Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A New Project (sort of) and a New Model

I managed to get my 2nd shoot of the "summer" last weekend. Alija Whitebird Pure Spirit  and I connected on Model Mayhem and when I provided her the link to my current projects, she was eager to participate.  We had originally planned to shoot on Sunday, but other commitments proved to difficult to manage so we both bit the bullet and decided on a very early morning shoot at Dragonfly Landing with my new project, Sword & Chains, on Saturday morning.

Since it's a 45 minute drive to the shoot site and she had to be back home for another shoot before 1 pm, I met her at 7 am and we were off to shoot, arriving at Dragonfly Landing shortly before 8 am. Unfortunately, despite the weatherman's assertions to the contrary, it was cloudy at quite cool when we arrived. Despite that, Alija was more than willing to change into the very skimpy chains, grab a sword and walk with me down into a heavily canopied glade to take on the role of the Raven Warrior. Within minutes her teeth started to chatter and not long after that she began to shiver. Still game, however, she pressed on and only took breaks to wrap up in a thick robe when she could no longer control the shivering as she posed.

Fortunately, our gracious host and the property owner soon joined us as a photographer's assistant and he was able to provide Alija with a large cup of hot tea, which helped immensely. We shot for the better part of two hours in the cool and shadowy glade and made some amazing images. Alija has only recently started modeling, but she certainly pulled of some great poses and wonderfully expressive looks.

We had one other set of chains we definitely wanted use in a shoot, so we relocated to a different part of the property to get a different look for the background as well. We were going for a dreamier look in most of these shots, and once again the model pulled it off with grace and charm. Dragonfly Landing has many lovely little areas in which to shoot and I'm fortunate that the owner is such a good friend who allows me to shoot there with so many different lovely models.

For the dreamy look of these images, I used my Canon 135mm f/2.8 with Soft Focus lens. I was shooting wide open, and at the maximum softness settings I was getting some wonderfully dreamy images. One feature of this lens that works particularly well with these costumes and props is the way it renders the specular highlights from the metal chains and swords.

Alija was absolutely gorgeous in these lovely chains, and the background really contributed to the dreamy feel with its moss covered rocks and tiny white flowers. Alija happily climbed over the rocks, knelt on the damp ground, embraced the large trees, and let the long stemmed plants tickle her bare skin in order to get the shot. I was quite impressed with her willingness and enthusiasm during the entire shoot. She's informed me that she wants to be a part of my The Fae in Us All, my Sword & Sorcery, my Women in Chains, and my Barefoot Glamour projects as well. Sounds like a fun summer of shooting to me.

Since we had a bit of time left, Alija wanted to shoot in a final set of chains I had mentioned to her. I had hoped we would be able to shoot with this costume because I hadn't had much of an opportunity to use it in previous shoots. The heavy brass chains require a particular physique and skin tone to look right to me. I had used them once before on a model with pale skin and a softer build but the results disappointed me. The results with Alija did not.

The brass worked well with her skin tones and her smaller, harder physique made a better contrast with the larger pattern formed by the draping chains. I posed her on a small boulder between to very large trees, used a gold reflector to cast some sunlight onto her upper and used a large aperture to blur the background into a dappled pattern of light and shadows.

In all, the shoot more than met my expectations and as we left Dragonfly Landing I felt quite satisfied with both the new project and the new model.  Alija expressed her satisfaction as well and was as eager as I was to see the results from our shoot.

Here's a final image for your enjoyment. Alija sure enjoyed swinging the swords, and this Skull Katana fit her hands quite well.

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