Saturday, March 23, 2024

MC winter photo session

There I was on Thursday, working on an essay for my other blog (on the drought and the price of water) when I got a text from Michelle, my favourite model, and best run and swim buddy ever, if you haven't been following along in the other blog for the last decade or so. 

She said, 
"I have a photo shoot idea… Might you be curious? I would love to capture a photo in a snowstorm in all black-and-white. Me wearing black, the white snow swirling around and in the background, and just have my red hair being the only thing that’s coloured in the photo. Maybe lipstick to any idea how to technically accomplish this?"

Well, holy doodle! Photographers live for such things. I nearly sprained a finger typing yes. We texted back and forth a bit and it turned out she also wanted to show off a corset she had made. Duh!

1. Here's one of the last photos.

As an aside, it's been snowing off and on here for the better part of a week, so the odds of at least some snow swirling around were pretty good. I was hoping for some big fat fluffy flakes gently drifting down, camera on a tripod, for a slightly long exposure to increase the swirl effect. Or maybe an HDR of 3 different exposures, maybe merged, maybe not. Plus the snow covers all the ugly half melted ground.

We both had things on Thursday afternoon. My eyes are good, thank you very much, only a small change to the astigmatism part of the prescription. I might not have needed new glasses, but these are 3 years old, and the coatings are starting to wear off. Plus there's a sale in April. I digress. She had a thing Friday morning.

We met up about noon, so less than 24 hours from idea to making it happen. Never let it be said we are sloths when it comes to a great idea. There were a few more ideas generated. Her skirt had an interesting pattern on it that I wanted to try to capture. I can see it in Lightroom, not so sure if it will show up here. I had figured out a location and we were off. It wasn't the snow we dreamed of, but it was off and on. You can see the flakes in some of the photos. The overcast skies and snow created wonderful soft light.

We started on the path at the south end of my neighbourhood, on the edge of the hill going down into Fish Creek. I wanted an uncluttered white background to show off the black and red. We had fun trying different ideas just to see how they would turn out. Some worked well, some not so well, but that's the fun of collaboration. One of the things I love about Michelle is that she can project so many different moods, fun, joyous, serious, sultry, mysterious. I can make up a story, and she can project the image. 

Just so you know. Michelle is a real woman of an age to be thinking seriously about retirement. Her skin has tried to kill her at least once that I know of. A Photoshop pro could smooth out her skin and make her look like a teenager, but we both wanted the photos to be of her, not some fanboy Photoshopped version of her. Neither are were we trying to look like the cover of some fashion magazine. They have what I consider to be normal editing in Lightroom and nothing more. The trickiest thing was tweaking the sliders to affect how the skirt pattern would show up. 

The main point was to have fun and and with a bonus if we generated some images that we liked. Both of us are really pleased about the whole thing. You can get Michelle's perspective on her blog here. I have to say I'm enormously flattered.

2A. Yes she is enjoying herself, trying to create a swirl of snow on her own.

2B. Same photo converted to black and white, just because.

3. It wasn't actually that cold out, so no, she's not freezing her shoulders off.

4. You might be thinking indoors, against seamless paper, but no, outdoors. See above.

5. We moved down into Fish Creek, thinking about picnic tables, a bench, and a bridge. 

6A. She found these trees and they turned out to make a great frame.

6B. I decided to try this one in B&W as well.


8.  We spent lots of time with the bridge and nearby bench.





13. She had just refreshed the hair dye and wanted to show it off. Other than slightly tweaking the white balance, I've not adjusted the colour at all. 

14. I liked what the skirt is doing here.



17. These two didn't know what to think. We had a few other passers by during the session, with one woman watching for a few minutes while her dog did it's business. 




There are many more photos, of course. I didn't want to overload this post, so there will be some showing up in the Of the Day section in posts on my other blog

Technical end notes. I started with the 100 mm lens because I was thinking a static portrait at first. Then we realized we wanted the freedom for her to move around a bit, so I switched to the 70-200. No tripod, no HDR. I'd even brought a film camera with colour film in it, but once I got started I didn't even think of it. Much like the double exposure session a couple weeks ago, this was NOT a serious gig, working through a shot list for a paying client, with makeup artists, assistants, and entourage standing there watching us, checking the time because they get paid by the hour. Mostly it was us making it up as we went along. The important part was to have fun exploring an idea, and we did, and I'd do it again, using some of her vision board photos as inspiration. Yay us!

1 comment:

  1. I think the collaboration between the two of you is great.


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