October 14, 2018

Fall Colours Field Trip #3 (Herring Cove, Nova Scotia)

Digital original
I usually post 3-4 images per blog entry, but there are times when one image is so striking there is no need to publish anything else. This moment, literally the last image made during this field trip, yielding such an image. The irony that it is an image focused on a monochromatic subject is not lost on me, but this is, without a doubt, my favorite fall image ever.

October 08, 2018

Fall Colours Field Trip #2 (Salt Marsh Trail, Nova Scotia)

Digital Infrared Original
One of the first successes of this field trip was of a small tree on a rocky outcrop. Unusually for me, this image was created hand-held - the walk out to this spot was treacherous, so I'd left the tripod behind so I'd have both hands to steady myself. The low angle (keeping the grasses front and centre in the image) would have been hard to get with the tripod head/neck combo I had on this trip, so it all worked out in the end.
Digital Original
Several times in this session heron's provided focal points for compositions - in this case, as the students and I were making our way back to the car park, a lone bird was stalking fish in the reflection of the sunset sky.
Digital Original, 5 image exposure blend
My last image of the field trip is by far my favorite. I have grown to love twilight light over the years, and this image makes the most of the cool-warm split of light this time of day offers!

October 06, 2018

Fall Colours Field Trip #1 (Frog Pond, Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Digital original
I do not usually respond to colours in photography, but in this case, it was impossible to miss the shockingly red tree. A 15 second-long exposure gave an interesting shimmer to the water, which balances the image well.
Digital original
As soon as I saw this old weathered tree branch, I knew I had to make an image of it. My initial response was in black and white, but I find myself returning time and time again to the colour version, so that is what I am showing here!
Digital original
The final image set I made during this field trip was of the stream flowing out of the frog pond and down to the North West Arm. In numerous places it runs over submerged rocks, which in turn shape the reflections in the water's surface - as the above image shows.

September 13, 2018

Carol & Ingrid (McNab's Island, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original
The last time I worked with a model in Fort McNab was in 2006, with Ingrid and R_. In some ways, this session was a continuation of that, as it focused on working with a pair of models, one of which was Ingrid. There is no argument that different models bring different elements to a session, and R_ had a very different modeling style than Carol does, but the comment element of Ingrid does present a continuity between the sessions, for all that they are separated by 12 years.
Digital infrared original
Without a doubt, the best element of working in such an isolated space is the freedom to create without interruption. The natural pace of a session does much to foster the making of inspired images, and this session really took advantage of this, with the models and moving from space to space as ideas came and went. Usually one model would find a pose in a setting, and the second add their reflection of this, either as a mirror or contrast to the original pose.
Digital infrared original
After working together for numerous session, Carol have worked out a really strong connection between them, and frequently are able to create striking poses that work well together (as opposed to upstaging each other, and diluting an otherwise strong pose with a weaker response). Ultimately, we only worked in three buildings within the fort  before deciding to head back to the beach, and finish the session on the sand and in the harbour.
Digital infrared original
The session ended with a little frolic in the harbour; it is hard to keep Ingrid out of the water, and at the end of warm afternoon, there was no restraining her. Unlike the rivers and streams I prefer to work in, Maugher Beach is devoid or rocks to support the models, so we had to rely upon the minimal pose options available - the best of which turned out to be having Ingrid arch her body out of the water, and capture the sheeting water pulling off her torso.

