another 800+ images being rejected. Already I had culled more than 10% of the project images, and I had yet to spend any time on individual images!
With the first two passes completed using the iPad Pro, the real work begins. This is done within Adobe Photoshop Lightroom on my desktop computer; after filtering out the rejects, I proceeded to continue culling - this time weeding down duplicate images to the single best image.

One of the reasons I made so many images over the two weeks of working with Ingrid was that I believe in taking advantage of technology; when working with a subject that doesn't move (like architecture), I tend to be very methodical in my approach - checking as much as possible (focus, composition etc) after making an image, before moving on. As a result, I seldom delete more than 30% of the images made under such conditions.

When working with a model, even in an ideal environment, the above approach is a little more challenging as it seriously slows down the process (just ask Steve Richard). When working in new and unfamiliar locations, checking each and every image after making it is even more of an impediment to a fluid workflow, so instead, I tend to make a handful of images at at time, using volume to provide a number of options for each composition.  When this approach is combined with low light (such as the images above, created in a dimly lit room in an abbey), I tend to make even more images. With standing poses it is challenging to stay still during a 1/6th of a second exposure, so to ensure I have something sharp, I make 9-exposures,  which usually ensures I have at least one without blur. Thus in the screen capture above, of 72 separate exposures, there are actually only 6 actual compositions being created...leading to 66 of 72 images being culled, and eventually deleted (in this specific example, almost 92% of the images are culled).
The easiest way to cull down the groups of images to the best one is using the Compare View in Lightroom; multiple images may be selected before entering the Compare View, but only two images are displayed at any time, with the view synced, so you can zoom in, and move around at 100% magnification, to check the focus, motion and other details, before culling an image. Even with 1:1 Previews made in advance, this can be a little slow, with a couple of second spent loading each image; still, after a couple of focused sessions working at culling down duplicates, I managed to eliminate close to 5,000 images, moving them into the Reject pile.
The other reason for the high image count is because of some of the advanced multi-image processing techniques I use; while I do fewer multi-image stitches now (with 50mp cameras there are few times I feel I need more resolution), I still use multi-image techniques to deal with high contrast subjects (what many photographers call HDR imaging, and what I refer to as Exposure Blending). I have several hundred source files for exposure blended images, with the average resulting image using 6 source files to make up the final photograph (thus 300 source images make up 50 final photographs).

After 10 days of working on the images from Ireland, I have 2 days of work fully culled and mostly edited, and a good dent made in the other days. I still have close to 4,000 images to work through, though I suspect close to 50% of them will end up in the reject pile.

Below are screen captures of the original catalogue numbers (left) and the numbers remaining after 14 days of culling images in the Work-in-Progress catalogue. Only the first two dates (June 25th and June 27th) are finished.

July 14, 2016

Ireland Photography Complete

This past weekend Ingrid and I arrived back in Halifax, Nova Scotia after two intense weeks of working together in the Republic of Ireland creating the images for the Ingrid, the Ireland Portfolio.

The trip was a great success, in spite of some challenging weather, narrow Irish roads, and the seductive nature of cod & chips (for me) and actual Guinness on tap (for others).

In twelve days of photography, Ingrid and I worked together in over thirty locations, and though it is early in the culling and processing stage, I already know we have made some of the strongest fine art nudesI have made in years!
During the project, I created a little over 10,000 images (about 2/3 colour and 1/3 infrared), utilizing over 640gb of hard-drive space. In addition to 8,800 images of Ingrid, this count includes around 40gb of video files, and around 2,200 images of miscellany (urbanscapes and landscapes for the most part, but who can resist photographing wild horses, and four super-cute kittens?). After culling, I suspect the number of finished images will be around 1000-2000, but that is just a rough guess.
With our return to Canada, the Second Stage of the Ingrid, the Ireland Portfolio (making the images) is complete, and the Third Stage begins (first culling, then editing the photographs, posting the Photo Diaries, and ultimately, selecting and printing the final twelve portfolio images). I have already copied the images from the travel drive onto my desktop computer's Drobo drive, and have added them to my Work in Progress Lightroom catalogue, where I will process with the culling and processing process.
Initially, however, the vast majority of my work is being done on an iPad Pro; the Lightroom Mobile app makes the culling of 50mp images MUCH faster than the same process in a Lightroom catalogue; this is because Lightroom Mobile creates renders a smart preview of the raw photos in the Lightroom Catalogue and syncs that smart preview to iPad. Smart previews are smaller versions of the original raw file that retain all the flexibility of a raw file at a fraction of the size.  Using this approach, I have already culled over 2,500 images in a couple of days!
The below map shows the majority of the sites Ingrid and worked in (some images have not been GPS tagged yet, so some locations are not represented on the map). 
 All documentary photos by Angela Creaser

