History is much easier to write in the past tense. Sounds obvious, but I mean that events that leave a mark often do not seem so until reflected upon after the fact. I left off in yesterday’s post at what turned out to be a turning point for me, though I didn’t know it at the time. As the middle of March 2010 arrived I knew I was really frustrated after dealing with some personal issues and a lot of canceled or flaked shoots over the last months. So these three shoots The first of those three ended up postponing until the following Sunday putting all three shots over the course of a single week. That week turned out to be a large step into my current photography.
First of the three came Ms. Rebel, a fairly local model out of Knoxville. It’s the only time we worked together and honestly it wasn’t my most inspired shoot since I was coming off such a long gap. If I’m honest I don’t think I really expected her to show up until I got a text from her that morning that she was on her way. I hadn’t planned a lot for the shoot, and didn’t have a great plan before she arrived. I played it by ear and was nowhere as good at that as I am now. Overall though we had a good shoot. Working with her helped me get back into the routine and thought process before my later shoots that week. The photo below is of her amazing seascape chest tattoo. It’s still one of the best works that I’ve seen.
Originally I had two shoots scheduled for the late in the week, one on Thursday and the second on Friday. A week or so before the shoots the Thursday model asked to move our shoot to Saturday, which turned out to work better for me so I ended up with Friday and Saturday shoots.
The Friday shoot came with Laura New. We headed to a place that’s become one of my favorite shooting locations over time. I’d hiked there a time or two, and the thoughts of the locations to photograph held great possibilities in the late winter/early spring transition. Having not shot nudes outside before, we began with some work with her in a white dress. The photo below of Laura on a rock next to a small rapid was my favorite of the shoot and a print of photo hung on my wall for a time.
Laura was really the first time I’d photographed a model outdoors for a lengthy period of time. We got a lot of good images that day. It was early enough that while some green showed,much of the bare winter landscape still prevailed. In spots there was a lush green carpet of plant life, but feet away would have passed for mid winter. Another shot I like from this shoot is this one of her posed on a tall rock. You can see some greenery jsut behind the rock, but the trees in the background are still bare.
The shoot made for a long day, but a good learning experience. I learned on the fly to balance the changing natural light and a model both in outfits and nude. We worked in a number of locations, each a little different. Not all went well. We were caught by onlookers once with her nude, and almost caught several other times. As it ended I walked away happy with the images and feeling I’d learned a lot in a short period of time.
I also remember being completely exhausted and sore when getting back home at the end of the day. I’d started hiking the year before, but done little over the winter undoing much of that gain of endurance. I spent much of the coming summer slowly getting back into some shape. Now I do longer hikes than that day carrying more weight just to unwind after a hard week. You can also read a post written nearer the shoot along with a second with more photos.
Saturday came the last of these three shoots with Melissa Troutt. I’d worked with her once several years before when I just started out. After she arrived we had a wonderful artistic click almost from the start. She seemed to understand what I had in mind and how to help get there. We did a little indoor work before heading out to a location because of concerns about the weather. After the day before, I chose a less ambitious hike for this shoot. We made a short though slightly strenuous trail that ended with of a wonderful waterfall. We got to the waterfall, but started in the area around it. This early photo from that day still is one of my favorite photos that I’ve taken of Melissa.
I love the expression and pose of her on the log. I remember enjoying the way she got involved in the shoot, not just reacting, but looking for ways to make better photos. We only worked the one spot around the falls, but there was plenty of variety for a long shoot. We didn’t end until we were stumbled across by some surprised onlookers. Again no problem, but with that and the lowering light deep in these woods, we did wrap up the shoot. The biggest lesson of the two days I learned the lesson to be more careful in the future was learned.
Another shot of her on the falls itself. Posts and photos posted nearer to the shoot can be found here and here.
The experiences reworked my thoughts on photography. I felt energized and ready to work harder to get better. This blog began to become more active after those shoots. I still had a number of flakes and cancellations over the next months, but more good shoots. Somewhere along the way I began to feel like I had an idea of what I was doing and began to wnat more. I already could produce good photos with models as experienced and talented and Laura and Melissa, but began to get better results with everyone. In retrospect I think that the end of 2009 and early 2010 was a dip, a sort of plateau I had to get across to get better and start getting the results I wanted. Thanks to Ms. Rebel, Laua, and Melissa, I did get there to where I couldn’t imagine the last few years without photography.
This was the only time I worked with both Ms. Rebel and Laura New. Ms. Rebel appears to no longer model. Laura still works, but I think no longer does nude work like that here. Melissa and I have worked together many times since this shoot, and I’ve come to see her as both a muse and a friend.
Tomorrow to wrap up this week I’m going to take a look a bit further back to 2006 and one of the first real shoots I had with professional models and wrap up this little series.