September 05, 2018

Carol & Ingrid in the ocean (Long Beach, Nova Scotia)

Digital original
This session was another chance for Carol to try posing working in water, and another opportunity for Ingrid and I to work in one of my favourite locations. The session began with Carol modeling in a small tidal pool - the retreating tide was still breaking over the rock around the pool from time to time, but a long shutter speed evened out any issues that caused, leaving the water around Carol still as glass, and turning the churning sea behind her into a softer, almost mist-like scene.
Digital infrared original
After working with Carol for a time, I shifted to photographing Ingrid (allowing Carol to get dressed and warm up. Our first image set focused on Ingrid posing mostly out of the water, making the most of a beautiful sky and the ultra-wide lens to give the image drama.
Digital infrared original, 2 image stitch
My favourite image of the session is the above, using infrared light to create a lovely luminous feel to the seaweed below Ingrid, and a long exposure to smooth out the water as it broke over the rock on the far side of Ingrid. The two-frame stitch permitted me to complete the composition on the bottom left side without wasting any of the image in a crop.
Digital original
The final image (above) was made during the walk back to the car. The evening light was being diffused by high clouds, and the delicate radiation pattern in the sand around the rock was just beautiful, so I coulnd't resist making this image.

August 31, 2018

Esme's Solo Session (Prospect, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original, 5 image mean blend
Though we'd first worked together a month earlier, this was the first chance for Esme and I to work together at the coast on our own; we decided to work as Prospect, as it was an area both of us know well. The opening set of images was made in an area well past where I'd explored to date; Esme posed upon a series of water-smoothed granite rocks that were continually washed-over by the ocean. Each time a wave would bury Esme, she would surface smiling and laughing - much like Ingrid, she absolutely loves working with water.
Digital infrared original, 2 image stitch
 As we moved along the cost, we continually found inspiration. The sky was lovely as the day moved into evening, and presented some wonderful clouds to use as a backdrop. All through the session we moved between images of Esme in the ocean, surrounded by rocks and seaweed, and her posing on the shoreline, set against the evening sky.
Digital infrared original
The final images for this session was made in one of my favourite locations to work in - the Eye of the World (Megan was the first model I photographed here in 1999). I'd hoped for some clouds in the sky at sunset, but for the most part, the sky was clear. The water in the pool was warm however, and Esme worked through a full set of poses before we called the session to a close, and headed back to the car, and a warm drink for Esme.
Digital infrared original, 7 image exposure blend, 3 image stitch

August 25, 2018

Summer Light Field Trip #3 (Middle Point Cove, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original
One of my favorite things about working with infrared light is how it renders water - in this case, to the unaided eye, this water pool had little presence in the scene, but knowing how IR light is absorbed by water, I knew it would be quite different when seen though the infrared modified camera!
Digital original
As the sun set, I made my way out to the western most point of the cove so I could work with the breaking waves in the evening light.
Digital original, 2 image stitch
This was my last composition of the field trip, made in dwindling twilight. The delicate colours in the rocks are reflected in the reflection and sky, making the image come together in a very pleasing way.

August 21, 2018

Esme in a River (Ingramport River, Nova Scotia)

Digital original, 8 image mean blend
When Esme and I first worked together, her primary interest was in modeling in water, so when we planned a second solo session, a river was an obvious choice. I've worked in this particular river since 1996, but given the nature of water, it is different every time I visit it!
Digital original, 4 image mean blend
It was a real pleasure to work with Esme; a passionate artist, she has a strong body sense, and really enjoys modeling, which shows in the image. In contrast to much of my previous images of the Nude in water, for most of this session I worked with mean blends (blending multiple images of water motion) than extremely long exposures to generate the water motion. This has multiple advantages, the best of which is shorter overall exposures, which makes it easier for the model to hold a pose.
Digital original, 10 image mean blend
One of the most striking images of the session is the above photo - Esme had just finished a prone pose, and was stretching out her back and shoulder muscles. I caught a glimpse of it, and loved the light on her torso and kneed. I asked her to repeat the motion, and pause at the apex - which is when I made this image. Much more dynamic than my usual languid approach to posing models around water, it is really pleasing, and might provoke further explorations in future water sessions.

August 20, 2018

Esme & Ingrid on an Island (Shannon Island, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original
This session was several weeks in the planning, and while it deviated from the original idea (heading to a different island), it provided a fabulous opportunity to work with two models in a new, isolated location. After a short boat-ride (thanks to Esme's connections), the two models and I were dropped off onto Shannon Island, and left to our own devices.