July 09, 2016

Ireland XXXIV (Dublin, Ireland)

The last full day in Ireland was spent driving back to Dublin (a leisurely 3 hours, not counting time for lunch), then exploring an Irish museum (all Irish National Museums are free, which is both awesome, and incredibly civilized), returning the rental car, and finally, walking around Dublin at night.
The bulk of our afternoon was spent in the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History, which is located in an old English military barracks. It was huge, and very interesting to walk around and enjoy as a tourist.
As part of the exploration of the museum, I couldn't resist taking photograph of this stair well - less a tourist image, and more a continuation of my love affair with stairs!After a fabulous final meal in Dublin (yum, cod and chips in a pub), we took a leisurely walk through the city and back across the River Liffey (which happens to have a tributary called the River Poddle!). We caught the bus to our hotel, had the very interesting experience of riding a bus through the hordes of people coming out of a Beyonce concert, and then caught one last sleep in Dublin, before our flight back to Canada!

July 08, 2016

Ireland XXXIII (Murrooghtooty North, Ireland)

The last location Ingrid and I would work in during the production of the 2016 Ingrid portfolio was the rocky shoreline near Black Head, where the rocky formations of the Burren sink into the wild Atlantic Ocean. This would be our third session working with the landscape of the Burren, and it happened to be the most magical.

After parking the car (right beside all the other tourist cars), Ingrid and I set off, down the hill towards the ocean; the car park played host to a couple of dozen tourists enjoying the broad views of the wild landscape, but even 30 metres from it, there were hardly any people in sight. By the time we'd walked a couple of hundred meters from the road, all tourists had dwindled to dots...but some creatures were moving through the landscape before us...horses!

I cannot think of a cooler thing to have happened on the final day of photography with Ingrid in ireland - wild horses. After some delay (photographing the horses, of course), Ingrid and I began working together, using a large boulder to protect Ingrid from being spied by any roadside tourists with super-zoom camera or mega-binoculars.

The first space Ingrid and I worked in happened to have a white horse in the background, wandering around eating grass. Having only worked with a model and a horse once before (and ingrid was the focus for that session as well), it shouldn't come a a surprise that I had no idea how to direct the horse...so I just kept moving my position to keep the horse in frame. I used a long lens to compress the distance between Ingrid and the mare, but decided to use a larger aperture to ensure the focus of the composition remained on Ingrid.

I made dozens of images every time the horse raised its head (which it didn't do often), but the real award for this session goes to Ingrid, who couldn't see the horse at all...but could hear it's munching and movement all too clearly, and was certain it would only inches behind her through the entire session.

After finishing with the first set of photographs, Ingrid dressed, and we moved further along the shore...though it wasn't clear if we were keeping pace with the horses, or if they were keeping an eye on us. Either way, as Ingrid worked on the rocky sides of an old stone enclosure (perhaps a building foundation, but more likely an animal enclosure), three of the wild herd quietly cropped the grass in the background.

As the horses moved to graze further down the beach, I shifted my camera angle to look back towards Black Head, the defining element in the landscape. It was challenging at times to strike a balance between Ingrid's figure in the foreground and the incredibly vast landscape around her, but she was patient, and felt my obvious enthusiasm for the location (plus, she was still thoroughly enjoying the fact the session began with wild horses!).

The final set of images created at Murrooghtoohy North, and indeed of the 2016 Ingrid portfolio, were if Ingrid posing on the pavement itself. A challenging environment to work in, I had to constantly balance the scale of Ingrid within the frame against including as much of the surroundings as possible...and just as we began to hit our stride, it started to rain. Ingrid and I quickly finished the last composition, and after she hurriedly dressed, and cameras were packed for travel, we headed back to the car...cautiously...wet karsk is fiercely slippery, as I learned the hard way more than once...

...did I mention there were wild horses!

