I've been a bit slack regarding my blog entries, forgive me! I have been in hibernation somewhat, but like the wild animals, I am emerging with the spring temperatures. Today was quite warm, though many parts of Ontario were under rain and wind warnings, with gusts of up to 90km/h possible. It was incredibly windy, the rain did indeed pour down, the sky was foreboding and dark, and I knew it was the perfect day to go outdoors and photograph myself enjoying the beach. Wait... what?
Oh yes, the conditions were perfect. Late afternoon, the rain stopped, the sun almost peeking through the gloom, and the moment had arrived. For some time I'd had this idea for a self-portrait in which I'm standing on the lakeshore, painting parts of the scene before me in my signature bright colour and ethereal mood, while leaving some of the image darker where my brush has yet to touch. I wanted to convey how I create my own worlds in my photography, not necessarily the world everyone else sees, and how I love to 'paint' my images to my particular liking and style.
I quickly donned several layers of sheer skirts and lingerie, hoping not to freeze, and then threw a warm poncho overtop for the journey to the shore. I bundled up my two little assistants, after they also put on their own flowing dresses for fun in the wind. I was going to need my older daughter's help to ensure my timer and shutter kept going and to help me back up the loose stone embankment between takes - this was going to take a few shots to get the pose and composition right! I adjusted my camera settings (for those of you who love the numbers, those were F8 at 1/160, ISO 200), threw off my poncho, handed my daughter my glasses, and scrambled down the tumbling rocks to pose at the water's edge.
I wanted some powerful winds to billow and blow my clothing and hair; I had visions of yards of colourful drapery expertly floating behind me as I, paintbrush in hand, perfected artistic strokes across what would later be a painted sky. The reality was a lot of hair going into my mouth, a lot of breaking up wrestling matches between paintbrush and silk, and a lot of unflattering poses captured as I struggled, somewhat successfully, to keep an elegant composure. The wind very much wanted to snatch away my luxurious Shovava scarf. In any image where you can see my face, I look either dejected or murderous. This shoot might also work for a swamp creature sort of thing. Anyway, I finally decided I must have at least one shot worth using, so I packed up the crew and we went home. Checking the images on my computer screen, I was relieved to find I had a couple of decent prospects for editing.
After selecting just one image, I used Lightroom to edit for colour, contrast, and all those little details, and then switched over to Photoshop to paint in the different sky. I used parts of another photo of mine with clouds, and also hand-painted with chosen colours, for the brush strokes of beautiful blue sky. After careful tweaking and editing, Voila!: my original vision is somewhat realized. Close enough. As artists, we are always hoping out next piece will be the really great one! I hope you like my attempt; I'm pleased with the results, and that's good enough. Cheers!
(Information regarding Limited Edition prints for this image can be found here.)