The first set of images were made in a drove of dead trees, which had fallen to the ground and turned silver-white. Esme enthusiastically wormed her way into the branches of the largest tree, and for several minutes, we explored the possibilities. This inspiring and engaging set of images came to abrupt stop when I miss-stepped and fell backwards...no cameras were hurt, but several light cuts and lacerations on my arm and leg made us decide to leave the site, and head to more accessible/level parts of the island.
Digital infrared original
The second set of images were more traditional (for me), but really pleasing. A glacial erratic provided the perfect platform for both Esme and Ingrid to model, and as the late afternoon sun moved in and out of cloud cover, we made a series of images working with a striking setting and great light.
Digital infrared original, 2 image exposure blend
As the session progressed, the light became better and better. The above photograph takes full advantage of this, combined with the low contrast of my infrared modified camera. In colour, the shadow side of the models would have been quite dark, and devoid of detail, but in infrared, there is a striking balance between the sun-lit skin, and shadowy side of the bodies.
Digital infrared original
Towards the end of the session, before we headed back to meet the boat, Esme and I made some images of her reflected in a small water pool. The light was low and dramatic, making the rock wall above her quite dramatic, and giving real dimension to the image. A great high point to end upon, I look forward to returning to Shannon Island again, and seeing what else can be created there!

Esme & Ingrid Killing Time (Glacial Barrens, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original
Esme has arranged for transportation to an off-shore Island for her, Ingrid and myself, but at the last minute, the schedule was bumped back, so the three of us found ourselves with some time to kill. Not wanting to let light go to waste, we headed out to the glacial barrens near Prospect, and proceeded to make some images on the rocks and foliage that abound there.
Digital infrared original
With two models available, most of the session was spent with one woman finding a pose, and then the other working out how to fit into the scene - the usual approach I use is to have the second model either mirror or contrast the first; the first two images show more of the later, with the additional model (Ingrid in the first example, and Esme in the second) choosing a post to reinforce the first.
Digital infrared original
The final image set was a series of standing portraits of Esme; The afternoon wind was quite active, and whipped her hair around as she stood atop the glacial erratic. It was the perfect end to an unexpected session.

August 19, 2018

Photo 101 Field Trip (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Digital original
Typically, Photo 101 field trips involve quite a lot of walking about, booking for different subject or points of view, but for this particular field trip (partially because of the weather), the students and I remained focus on a single location - the courtyard of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. While the students experimented with lens selection and aperture, I made a classic elevation view of the old Post Office building, which holds a good portion of the gallery.
Digital original
The vast majority of my time between working with students was spent photographing Origins, a large sculpture by John Greer. I really enjoyed the abstract darkness of the work, and found composition after composition that made the most of the subtle surface of the sculpture.
Digital original
After I finished exploring the sculpture, I turned my eye to the old post office, and switched to my longest lens (300mm f/4) to make some details of the modern restoration carving that is so much a part of the old building to today.

August 14, 2018

Esme & Skulls in the studio (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original
My work with skulls and the Nude dates back to images made with Victoria in Alberta in 1999. I love combing the two elements into singular compositions, especially in a studio, where the lighting can be tailored to the subject, and the focus can be placed upon the simple forms of the body and bone.
Digital infrared original
This session was inspired by the collection of bones at Esme's house, collected over years of living in Canada's north; while I have worked with caribou, horse, sheep and goat skulls before, this was my first chance to work with wolf (the first image) and Musk-ox skull, complete with horns. After some experimentation, I settled on the skull mirroring Esme's back and legs as the best way to blend the two forms in one composition.
Digital infrared original
The most dynamic image of the session came from the final set of images, with Esme holding a polar bear skull; the bone was surprisingly heavy, and challenging to hold for any length of time. In contrast to the majority of the images of the session, as opposed to holding the skull against her body, Esme experimented with thrusting the skull away from her, and curving her body away from it - the results were incredibly pleasing.

