Yesterday, on a beautiful warm summer evening, I stepped into my car, put on the AC and went on my way to a park not too far away. I took my dog Nikki with me, as being outdoors in nature makes her a lot happier, then staying home alone. She might also come in handy for the activities that would take place later on. In the park I had a meet up with fellow photographers and a model (all colleagues of mine), for a photography session with the theme "natural light", organised by portrait photographer Simon Sutcliffe. When I arrived the group was complete and after a short walk we arrived at a large field with tall grass. Simon explained to the group the basics of how to shoot a subject in relation to the direction of the light coming from the sun, without using a flash or a reflector. Showing the effects when doing it wrong and demonstrating how to get it right. After this short demo the photoshoot started.
Our model (Andrea), who is also a photographer but volunteered to be our model for this occasion, was asked to walk further into the field and pose while Simon took some pictures of her. Other photographers joined in and got a change to give directions themselves so they could take the pictures they wanted to make. Simon helped and pointed out what they could do differently to get a better picture.
There where many bugs flying arround, which look like fireflies when shooting into the sun. Which is a nice effect. At one time I spotted something big and black on Andrea's lower back. I thought it might be a button, or maybe also not. So I asked Andrea if that black thingy on her lower back belonged there or not. After she spotted it, it turned out to be a large beetle, she swiftly swept it off, started laughing and said, "No, it certainly does not belong there".
The mood was relaxed and while some of us were taking pictures of Andrea, others watched or took pictures of Nikki (I said she would come in handy! ;-)). I also had a mini photoshoot with my long time model. I spotted some bike racks constructed out of wooden beams. So I tried to position Nikki at the start of this row of repeating squares, as that would make a nice frame. Which resulted in the picture below.
I said it before and realise it now, when processing my pictures, I really should work on my posing skills and learn from Simon by observing him doing his stuff. But sometimes nature helps in the dynamics department, by providing a gust of wind to spice things up a bit ;-)
After the photography session in the tall grass, we moved to a lane with trees on each side. Simon called this the tree hugging session. This location had nice leading lines and brought some relief from the burning sun.
First Andrea was standing with both of her feet on the ground. I took my first picture in portrait orientation and while I was wondering why this picture didn't quite work, Simon suggested to have Andrea put one foot against the tree. Of course, her feet weren't visible and that looks odd. Took the picture and indeed. Problem fixed! :)
Simon put his reflector cover to good use. First using it to scrub the tree, before letting Andrea lean against the tree (so she wouldn't get dirty) and later using it for her to sit on.
After we all had some shots at this side of the tree, I suggested to try the other sunny side of the tree.
We also decided it would also be a nice idea to try the reflector, to light up Andrea's face and to see if it's just as useful as its cover was. It seemed a good idea to try the warm golden side of the reflector, as it mirrors the golden light of setting sun. But it turned out to be too much. The only way these pictures could be used, was to turn them into black and whites. This feels like a waste of a good sunset, but the high key picture isn't too bad, if I say so myself.
We decided to go back to the high grass again to take some final shots, as the sun was getting really low and was disappearing behind the tree line.
Simon asked Andrea to walk and turn, to capture movement. Pictures that I didn't manage to take, as focussing with my (type of) camera on a subject that is moving towards you in low light, is quite hard.
After Simon got his shots, I took a couple of shots of Andrea standing still in the field. Which resulted in the picture below. My last photo of this photography event.
It was a great evening and as the saying goes, time flies when you're having fun. About 2,5 hours of shooting flew by. We laughed a lot, enjoyed the weather, took a lot of pictures and we were all enjoying the moment. Andrea did a great job as our model, despite being surrounded by a group of photographers and passers by looking at what was going on and sometimes even commenting. Also good work by Simon, for organising this event, choosing this great location and being very helpful in bringing our photography skills to a higher level. Looking forward to our next meetup
You can find the beautiful pictures Simon shot here: