Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it. —Lao Tzu
I think I mentioned something yesterday about going to McCormick’s Creek State Park and playing in the water. We showed you pictures of the waterfalls, the kids frolicking, and one very cool old man. I know most of you missed those pictures, so you can look at those later by clicking here.
What we showed yesterday wasn’t the only set of pictures we took, though. I was looking through the files last week and noticed that Kat hadn’t been in front of the camera at all this year. Here we are in June and not once have we managed to get her to sit even for a light test. What photographer doesn’t take pictures of his own fiancè? We needed to fix this problem quickly.
So, as we were packing clothes for the kids, I tossed a swimsuit at Kat and suggested, “Why don’t you toss this under your clothes and we can get some pictures of you in the water while we’re there?”
Okay, so maybe the swimsuit was just a little inappropriate and revealing to wear in a place likely populated by children other than our own. Our kids don’t even notice when Kat is looking hot; they’re rather used to that. Other people’s kids, though, might have wondered where the rest of her swimsuit was.
Kat knows how much it means for me to have pictures of her, though. She found an acceptable substitute and off we went.
Most anyone who has shot outdoors with me knows that I typically carry two non-camera related items in my camera bag: duct tape and petroleum jelly. Uses for the duct tape are innumerable; one never knows when they might need to fix something, fasten something, or patch a hole. The petroleum jelly is a bit more specific, though. I use it not only because it causes water to bead on the skin, but because it acts as an insulator against the cold. For some stupid reason, I left the petroleum jelly sitting on my desk.
Have you ever tried standing in cold water? Have you ever tried looking any way other than horrified as hundreds of gallons of cold water came crashing down onto your head? Have you ever tried to sit on a rock while your entire body is trembling from the cold and attempt to look sexy?
Those are the things I asked Kat to do. The task wouldn’t have been nearly as daunting if I’d brought the petroleum jelly. Kat would have barely noticed the temperature of the water at all. I left the petroleum jelly sitting on my desk, though. There was no protection from the cold. She did the whole shoot anyway. She gave me a mean look more than a few times but she did them and the resulting pictures are perhaps the strongest set she’s done since we first met.
One of the challenges of shooting in the water like this is that in order to get that silky look to the waterfall, I need a slow shutter speed. A slow shutter speed with a model means that she has to take a pose and not move. Go ahead and try to not move while standing in cold water, especially after your body is completely wet. Oh, and add a nice breeze on top of that. A bit of wind feels good when you’re warm and dry, not as much when you’re wet and cold. Kat had to call on the discipline instilled by her Marine Corp training to keep getting in that water and holding poses for several seconds at a time, not flinching, until I got the picture I needed.
Have I mentioned that I have an awesome fiancé who loves me very much?
Did you know that waterproof mascara doesn’t necessarily hold when being assaulted by hundreds of gallons of water?
The challenges to this shoot were considerable. Not only was the water cold, but Kat still had to keep an eye on the kids and keep an eye out for anyone who might cause problems and help me avoid falling on the slick rocks. I’ve not even tried standing in water to shoot for the past three years. We had to exercise much more caution than was previously normal.
What ultimately matters, though, are the pictures and I think we captured some great ones, despite the cold water. I like having Kat in front of the camera. Next time, though, I’m bringing the petroleum jelly.