Gold in the Cold

August 9, 2017

When we arrive back in Canada in April, the weather on Vancouver Island is, to say the least, unpredictable.  You might get some comfortable, warm days, but you can also experience rain and even strong storms.  That makes it rather difficult to plan outdoor shoots that rely on good weather.  However, the creative urge requires that you take risks!

One year earlier, I had started to work with Kirsten as a model, and both of us looked forward to exploring many ideas.  Life, however, has a way of interfering with plans, and that year was one of major change and stress for Kirsten.  We tried many times to pick up the photo series, but it wasn’t until my return that it became possible.  So, whatever the weather, we were going to make this session happen.  The intention was to play off the theme of wild and extravagant makeup, based on use of gold leaf.  Yvonne stretched herself to play with this medium and transform Kirsten into a fierce and glamorous woman of mystery.

The day arrived, and with it very strong and cold winds, along with a threatening sky.  Not an ideal environment for a shoot, especially by the exposed shore.  We did get to shoot with the light dresses we planned, but first, to warm up, we started with Kirsten wearing a winter anorak!  Incongruent though it was, the resulting images looked atmospheric.  Right by the sea, the wind whipped clothing and hair, but to great effect in some of the images.

Back from the beach, the wind was more manageable, and we switched to a brighter dress to contrast with the emergent reeds and remnants of dried grasses from the winter.  Changing gears, we then retreated to a sheltered forest for the last section of the shoot.  The challenge here, as with all forest based shoots, was dealing with the light distribution.  For the most part, light in a forest setting is very vertical and green which, without the right poses and choice of positioning, can be exceptionally unflattering.  In this instance, the flatness of the grey sky and lack of shadows made it somewhat easier.  Even with the shelter from the wind, however, the damp cold oozed its way into Kirsten and as signs of blue entered her skintone, I realized it was time to stop.

In post processing, I worked to neutralize the background colours, while preserving and enhancing the warmth of the makeup and the second “sun” dress.  I’m happy with the result!  Here is a selection of images from the shoot.