Girl in the ferns

You can tell she’s good because she was looking at me without recoiling at how revoltingly nervous I was.

Today I managed to go out in the woods and take a picture of the super delightful Amanda Mags.  I have many things to be proud of from this shoot, and to my surprise, the biggest thing isn’t “Go for an outing with someone in Nanaimo and not have the police say I have to ‘get this person home immediately.”  Though it’s still up there.

The key things that please me are as follows:

  • I was shooting with a stranger, which meant I got a chance to communicate more, and blow past most of my social anxiety
  • I absolutely MacGyvered my lighting setup for the situation
  • I didn’t look over the pictures after and scream to the clouds about being a hack.

I was thinking about this shoot for almost a week, as I’d sussed out Morrell Nature Sanctuary on the prior Monday, and decided that was where I wanted to do things.  There was one spot in particular that I liked on that walk, as it was in the woods with enough clearing in the trees for the sun to break through and provide a nice golden rim-light, while there was a decent opening on the other side of the canopy to give a soft even lighting.

My desire to get a nice natural light area stemmed from my genius idea of bringing 3 strobes on my trip, and no modifiers.  Not even mounts to put them on a stand or a tripod or anything.  Literally just the strobes without a single bell or whistle.

As I spent the week circling the weather reports like a vulture, going so far as to compare from three different sources in order to find one more agreeable to what I wanted, I finally came to accept that there was a good chance I wouldn’t see another sunset like that, and that most weather networks just always say it will be nice 2 days from now in order to inspire hope.

We had committed to this afternoon barring any horrible weather issues, and while the morning was a promising partly cloudy, things got covered up by noon and it was clear I would have to figure out something so I could use my strobes.  Early suggestions included a translucent tarp for diffusion, and zip ties to secure the strobes to something.

I know myself well enough that I can play out what would happen if I met a girl out in the forest with zip ties and a tarp in my trunk.  Any explanation that would sound good in my head would not translate well, and I’d deliver a gem like “No no don’t worry, these are just the tools I use so I can… enhance you.”

I needed something much less sinister.  Luckily my parents had just the thing.  Bedsheets and dog leashes.

Bedsheet hanging by dog leashes

Still weird, but it should keep me off any watch lists.

One flash bouncing off that might work as a key light.  Worth a shot.  Still needed something for the fill, though.

For the fill, I went with a foldable lawn chair and a big piece of white poster board from the Dollar Saver.  I just leaned the board against the back and had a flash sitting on the seat pointed back.

The light sources were both coming from some pretty low angles, but I’ll be damned, it worked!  Thank goodness, too.  The clouds just got thicker, and reached a point where I was getting very risky with my shutter speed to get enough ambient light in.

Other than the clouds, things went very well.  Amanda was pleasant and easy to work with, the lighting worked out, and I don’t remember saying anything super embarrassing.  Also since I had my coat on, the mosquitos couldn’t get at me.  I hope she felt the same (Aside from the last part.  I know the last part was a victory for me only)

This was one of my favourite shots from the set today.  I had my 24-70 f2.8 on, and was shooting at 1/30 of a second at f3.2, and ISO 400.  I had my Leash-Blanket to the left of her, and my Lawn-Board to the right.

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