Right as Lindsay was dropping me off on the night of our most recent shoot, we both talked about how we wanted to get together and do a stylized shoot. I didn't think it would happen as soon as it did. After I returned home from Newfoundland I received a message from Lindsay, she had an idea. She messaged me a ton, and I mean a TON, of photos she had pulled from Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration. That same week Lindsay and my Girlfriend Kali had gone to lunch to discuss some details on Kali's website she's starting and some other stuff involving the female photography/creative community here in Halifax. So it only made sense to have Kali come too!
We wanted to take a different approach on this photoshoot. We had ideas of things being a little bit moodier than last time. If you haven't seen our other photoshoot it was shot on a old train bridge and in a field of fully bloomed apple trees, not really a moody setting. At this point we knew we wanted a field that was relatively close to larger body of water. The idea was to have her eventually be swimming in the water. Fully dressed. We planned to go on this out of city excursion on the weekend.
Friday came and Lindsay met Kali at her place. I followed closely behind, taking the bus from my house Downtown. We then proceeded to head towards the Truro / Enfield area. We had no specific destination. This tends to be how I do most of my shoots. I usually have a rough idea of the location, but I always have 1 shot in my head that dominates the end location. It happens all to often when brainstorming for shoot ideas. Ill get an exact image in my head and then the shoot is then geared towards getting that exact shot. With that being said, almost 90% of the time the shots that lead up or follow that said shot turn out to be way better. This day we were at the mercy of my predetermined shot idea.
I have to give Kali and Lindsay credit, I must have shot down at least a half a dozen or more locations along the way before we found the first place. I don't think I would've had the same patients! We ended up turning around at this Church in the middle-of-nowhere between Enfield and Musquodoboit. It had this long driveway with trees and grave stones on either side. What made us stop wasn't the Church itself, but the field behind the trees surrounding the property. After parking the car I set out to find a way down into this field.
Behind this Church, as I mentioned, was a sparse collection of trees surround the outline of property. Through these trees however was this field that was untamed. Natural, with only a small little section maintained for access from the road. It was perfect for what we had in mind. The only problem with this was where the field met this tree line there was this old barbed wire fence. It reached from end of the field to the other. Luckily for us, there was a small section that was mounted to a uprooted tree and a post that rotted out. This made the fence pliable and I was able to get it lifted high enough that the girls and myself were able to safely make passage through.
At this point the sun was little to bright to get the moody look we were looking for, but we would have to make due. Lindsay had gone through the effort of making a bunch of props (Not to mention doing her hair and makeup). Her mother had some dried flowers that she was going to throw away andLindsay being the creative being she is repurposed some as a headdress and the rest she mixed with some wildflowers to make a bouquet. So at this point there was no backing down.
While I was away in Newfoundland I realized I could use my 50mm F1.4 I thought would no longer work on my camera body. So in light of this discovery, I didn't use anything but my 50mm. We marched around the field, looking for the best angles. It really pays off having 3 creative minds in one place. We were all making sure to point out things while we started shooting. Whether it be things that would look good incorporated in the photo, suggesting to shoot towards the sun, or one of us noticing something off with the wardrobe. It definitely made things easy.
After we spent some time messing around with the light rays peeking through the tree we decided to move closer to the woods. I wanted to use the trees to help frame Lindsay. I figured I could stand her in between a couple or have her walk passed some. However as we got closer to the edge of the field, there was one tree that started to stand out. It wasn't with the rest. It got brave and wandered into the field alone, leaving the rest behind. This immediately became our next point of interest. There was one branch that was leaning low. It was within reach of my hands if I stretched them upwards. This low lying branch coupled with the tall grass surrounding the base of the tree made for a perfect frame. From here we had Lindsay pose in different places around the tree. Then, I decided I was feeling adventurous and I would do my best monkey impression and started to climbing this tree. I climbed with purpose. Getting to a great vantage point where I had an outlooking view of the field, but also had a clear view directly beneath me. I had Lindsay pose in a few different areas beneath the tree before Kali directed her out into the field ahead of us. I was able to capture what I think was one of the best captures of the day
If that wasn't one of the best then the next few definitely were. After I shimmied my way down this tree, we decided we had what we needed from the field. We started making our way to the far left hand side of the field to steal some of the fading light before leaving. To our surprise, there seemed to be a road that led right down to the field we had so cleverly got into. It turned out that we made all that effort for not. Not only was the gate open, but this way was actually closer to the road then how we entered. It wasn't all bad however. We quickly took note of the old farm gate and used it to help fill a couple more shots. Like I said a few seconds ago, these may be a close runner up to the shot above. I wanted to take advantage of the angle of the sun, use it with purpose. I was able to get some really wicked sun flares. I finished off by getting some accent shots just of the dress before we decided to head out.
Once we finished playing with the sun, we hopped back in the car. Frantically searching the surrounding area for a body of water that would work good enough for the vision I had. We were at the mercy of Google Maps. I am still not sure how we ended up where we did, but Google Maps somehow had us on ATV trail in poor Lindsay's little Toyota. We braved this trail until it got to the point where it didn't make sense to go any further. After some quick maneuvering I was able to get us facing in the right direction and found us back on the "Main" road. To be truthful the roads, when you get into these areas of Nova Scotia, are no better than some of the ATV trails.
After getting off the ATV trail, we continued our search for a body of water. At this point it was nearing 830pm and the sun was nearly setting. We were in a race against time. The vision I had was to have Lindsay in her dress floating in a lake. The problem was the only lakes near by were too far off the road to make it with such little light left. So we compromised, settling for a slow moving murky looking river. There was a service bridge that crossed over this murky river. From here I was able position myself to get the shot I was hoping for.
After a quick wardrobe change, we coaxed Lindsay into the water. I don't blame her for being weary of the near tar black coloured water. That being said, she was committed to the vision. We both knew how great this shot would look in the end. This is the kind of trust you start to build with people you regularly shoot with. Sometimes posing in a certain way, or being asked to go into a relatively dirty looking body of water can seem foolish, "Theres no way this will look good..." definitely would be likely to run through someone's head when you are shooting with them for the first time. Luckily Lindsay and I have gotten passed that point and she was getting in the water now without hesitation. We spent as much time as the light game us, trying a few different angles. At one point I got her to submerge herself fully.
In the end I didn't end up getting the shot I had envisioned, but instead we came away with many shots I am proud of. As always it was pleasure working with Lindsay and I was grateful to share this time with my wonderful Girlfriend Kali.