Ireland XXXII (Meggagh Tomb, Ireland)

After finishing up at Faher North, Ingrid and I headed towards the coast, to the shoreline near Black Head, at the very western edge of the Burren. On the way however, we passed an unmarked tomb in a field by the road. We'd passed this two days earlier, but didn't have the time (or the weather) to permit a stop. Today was different however...and after carefully parking the car slightly off the narrow country road, Ingrid and I clambered into the field.
The land around the tomb was well cleared, with more sign of bovine activity than man, but the tomb was still impressive, overlooking a shallow valley below, and the hills rolling to the west. After a careful pause to listen for approaching cars, Ingrid quickly disrobed, and moved through a couple of poses before, and then upon, the ancient monument.
At just under 2 minutes, this has to hold the record for the shortest session Ingrid and I have had, but with easy visibility of the tomb from the distant road (not to mention all the surrounding fields), both Ingrid and I felt it wise to keep the session short and sweet...so after making a couple of dozen hand-held images of a full set of poses, Ingrid donned her clothes, and returned to the car and resumed our drive to Black Head, and our final location for the project.

Ireland XXXI (Faher North, Ireland)

The last day of photographing Ingrid in Ireland dawned overcast and bright, with only an occasional shower forecast for the entire island. After the travel-intensive schedule of the day before, we opted to stay "a little closer" today, and headed back to the Burren; I felt our earlier session at Cappaghkennedy didn't capture all the location had to offer.

The first location Ingrid and I set out to work in was directly opposite Cappaghkennedy; we parked in the same place, but this time headed east, following a ragged field-stone wall across the landscape, until we were out of sight of the road. The day was a little warmer than most have been (pushing to a balmy high of 18 Celsius), and when the sun came out from between the clouds, it became positively pleasant...a nice change for Ingrid after almost twelve days of temperatures in the mid teens.

Photographing on the hillside of Faher North was a real pleasure; with the isolation of the location came the freedom to work as we prefer, and for the couple of hours we spent exploring the beauty of the Burren, we didn't have a single interruption.

My favourite images from this session were made of Ingrid posing on a small shelf of the limestone pavement (apparently called a "clint") that rose up above the rest of the rock landscape...it was a natural formation that echoed the form of the ancient tombs that littered the landscape. This was the only time during this session that I worked with my infrared camera, and while I am happy with those results, I find the colour, with the rich greens between stone, and the sky echoing the stone in both colour and texture, even more pleasing.

As we explored the hillside, I was constantly drawn to including the distant rocky hills in my compositions, but vacillated between using a large or small aperture, unsure if I liked the background being distinct, or preferred it to be more atmospheric (the advantages of working with large aperture lenses like the 85mm f/1.2 shone here). In the end, as I already had numerous wide-angle images of the landscape with everything in focus, I opted to use the shallow depth of field images, enjoying the silky-smooth blur to the distant hills.

Ingrid and I brought this session to a close when we began to feel like we were producing more of the same; I have no doubt if we'd walked for another couple of hours, we would have discovered other wondrous settings, but having only half-a-day of photography left in the Ireland portfolio project, I felt it would be best to call this location to a close, and head to the coast for a final set of photos.

July 07, 2016

Ireland XXX (The Glen, Ireland)

If Castlegrove House was everything I had hoped for, and met every expectation I had, the Glen was something I was totally unprepared for. The photographs of it online only hint at the incredible beauty of the space, and when Ingrid and I first walked into it, it was truly awe inspiring.

The Glen is one of the most interesting natural phenomena on the Coolera peninsula of County Sligo : it is a narrow, deep and long chasm on the south face of Knocknarea, a massive rocky hill that is caped with a giant rocky cairn known as "Queen Maeve's grave". This microvalley in the limestone hillside runs for about three quarters of a mile and averages 20 metres deep, with sheer limestone cliffs on both sides.

