Earlier in the year (yeah, it’s taken me this long to get around to posting these), A. and I went on a little trip down the Great Ocean Road. Just past Anglesea is an attractive rocky spine of a headland, at low tide surrounded by sandy flats. The rocks themselves have been weathered by salt, wind and water, and are riddled with holes and dimples, full of character.
While I was framing some beach shots, A. climbed up behind the outcrop and found herself a little window in the rock to peer down at me. The location appealed to me, so I let her pose while I fired off a bunch of frames. I was really pleased with the outcome.
There’s a number of things I really like about this shoot (aside from the fact that I happen to like photographs of my lovely wife ). First off, I find the interplay between organic and inorganic really appealing- hard, lifeless rock versus fluid, living being. And yet despite this contrast, A. fits really well into the hole, and the shape of it seems to compliment her form in it.
I was using my 16-35mm wide-angle lens, usually a no-no for portraiture, as it tends to distort features unnaturally (especially up-close, where it can make noses bloom and hairlines recede). However in this instance, I kept really close to the rock but not so close to my subject, A., who stayed in the middle distance (which for that lens is about 5-10 feet away). The effect was to keep A. fairly well proportioned, but blow the rock right out, filling the frame, stretching it and (at closest range) blurring it. Oddly, this actually gave the impression of movement through the image, and making the frozen twists and boils of the rock appear fluid, another nice contrast. With A.’s hair catching a sniff of sea breeze, it gave an overall impression of motion and dynamism to an otherwise static scene- almost like a breaking wave frozen in time.
This next shot I like for the sheer fun of it. Again the wide-angle lens has played its role here, overemphasising what’s close to the glass and throwing all else into the distance. A.’s hand and arm are large, almost claw-like as she crawls out of the rock, and she seems disproportionately large compared to the rest of the scene. At the end of the day it’s just a fun image, brought to life by the distorting effect of the wide glass.
This next one I enjoy for the way the rock hole seems to mold to A.’s shape, framing her in a sliver of burning white. The different elements- blue sky, hard rock, fierce backlight, and A. herself, all contrast and yet work together to hold the image in a way I find very satisfying. You can see some lens fall-off in the bottom left corner, further developed by the shallow depth of field, which is a bit of a shame, but doesn’t rob the overall effect in my view.
And this last one would have to be my favourite of the bunch. In part because it’s just a lovely shot of my favourite person. But I also like how natural it feels, very comfortable and unstaged. I’m also very chuffed with the lighting and how it all came together. Shooting portraits contre-jour (into the light) is usually a challenging proposition unless you’re good at using fill-flash (something I’m still learning). The camera tends to overcompensate for the light behind the subject, darkening the face/body of the person you’re shooting, often to oblivion. Because the backlight was only a small portion of the frame here (A. and the rock both served to block most of it out) there was enough light on A. to keep her well lit and visible, with only minor tweaking in post-processing. The result, she looks like she’s emerging out of the sunlight, while the way her hair blows out to white and the frame of the sky behind her has a halo-like effect [avoid angelic references here]. All up, one of my favourite photos in recent times. But then I confess the subject leaves me a little biased…
As always, thanks for swinging by, and hope you enjoyed.