September 09, 2023

25 Years of Working with Ingrid (and perhaps our final session ever)!

This session was a special one on three levels; it was a celebration of working with Ingrid for more than 25 years, it was our last chance to work together for some time (or possibly ever) as Ingrid will be moving away shortly after the session, and finally, it was a victorious session that yielded some incredible water images that add to the already voluminous body of work we had made with water to date!
Digital infrared original
The plan for this session was wildly different from the results; wearrived at the beach stupid early (having got up at 5:30am), expecting to photograph in the pre-dawn and early morning light, only to arrive at a coast socked in with fog. Not wishing to waste our effort, we walked down the beach, and eventually found a location that resonated, and we made our first set of images of Ingrid on the edge of the beach, where a river flowed out to the sea. This created a sharper-than-usual slope to the beach, which made for an interesting space. As the light was soft and even, there was no sense of time-of-day, but the results were pleasing, none-the-less. There is something rather magical about the ocean disappearing into a wall of fog in the distance.
Digital infrared original

After we finished the images on the shoreline, Ingrid and I moved to working further inland with some long beach grass and dead trees. Combined with the mist this was a very evocative location to work in. Using my 85mm lens and the largest aperture (f/1.2), I was able to separate the tree Ingrid was standing against out from the background, and create a really moody composition. I often avoid using infrared on overcast/cloudy days as the skies just go featureless white, but in this case, it suited the composition.

Digital Original

The real focus of this session was a set of images of Ingrid in breaking waves. I made more than 2,800 of these, taking advantage of the camera's high frame rate to make the most of the fleeting moments presented by the setting. Ingrid and I have worked with water since our first session 25 years ago, and it has always been a theme that have flowed through the images we have made - but working in breaking ocean waves is something we have only attempted a couple of times. Of those sessions, this was by far both the safest, and the most successful. Unlike previous sessions, where Ingrid was once picked up and moved by a wave as it broke over the rock she was posing on, these were low, rolling waves that broke around her figure, as opposed to picked her up and moved her. Because of the persistent thin fog, and as we were located on a series of low sand bars out from the shore, Ingrid and I were able to work for close to an hour uninterrupted, as dog walkers and morning beach-explorers walked past hundreds of feet away, on the beach proper. If we'd had our initial hope, of a beautiful bright sunrise, the images this session yielded would not have been possible.

Digital original

For over 45 minutes, Ingrid and I explored the potential offered by the waves; time and again, we made image sets (at 20 frames/second) that didn't pan out, with waves that either failed to materialize, or were lackluster. However, for each handful of image sets that didn't work, one wave would shine through, and create images that were really pleasing, making the whole process worthwhile. In the end, I kept 27 images, literally meaning the keepers were 1 in a thousand...but the volume was worth it for the split moments that were available for selections. With the shutter speed at 1/3200 or faster, every motion is frozen, creating image that are a marked contrast to years of working with fluid, motion-blurred water!

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