Into the night

Posted on Friday, May 18th, 2012 at 9:24 pm

We met at a metro station shortly after diner.  Abla and I wanted to do another shoot ever since our last collaboration.  After a few times talking about it, now was the time.  Abla was looking for something a bit urban casual fashion; I was looking for something with a rougher attitude.   We both wanted to have a dramatic sky such as the one we got last Fall so we needed an overcast sky and a sun setting down.  There were no reasons we could not do everything in one shoot.

We headed to the Parc De La Cité Du Havre in Montreal and parked right under the overpass.  Abla went quickly through a wardrobe change on the back seat while I made sure no curious eyes would be trying to peek on her.  We grabbed more gears we would ever need and started walking into the park.  The timing was just right but also very tight.  It was almost 7pm and the sun, hiding behind the clouds, was already on its way down.  I got one flash up and being so close to the water and exposed to so much wind, using any modifiers was simply asking for disaster.  I was not too hot about the idea of shooting bare bulb but when I saw the umbrella starting to open backward, my gears started to matter to me.

Abla was wearing a very summer looking outfit which had a very nice flow in the wind.  We needed to work fast.  As the light was fading, I kept using more flashes.  Turned out that maybe I did not bring too many gears after all.  I started with my usual 1 light setup, then added a 2nd flash on my right, a bit lower than the 1st one on my left to bring a bit more light under her bangs and finally a 3rd light behind her because she was losing herself in the background.  When we were done with the 1st location, it was still too early to head back to the truck so we moved to a bench area, squeezed a few more there under the eye of the picnicking parties in the grass next to us.  Eventually I came to the conclusion the mix of very dark background and the flash that I could not bring the power low enough to work with the necessary high ISO was the end of this location.

We got back to the truck and got through the 2nd wardrobe change which was totally different.  When she got out of there, Abla reminded me of Jessica Alba in Dark Angel.  She was all black wearing, except for her scarf.  The wind was still very present but being close to the remaining gears in the truck, I had access to all the heavy stuff I would need to get the stands vertical.  I only used 2 lights at the most during the shoot as I wanted to keep the gritty look of the concrete background.   I used the Alien Bee with the Westcott Apollo 28 along with a small 36 inches umbrella lit by a Canon 540ez.  The sad part was that the lot was packed; limiting a little the entire look I was going for.  I ended up using mainly only the Alien Bee with the Westcott to get a darker look and above lit feel.

Through the shoot, I unhook the flashes on occasions and got ambient light shots which turned to give an entire feel.  All photos we backlit so heavy compensation had to be done with higher ISO and slower shutter speed.  Same principle went for both setups, cityscape and concrete backgrounds.  Doing so means some compromises are made and you have to be willing to commit to them.  I knew when I engaged in that route the end results would be totally different from the rest and I was looking forward to that.

I am really satisfied with this shoot.  It was my 1st time working in that location.  I had been there a few years before and I was hoping it would still be as I remembered the place.  Abla was once again incredible and I had a blast being able to work with her once more.  She has a great presence in front of the camera and adequately adjusts it as the light and backgrounds were changing.  This is a great feature for a model.   This shoot lasted about 2 hours, from dusk and into the night.

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