August 13, 2018

Carol, Esme & Ingrid model together (McNab's Island, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original, 2 image stitch
One of the greatest advantages of working with models who know each other is the opportunity to work with multiple models in the same place, and often in the same image. For this session, transportation to McNab's island was provided by Trav (who last modeled for me in 2002), which was a gift in itself, as the opportunity to work uninterrupted for extended periods is a gift unto itself.
Digital infrared original
The majority of the session was spent working with the remains of an old wharf, as the tide came in. Alternating between working with a single or multiple models, I made the most of the beautiful soft light provided by the overcast afternoon. As Carol, Esme and Ingrid had all worked together before, it was quite easy to realize the potential of the spaces, and make some really pleasing images.
Digital infrared original

As the afternoon progressed, the time came in further and further, and eventually swallowed up the remains of the wharf. As we had some time left, we headed further up onto the stone beach, and proceeded to make a set of compositions working with a large piece of driftwood - as before, I began with a single model, and then added the second, and third to complete the exploration.
Digital infrared original
The overarching theme of this session was freedom; working on the island gave us the freedom to work without concern about interruption, and having three comfortable, competent and enthusiastic models along provided me the freedom to work constantly, and frequently incorporate two, and even three models over the session. A true embarrassment of riches.

August 08, 2018

Low Light & Night Field Trip #2 (Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia)

Digital original
On the annual Night & Low Light Photography field trip to Peggy's Cove, the students and I were graced with some lovely low cloud behind the lighthouse, providing some depth to the sky.

August 06, 2018

Carol, Esme & Ingrid by the Ocean (Prospect, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original
After the short and chilly first session for Esme a month earlier, I was determined to facilitate a more typical (and warmer) session to really introduce her to what I do. After a couple of false starts blocked by poor weather or changing plans, things came together, and the same three models (Carol, Esme and Ingrid) joined me at the coast for a lovely, warm evening of making images.
Digital infrared original
Though we worked for two full hours, the most magical portion of the session was a feverous fifteen minutes working with a lovely rock formation and pool I came across during the second half of the session. The near perfect black circle in the pale granite rock was incredibly striking, and I immediately knew I needed to make an image of it - with a model.
Digital infrared original
After finishing a small series of images with Esme and the rock circle, I asked if the models would be up for working in the rock pool beyond it, and in moments, all three models were in the water, and getting comfortable...one by one I revised the poses they took, until all three came together. Then a few moments of held breath to still the water, and the 1.3 second exposure was made! By far my favorite image of the session.
Digital infrared original, 2 image blend, 3 image stitch
The final images of the session were made on a lovely set of water-smoothed rocks as the sun was moving towards the horizon. As the stones moved directly away from the camera, I asked each model to find a pose within the setting, planning to composite the final image together with the best of each model's poses. In the end, the poses had too many conflicts (bodies blocking other bodies) so the best outcome was of two Esme's, posing minutes apart, and only meter's away

July 30, 2018

Carol & Ingrid Return to the Coast (Polly's Cove, Nova Scotia)

Digital infrared original
Working with Carol and Ingrid has become something of a trend for this summer (this was our second session at Polly's Cove), which has proved productive, both in terms of making new images, and helping Carol, who is new to modeling for photos, gain experience with posing.
Digital infrared original
Though I did make images of each model separately, it is the photograph of the two women together which really engage me; after thirty years of working with the Nude, I have a plethora of images of solo models, but the chance to work with two models together outdoors let me build on a much smaller body of work.
Digital infrared original, 4 image exposure blend, 2 image stitch
The best image of this session came close to the end, as the sky became more dramatic with the lower angle of the sun, and the models explored the potential of a small tidal pool. As tends to be the approach, one model (in this case Carol) found a pose first, and the second worked their way into the composition, and completed the image. A wonderful end to a great session.