Sunday, 20 September 2009

Faerie in the Glen

I like to try a little bit of everything in photography, so a couple of months ago I signed up to, a networking site for models and photographers. I made a few contacts quite quickly, but I never did anything about it until I was on holiday this week.

I decided on a whim to take a trip up to the Highlands, specifically the Moray Firth near Inverness, since it's supposedly a good place for dolphin-spotting. It also meant I could contact Zombie Sazza, an Elgin-based model and rather fetching redhead who'd joined MM about a month after me, thereby letting me combine two photo-sessions into one trip. Despite the last minute arrangement (I'd only given the poor lass two days' notice), we were able to work something out: I'd travel up the next day and scope out a good location, we'd meet up on Friday for the actual shoot, and then Saturday would be free for the sealife.

The dolphins themselves proved to be a no-show, but everything with Sazza went swimmingly. We headed for Fairy Glen, a woodland area on the outskirts of a wee village on the Black Isle called Rosemarkie. The Thursday recce had confirmed it to be a great location, aside from the small problem of it being a popular haunt with local hikers and dog-walkers. There were a few occasions when my muse had to leap from her spot and grab a bathrobe, but although one elderly lady gave Sazza a good old Puritanical glare, we mostly only had to deal with puzzled expressions and the occasional wry smile.

I'd been a bit nervous in advance--'twas my first one-on-one modelling shoot and my first nude photography too--but it worked out fantastically well. It was Sazza's first time doing a "pro" shoot too, thought you'd never have guessed since she was so relaxed and easy to work with. The water was freeeeezing, but she could still hold a pose so well that I could take 1/4-second long exposures without any problems. We took pictures in the pond, beside/in/halfway up/above three different waterfalls, and along the stream where the light was best. On the trip back, we also nipped into a freshly turned-over field just outside Inverness (there were hunners of them), and captured a few of those old nude-reclining-against-haybales classics.

There was a moment during the day when Sazza had just finished a particularly tricky pose, clambering halfway up a waterfall to stand on a ledge while the rushing water acted as a flowing backdrop. When she was back down, I showed her the images on my camera's LCD to make sure they were OK. "You know," she said happily as she looked at them, "I think this is one of the coolest things I've ever done".

What a really, really great day.

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