August 19, 2020

Jessica's First Session (with Company)

Jessica came across my work online, and got in touch about working with me. After a meeting to discuss the process, and what she was looking for, we set up a session date, which ended up being postponed, until this date. The upside of this is where the previous session would have worked out well enough, the revised date synchronized with low tide in the Bay of Fundy, so with Esme and Ingrid along for moral support (and extra models, if needed), we set out for the other side of Nova Scotia.

Digital infrared original

One of the first successes with Jessica was against a seaweed-covered rock. The evening light was so harsh that the shady side of the rock was one of the few spaces with soft light that had something for Jessica to pose with. It took some experimentation on her part to find a space that was both comfortable and generated a body position that was aesthetically pleasing, but after some experimentation, it came together and yielded a striking image.

Digital infrared original

As we worked our way down the shore, the sky above began to develop more and more drama, and I started to look for spaces where Jessica could pose below the sky. Once I found the perfect space (a rounded outcrop of rock overlooking the exposed shoreline), I asked Ingrid if she could show Jessica how she'd pose within the space (Jessica, being new to my process, welcomed the process); after, Jessica took up her interpretation of the pose, and I made a whole set of variations on the theme, with the above being the most striking.

Digital infrared original

As sunset drew nearer, we raced down the beach to a particularly interesting set of water-cut caves; with three models on hand, I couldn't pass up the chance to set the against the dramatic background. Posing three models can be a challenge, but with a separate rock under each, it was possible for the women to take inspiration from their individual spaces and find a pose that worked.

Digital infrared original

Shortly after the trio image, the sun bust from below the evening clouds, and flooded the rock with light; I asked Esme to explore the possibilities presented by one of the rock caves, and as she moved into it, I loved how the light caught her figure, and asked her to stop. While I normally avoid hard, direct light, in this case, it really played well against the deep black shadow of the cave behind.

Digital original, six image exposure blend

The last images of the session were set against the sunset; we'd already packed up and were moving back over the beach we'd photographed along over the evening. I was watching the sky as we walked, hoping the sun, already below the horizon, would under-light the wispy clouds, and provide some dimension to the sky. As things looked more and more like that would happen, I called the troupe to a halt, and rapidly selected a space to work in - a round rock set in a shallow pool seemed perfect, so Jessica took up the first pose. I had to work swiftly as the light was changing second to second, but ultimately I managed to catch the light. After three more model/pose variations, the sunlight faded off the sky, the horizon began to deepen, and we resumed our trek back to the car, and the long drive home.

All in all, a good session with a new model, and a lovely opportunity to make some great images with all three!

August 10, 2020

A Foggy Session with Ingrid

As this summer progresses, there are two overwhelming influences; COVID-19 is an obvious one, casting a shadow over everything. I'm fortunate to be in Nova Scotia, where (so far) the pandemic has been for the most part contained - but having a friend go onto a ventilator for close to a week made the risk all the more real for me. The second influence has been the heat; Nova Scotia used to be quite temperate in the summer, but increasingly, it has been shockingly hot...and this summer seemed to be even more extreme. For most of the summer, the sky has been clear, and the temperature (humidex, more specifically) well over 30 Celsius...in Halifax. As a result, almost all my photography has been at the coast, where it has been significantly cooler - and in the case of this session - foggy.

Digital original

This was the first foggy session this year (a couple of weeks ago there was fog at the end of a session), and it was really lovely to work with the soft palette that the fog provides. The first set of photos we made was on a split rock looking out to the open Atlantic Ocean - and the delicate colour of the rocks looked just perfect in harmony with Ingrid's delicate skin tones. The above image is absolutely my favourite colour images in ages - it just does not work in monochrome.

Digital infrared original

As we worked along the shore, there was an interesting challenge. Due to recent erosion, the beach I'd hoped to be working on was drastically changed, turned into a rocky shore, and ending at a severely weathered island. As the shoreline lacked any elements to take inspiration from, Ingrid and I turned to the driftwood and weathered trees high at the high-tide level, and spent a while blending her body with the lines of the bleached wood.

Digital infrared original

The fog that surrounded us for this entire session provided such soft, delicate light that it was hard to make a bad image; for so many sessions recently the evening sunlight has dictated what images worked and didn't, but for this session, there was a return to an emphasis on pose and composition, as the lighting was so even it was essentially not a concern.

Digital original

The last set of images were made working with some trees shrouded in old man's beard (Usnea). I have always loved the haunting look of this lichen, but only once before made image that blend it with models (in 2006). In this case, the soft light of the fog was perfect light for Ingrid, and when combined with the shallow depth of field of the 85mm f/1.2 lens, it created a moody, evocative photograph.

August 04, 2020

Hailey & Ingrid in the Waves

 The strongest thread to flow through my work in the past couple of years had been working with models and the ocean - specifically Hailey & Ingrid. Their comfort with working in the Atlantic Ocean off Nova Scotia has lead to making some really strong images, and the more I work withe the combination the more I come to understand what it is that draws me to it, and the better I can create images which relate that to the viewer.

Digital infrared original

As much as we had planned to work with the ocean during this session, we couldn't pass by a lovely rock pool. I'd worked in this space before with Carol & Ingrid, but this time, with direct sunlight, the space was very different, and created an image which in no way competes with the older composition - both work in their own distinct ways.

Digital original

 As we moved to working with the ocean proper, the real wealth of the evening began to reveal itself. The waves were breaking against the shore with great energy, which I was able to capture in the above image of Ingrid - it is important to note most of the chaos and spray around her is from waves breaking before or behind her...while she did get truly soaked, all the wave action that came in contact with her was quite tame, with the energy of the ocean already spent when it broke on the wave she was leaning back upon.

Digital original

A couple of dozen meters from the above image, Hailey and Ingrid posed on the edge of a rock which rose out of the ocean vertically; waves that stuck this rock broke almost straight up,which most of their power gone by the time the water rose high enough to touch the models...it was this upward throw of the wave which I sought to capture.

Digital infrared original

As the evening began to draw to a close, we walked further down the shore, seeking areas to work in. I saw this Hailey-sized rock and immediately thought it would be great to make an image of her with the ocean swirling around below. It took a couple of minutes for the waves to co-operate, but the final mix of the still pose and fluid water below is exactly what I sought.

Digital infrared original

The last images of the session came as the sun light the evening sky from behind the horizon; I asked Hailey and Ingrid to pose in the water of a calm bay, centered in the reflected light of the sky. It proved challenging, as there as only one rock for the models to perch upon, and after numerous experiments, the best images were of Hailey leaning back over Ingrid...yielding a composition just begging for a title or storyline.