June 23, 2020

A River Session with Hailey (South Shore, Nova Scotia)

This session was intended to be a follow up to the first session of the year, but when I arrived at the coast, though it was hot and sunny in the city, it was foggy and cool. After a short discussion, Hailey and I decided to try to work in an inland river; we'd worked there two years ago, and at the time, Hailey was a little disconnected from the experience (preferring the ocean), but she'd decided it would be good to revisit the whole "river thing", so off we went.

Digital infrared original

I've worked in this location since 1996 - in fact, it was the first place I combined the Nude with water in my work, so it has long been a creative touchstone. The river level was lower than usual (by about 18"), but that provided a number of lovely locations for Hailey to pose in. The first set of images were made with the camera on the shore, but within about 10 minutes of the start of the session, I was clambering around in the river, working closer to Hailey with wider lenses, and enjoying how that opened up the compositions.

Digital infrared original

The light at the river was absolutely perfect - by the time we arrived at the river, a low, thin cloud had rolled over the sun, providing soft, even light throughout the session. Bright, high contrast sunlight is challenging to work with at the best of times, but with water and river settings, it is particularly challenging. The added advantage of the soft light was it made it very easy to reach longer shutter speeds when combined with neutral density filters. For the entire session I used 1.8 filters (64x darker), which provided me with shutter speeds between 1.3 and 3.2 second - just perfect for the look I sought.

All in all, the session was lovely, with some striking images being created, and Hailey thoroughly enjoying herself.

June 18, 2020

The First Session during the Year of Covid-19 (Atlantic Coast, nova Scotia)

COVID-19 caused Canada to shut down; on March 22, 2020, Nova Scotia declared a State of Emergency, Several weeks earlier I began winding down my courses, buy from March 22 until June 18th, social distancing was the requirement, to protect people against the virus. One June 18th, however, the provincial government unexpectedly announced that groups of up to 10 could meet, without social distancing. As it happened, I had already arranged to work with Hailey on June 18th...initially for a "socially distanced" session...and now, for a session! The first time I'd make new photographs in months.

Digital infrared original

The first photographs of the session were made in a small water pool a little in from the coast; the evening was on the cool side, so Haliey's thought was that the small pool of dark water would be warm enough to pose in. Moments later, she was exploring the possibilities. The light worked well with the pool's orientation, and we made a small series of images with a variety of poses and lenses.

Digital infrared original, two image blend

The coast was where we spent the rest of the session, starting with a set of images created with Hailey  posing on some large granite boulders. My favourite from these images was made looking straight into the evening sun. I took the composition inspiration from the shape of the rock (with the left and right bottom of the frame defined by the rock. I made the finished image by combining two images - one with my fingers blocking out the sun and preventing flare, and one with the flare busting across the frame...a careful blend of the two creates the final image.

Digital infrared original

As we worked on the shoreline rocks, and she explored pose possibilities, Hailey arched back between two rocks split from the same massive boulder, fitting her body to the gap in the rocks - which was both comfortable and beautiful. I made images of this pose from numerous different angles, and with three different lenses, but the above version is my favourite. The lack of context, with just a sea of rock around Hailey gives the location some mystery, and the reflection of the pose in the rock is something I always enjoy in my work.

Digital infrared original

The last images of the session were made with Hailey modeling in the ocean. The most unexpected success one was a candid image I mad as she was adjusting to the water - Hailey looked away from the camera for a moment, and I managed to make the above image. In the end, the evening was just a little too cool for Hailey to do any serious posing in the ocean, but her enthusiasm was palpable, and the short water modeling at the end of the session just whet her appetite for more, in future sessions.