Finding the entrance to the Glen proved quite straight-forward, thanks to detailed instructions found online, but getting in to the heart of it proved a little more challenging. Thick mud on the route in force a retreat to the car to don rubber boots, and even these proved almost futile, as I stepped into mud so deep on the way out of the Glen that I filled one boot with thick, viscous mud. I shudder to think of how inaccessible the space would be after a couple of days of rain.
In some ways, the simple question of where to start photographing in the Glen was the hardest; the location was so visually rich that everywhere I looked had potential. For lack of other guidance, began working with Ingrid at the far end of the clearing, and then we worked our way back to where we entered it. Given how verdant the location was, I worked exclusively in colour, hoping the contrast between Ingrid's skin tone and the sea of green around her would make the images pop.
It is ironic that, for all the beauty and majesty of the location, the greatest challenge Ingrid and I came up against was a familiar one - the question of posing with trees. In Nova Scotia, where trees tend to be smaller, a Nude next to a tree can look disconnected; in the Glen, with massive trees towering overhead, it was even more disproportionate. In the end, for the most part, I decided to focus on lines and form (i.e. the trunk), and not worry about the trees as a whole.
By chance more than design, Ingrid and I started working in the Glen shortly after 6pm, and through the location was full of evidence of visitors, the session was uninterrupted, primarily, I think, because of the late hour. A further advantage of starting so late in the day was that the evening light, as the sun moved lower in the western sky, began to illuminate the Glen from one end, providing some beautiful angular side-light to work with towards the end of the session.
 The final set of images made at the Glen were also amongst the most dramatic. By this time, the sun had moved low enough to rake across the sheer limestone walls that defined the Glen. Dusted with trailing ivy, the northern wall provided a perfect space for Ingrid to work in, with the soft evening sunlight falling across her body in an almost theatrical manner.
Like so many of the places Ingrid and I worked with in Ireland, I could have spent a full day (or more) working in the Glen, but between the long morning drive, and the intense session at Moyne Friary, by 7:30pm, both Ingrid and I were getting hungry. Knowing that dinner was likely an hour away in Sligo, and would be followed by at least a 2 hour drive back to our accommodation, we decided, with some reluctance, to call the session to a close, and head back to the car.

Ireland XXIX (Moyne Friary, Ireland)

Moyne Abbey, was founded in 1460 by the powerful de Burgo family, on the orders of Mac William de Burgo. It thrived for almost 150 years, before it was burned in 1590 by the notorious Sir Richard Bingham, the English Governor of Connacht appointed by Queen Elizabeth Ist. It is possible that friars continued to reside in the friary until the end of the 18th century, when the friary began to fall into ruin. Today the remains are still incredibly well preserved and a fantastically atmospheric place to visit.

Of all the locations Ingrid and I worked with in Ireland, this took the most effort to get to; but based upon the photos I'd found online, and what I'd read about both the site's accessibility, and remoteness, I decided the time and expense would be worth it. So after a long 2.5 hour drive, and a walk though a farmer's field (with a Beware of Bull sign, but no bull), we arrived in the early afternoon at the most spectacular religious ruin I've seen in Ireland.

The abbey turned out to be everything the images I had seen had hinted at and more - and its greatest treasure was an intact, complete cloister, which is where Ingrid and I started working together. In all, we spent an hour working with the beautiful light and form of the covered walkway, and it is challenging (to say the least) to select a favorite portrait from the images we made, but the above, which strikes a balance between confidence and sensuality, wins out for me.
A more technical achievement was the creation of the above photograph, capturing the grandeur of the cloister, while keeping Ingrid front and centre (literally, as well as creatively). Even with the incredible contrast-controlling nature of my infrared converted Canon 5Ds, I needed to combine three different exposures to record the tonal range from the brightly lit grass in the centre of the courtyard, to the shadowy figure of Ingrid on the inside wall of the cloister.
After a break for some lunch and exploration of the rest of the abbey, Ingrid and I moved up to the second floor of the Refectory, and worked with a lovely deep alcove (a remnant of an earlier design which was built into the wall of a later building). We started with Ingrid working in the recess, with my camera straight out and parallel to the alcove, but then I switched to the infrared camera, and moved the camera down and to the side, for a more dramatic (and less classical "Eric") composition. This paid off in spades, with a couple of very striking images coming out of the experiment.
The last set of images Ingrid and I made within Moyne Abbey were set in a dimly lit room to the side of the cloisters; I just loved the dramatic lighting in the room, and combined with an ultra wide lens, the sense of space and mood was just sunning. Ingrid and I made dozens of exposures of a handful of poses in this room, taking as many as 10 of a pose, to ensure we had at least one without motion blur (with standing poses, an exposure of 1/6th of a second is challenging to hold still).

The session was brought to a close at 4pm, after Ingrid and I made a couple of photographs of her in the fields behind the abbey, with the ruins in the background; I had realized we'd been focusing on images within ruins, but had few with ruins as a backdrop, so on the second-last day of the project, I made a small effort to rectify that situation!

