June 18, 2021

Ingrid at the Coast

As soon as the Provincial COVID-19 restrictions permitted, Ingrid and I set a time for our first session of the year - Ingrid and I have worked together since 1998, and it cannot be overstated how influential our long term collaboration has been on my work.

Digital infrared original

The opening images of this session were made in some high shore-grass, taking advantage of the back-lighting, and continuing the revel in the delight of working with the new mirrorless IR camera; being able to both see the exposure before making the image, and have active, accurate auto focus really makes the camera a delight to use - and over this entire session of hundreds of images, I had not one error in focus!

Digital original

I'd expected this session to focus on infrared images of Ingrid posing along the cost, taking inspiration from the waves that were hyper-charged by an off-shore tropical storm, but that approach was just not working. The direct evening light provided too much contrast for the infrared camera to handle, and the results just looked too harsh. I switched to my colour camera, and used an ND filter (a Vizelex ND Throttle lens mount adapter) to slow the shutter speed down to 4 seconds. Ingrid was more than able to stay still for this length of shutter speed, and it took a hash and chaotic ocean, and gave it a little softer edge. The low, direct sunlight was still a challenge to work with in regards to the pose and composition, but in contrast to the infrared, the shadows could be opened up in post-production, providing a more pleasing balance to the composition.

Digital infrared original

After we finished working by the shore, Ingrid and I walked inland a bit, to finish the session working on the granite bedrock and erratic that make this part of Nova Scotia so distinct. I switched back to the infrared camera, as by this time, Ingrid's skin had several areas with obvious rock-marks, which would mar any colour images. The contrast still presented an issue, but with careful attention to composition and pose, I managed to make some really pleasing images, including the above.

A reality of working with the someone for over twenty years is that at a certain point, the question of "have we done it all" begins to loom in the background...but this session laid that to rest for now, with dramatic emphasis. After we'd agreed the session was done, and I was packing my gear, Ingrid cocked her head. looking up at a rock we'd been working besides for the past thirty minutes. "Why not climb up and see what you  can find?" I suggested...and then, as she clambered up, to took up my infrared camera and looked through the viewfinder. The deep blue sky behind Ingrid and the rock provided an elegant gradient backdrop, and as Ingrid and I refined her poses, a powerful, majestic image was created.

Digital infrared original

Ingrid's comment on this photograph, when I sent it to her after the session, was the highest compliment she'd ever given - "While being heroic and lovely in form, artfully framed etc, the image shows more of my inner self than just about any I've ever seen."

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