After a teaser picture from this series generated some excitement on our Facebook page, I decided to make a blog post detailing how and why we made this set of imagery. Let me get the fact out of the way that our model for the day, Camryn Little, brought an intensity and imperviousness to the cold water, wind and wet concrete while we were shooting that allowed any of these photographs to have. Thank you for your talent and professionalism Camryn!
The question for the day then is why make this series of photographs. First, it is a technical challenge to expand my abilities as a photographer. These shots were staged in a controlled wet environment where I can safely and quickly gain specific knowledge in how to light and expose in a wet situation in the future. My hope is that in the future I will be ready with my underwater housings to produce these type of photos in “the wild”, but seeing as how I live in the desert climate of North Austin the chance to practice is slim. And believe me, I am constantly checking the weather forecast for daytime rain storms to photograph in nature with models on standby. The main technical challenge is how to make a dramatic portrait with raindrops/water hose producing wetness that destroys electricity powered devices, namely cameras and flashes. We overcame this by shooting on my backporch with flashes in waterproof otterboxes and our big light far enough away to be out of the “thunderstorm”.
The second reason is the one I find more interesting, the reason to make images like these is because they get in my head and I can’t shoot anything else until I purge them from my system. Ideas for my creative shoots infect my brain like a fever and can even cloud my vision of other projects until they are photographed and edited. On shoot day the camera feels lighter, the lights seem brighter and nothing will get in my way. The whole reason I picked up a camera in the first place was to tell dramatic stories and share them with my friends. Creative shoots like “Soaked” are the natural adult extension of my barely post adolescent impulses. Why do you pick up a camera?
The last reason is produce new work and expand on past work. I have photographed couples, models and sea monsters underwater but this seemed more intense and edgy in a way. The technical skills gained in shooting underwater helped me immensely in this project. There are also strains of my recent restricted light work at play here. The water and tight lighting merged into a new category for myself that I am hoping to continue to push forward with in between the client work that we have on deck for this spring. I am looking forward to an upcoming couple underwater session that pushes my engagement session portfolio in new directions as well.
For those wanting the full tech specs of these images. LP 160 with a “Just Blue” gel to camera left and above with a ziploc bag cover at 1/1 or 1/2 power. Another LP 160 at 1/2 power in an otterbox on the floor pointing up towards the models chin to open up the shadows a bit with a 1/2 CTO warming gel. The main light is an Einstein 640 with a sport reflector and 15 degree grid at 1/4 power. My exposure was something like f/18 at 1/320th at iso 100 with a 70-200 f4L lens. Let me know if there are questions I can answer.
Thanks again to Camryn for getting Soaked! and to my assistant Austin for manning the water hose/collander/twilight cup station.