July 06, 2016

Ireland XXVIII (Cappaghkennedy, Ireland)

After a week and a half in Ireland, the inevitable happened - a day dawned with pouring rain; where other mornings have been damp, or misty, this one was undeniably raining. A quick look online revealed this to be the dominant forecast for the entire country...so we decided to take a chance and head out anyway...setting out sites on the Burren, if for nothing else but some wet sight-seeing.
As it turned out, the closer to the Burren we got, the more optimistic I became about the weather; though it was still raining, there were lighter patches of sky starting to appear. When we finally parked in the middle of the Burren National Park and contemplated walking up a hill to see what images could be made, it was only lightly misting. I looked at Ingrid and asked the question, and she said "why not!" Ever the pessimist, before loading up with cameras, I suited up with boots, rain pants and a raincoat...only to have nothing more than the occasional mist occur during the session.
After a short debate over whether we should head east or west, we decided to walk inland (east), as Cappaghkennedy was marked with a tomb on the road map. After almost an hour of walking, first getting to the crest of the hill and then wandering around the top, seeking the Cappaghkennedy tomb (we never found it), Ingrid and I began to work together.

Though the rain held off, the wind rushing across the hilltop was quite strong, and swiftly took its toll on Ingrid; each time we started working, it was under five minutes before she needed to take a break, get clothed and try to warm up again by walking briskly over the rough heath. As we moved across the landscape, by happenstance more than design, we kept returning to the same point of inspuration; scrubby wind-swept Hawthorne trees that grew among the stone walls that separated the fields.

Saying the trees are wind-swept is something of an understatement - on the top of the hill, the trees grew horizontally, and one Hawthorne in particular was easily 20' tall...or rather, 8' tall, and at least 20' from side to side. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted an image of Ingrid lying within its boughs. After a quick test (the tree barely moved under my weight), I asked Ingrid to climb up into it, and recline on her back, arching out into the branches that reached out across the moorland.

By this session, Ingrid and I have worked together in Ireland for a solid ten days, but I can honestly say that this is only the second image we've made that I knew with certainly, at the time it was made, was a success. I can think of nothing I have made in the twenty-eight years I have worked with the Nude that looks like this image - and the minute I made it, it was burned into my mind's eye, and hung there for the rest of the day. This image is the epitome of why I wanted to do this project in Ireland.
After making another couple of sets of photographs on the top of the hill, ever aware of the swirling clouds above, and the risk of rain, we decided to head back to the car. On the way down, Ingrid asked to stop and make some images of her featuring the small field flowers that were ever-present in the landscape, so we paused about 1/2 way down the hill to make those, and a few other compositions looking out onto the Burren landscape.
Though we successfully avoided working in rain for almost two hours, the windy conditions, and cool temperatures had chilled Ingrid to the bone by the end of the session, so we set off on a 40 minute drive to the coast, hoping that Ingrid would warm up by the time we arrived, and that the weather would similarly improve. Optimism was not to win on this day however, and at the coast, all we found was more mist and rain.

In the end, we decided to acknowledged the gift the only session of the day had given us (the image in the horizontal tree) and admit the rest of the day was lost to poor weather. As we drove back to Galway with thoughts of warm food and drinks, I have to admit I still had a ghost image of Ingrid within the tree haunting my mind's eye.

July 05, 2016

Ireland XXVII (Trawleckachoolia, Ireland)

After the incredible session at Castlegrove House, which I had looked forward to since I first learned of the location, it was a challenge deciding where to spend the rest of the day. After some discussion, we decided to head west for dinner, and then to the coast, hoping for either a rocky shoreline, or a beach (this was the only session during the entire trip where we went off-map, so to speak, and ended up at a location I didn't research beforehand.
After a surprisingly long drive, we arrived at Trawleckachoolia (Silver Strand Beach with two hours to spare before sunset; we also arrived to find the tide so high that it was a challenge to actually get to the beach; we ended up walking through ocean thigh-high in order to get from the car park into the dunes that separated us from the beach proper.

One advantage of arriving at 8pm was that the entire site was essentially deserted; two other vehicles were in the car park, and the occupants of those were deep in conversation, paying us no heed. Within 5 minutes of crossing the tidal-water, Ingrid and I were in the thick of high rolling sand dunes, enjoying a surprisingly warm evening (on the whole, this session was probably the warmest Ingrid had during the entire trip).

