June 27, 2020

A River Session with Esme (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, Esme and I decided to try to work in an inland river; we'd worked there two years ago, and at the time, Esme 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 Esme 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 Esme 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.

Digital original

As the session progressed, Esme and I slowly moved up river, but realistically, I doubt be moved more than 30 meters over the entire session - leaving lots of the river to work with on other sessions. The real reason for this low progress was how perfect conditions were. The water temperature was lovely, meaning Esme could stay in poses for extended periods while I explored visual possibilities from all angles. a luxury I don't always have when working with the Nude.

Digital infrared original

The last images of the session were quite different for me - I seldom include the forest around the river in the images I made of models in water. It was a little challenging to make the images with the lenses I had (this is the first session in ages at which I wished I had my 17mm TS-E lens, which would have been the perfect lens for the above image.

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

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