Monday, August 31, 2009

Blythe at a Crombie McNeill Workshop at Balderson

I know I said I would finish the Mill of Kintail images before starting the Balderson images, but I took a moment to look them over and was immediately smitten with my results. These are really interesting, especially when presented in an edgy black and white.

Blythe was the first model I shot, along with a couple of others, and I went through my entire shoot of her and processed what I can for this blog. The lingerie stuff will eventually go into my portfolio, when that exists :-)

Meanwhile, we started in the front room that I blogged in that F70EXR post yesterday. I selected a head shot (which has been my trademark so far) and processed it in color, a kind of soft look. The look I have enjoyed refining over the first few workshops.

That's not a bad looking image, but let's face it ... seen one, seem 'em all. Make a nice portrait perhaps, but is far from a journalistic look. No edge. I went on to other images at this point, but came back at the end to try it again in black and white, and this is a much better image in my opinion.

These were shot near the rear window, and we asked her then to open the window and put her hand on it. I have perhaps 30 variations of that series, but this one if my favorite.

Once we had exhausted that window, we moved her to the front window and placed a wicker chair there for her to pose with. She really knows her stuff and put her feet exactly right without prompting.

After a while, she tried putting one foot up on the window sill and I shot an image of just that. Looks great in a print, as does the above.

While I was shooting details, I also shot her legs separately. This also makes a nice print.

Note ... if the legs look so light that you can barely see them, consider checking your white point and gamma. Your monitor may need calibrating.

After this position was tapped, we asked her to stand against the left hand (west, I think) wall, which had an interesting sign on it. I shot numerous images of her top half and I shot one image of her legs. But that enabled me to put two halves together for this image.

Here's another head shot, this time lit from the left.

She performed the classic skirt grab and I liked the pose I caught ...

And that ended phase 1. I shot the other three models over the rest of the day and then got back to shooting Blythe in lingerie with less than an hour left. We were back in the front room with Blythe, and you won't see many images on this blog. Just the ones that could have been shot in a dress.

A note: I fought my equipment all day long. I like to use the 70-300VR, a consumer lense with superior sharpness. But it is slow, f5.6 wide open at 300mm. This makes it nearly impossible to get sharp images in light like we shot in all day. So I ended up bouncing between the 28mm, the 50mm and the 105mm primes ... it drove me batty. (I tried the 18-200VR, but one image convinced me that it was a really bad idea.)

This shot happened when I was changing lenses and almost dropped the cam. I grabbed it by the shutter button and the cam fired off. This may be my best image of the day ... Crombie saw a print of it and agrees.

At this point, I have two images that should be acceptable but which I have sent to Crombie for approval to post. It's not that they are risque and I think they show Blythe in a beautiful light. But they are very unusual angles and I want to make sure that there is no way to misinterpret them.

Edit: Blythe has given me permission to post these specific images, so here they are. I really like the unusual angle.

After that part of the series, we shot Blythe near the rear window again, and I took the opportunity for some interesting head and shoulder images. These two blew me away when I was finished them ... they so remind me of an album cover from the 60s.

And the finale is an image shot through the window while she was being photographed from outside the building. I cropped to one pane wisth and added lots of grain .... this again looks like an album cover from the 60s ...

I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to shoot Blythe at these workshops. I hope she makes the trip back to Ottawa now and again for future workshops.

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