Initially, I wondered about spending so much time on the dunes, but with the rolling mountains in the background, I could honestly say these weren't images I could make in Nova Scotia, which is, essentially, one of the core requirements for the final result of this trip, so we kept making images, as we slowly worked our way to the sea.

Because of the limited time we had, I decided to eschew my tripod, and spend the session working hand-held; this would encourage Ingrid and I to work a little faster, and be a little more spontaneous...but it would also put a definite limit of the session, time-wise, as we couldn't push much past sundown without a tripod for camera stability.

When we finally emerged from the extensive dunes and arrived on the beach, it was, unsurprisingly, like almost every beach I have seen...broad, flat and on the whole, uninspiring. Fortunately, at the end of the right-hand side of the sand lay a small out crop of rock, which served as our focus for the remainder of the session; it was refreshing to be able to work without concern about interruption, and while I secretly wished I'd brought my tripod, I have to admit the speed at which Ingrid and I worked was surprising to both of use...like a blur, we moved through poses and compositions, making the most of the limited time we had on the beach.
Though the majority of the session was spent with broad landscape-focused images of Ingrid in front of a tableau of Irish mountains, there were a number of smaller rock formations that caught my eye, and provoked me to make a couple of of more intimate compositions.
In the end, however, it was the images that blended the images of Ingrid on the beach rocks with the mountains behind her that really engage me; the irony of the session is that to make the 20 images I've retained, I created almost 10 times that make exposures...but with the hand-held camera, I find my compositions so hap-hazard that so many of the images I made were culled simply based upon poor compositions. The cream rises to the top however, so from the hundreds of images made on the beach, so really striking results have emerged.

Ireland XXVI (Castlegrove House, Ireland)

Castlegrove is a seven-bay three-storey country house, built c.1830. The house and vast estate belonged to Edward Blake but it would eventually ruin him. He decided that the road from Tuam heading north ran too close to the house so he built a new road to divert traffic away from it. This was just one of his over ambitious plans and he was unable to pay back money borrowed and so was forced to leave Castlegrove, when it was sold in 1853. He died 20 years later. 

Of all the places I hoped to work with Ingrid in Ireland, Castlegrove was the one I had the highest hopes for; I learned of it only weeks before we the trip, and the images I found of Castlegrove online were hauntingly beautiful. While the only post I could find with details about it indicated it was hard to find, but when I overlaid the Google Maps satellite image with an historical land plan from the 19th century (below), it was clear where the buildings would be...I hoped.
The research paid off, and after parking the car and a short walk further along the road, I could see the ivy-covered walls of the house in the middle of the haunting woods. I don't think I have worked in a more magical location in all of my 30 years of photography (which is rather cool, given the Ingrid portfolio was planned as a way to celebrate 30 years of photography!). 
The greatest challenge of working at Castlegrove was deciding what to work with; as I have said with other locations, Ingrid and I could have worked all day, or even for multiple days, within the ruins, and still not scratch the surface of the location's potential. As they had caught my eye in the online photos I found of the ruins, I suggested Ingrid try working on the fallen stone columns; their strong lines clearly contrasted with the forest floor, and permitted me to set the ruins of the house in the background for some location context.
After working some with the main door the house, Ingrid and I moved into the building itself - and couldn't resist working with the smaller trees that were scattered around the interior. While I tried some images in colour, it was the infrared photographs that I felt worked the best - there is nothing quite like how it renders skin tone, and the luminous foliage keeps the focus on the foreground.
As much as we were at Castlegrove to work with the house ruins, I couldn't resist asking Ingrid to pose for a few images focused on the ever present forest that surrounded (and even grew into it). Again, I felt the infrared worked best for the above image, as it keeps the focus on Ingrid, sitting on a fallen tree.
Towards the end of the session, Angie suggested Ingrid and I work with a bed of Queen Anne's Lace she had found just outside the building; we'd seen some elsewhere the size of sunflowers, but as they were beside a road (and a rather busy one at that), we agreed to keep the idea of working with the flower somewhere else more appropriate - and this turned out to be the place!

Ultimately, we would have worked for another hour or two at Castlegrove, but the session was brought to an abrupt close when a family came romping through the forest. Even with the interruption, I am incredibly pleased with the work Ingrid and I did in the ruin, and certainly would return to work with it again, if I had the chance.