A winters tale…

A winters tale…

I NiallCWhelan_20141212_428-Editnever planned to subject a model to a cold shed this winter, but when Raphaella was in town, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see if outside temperature of 1˚c was going to render my studio unusable.

I think Raphaella is still talking to me:-)

Heater’s were used for a few hours before the shoot, and an over sized bathroom ensured a changing room at least was warm.  But the rest of the space (800 sq ft of it) was impossible to heat, mostly due to the height of the space and the fact that heat rises:-(

 

Maybe I need to put a Studio Insulation Project Fund request on one of those websites…

Anyway, even though the shoot was planned at short notice, I wanted to try something new.  I visited the Costume Department of the Abbey Theatre and took a chance that they would have some suitable costumes to try.  The theatre operate the hire service from a warehouse facility in Finglas in Dublin.  The amount of costumes available is enormous, but takes some time to sift through, even though they are all labelled in sorted racks and the staff are very helpful.  I could have spent the day there, but alas I had to work.  So rather hastily I picked up 5 items,  a period red dress, a ruffled pettycoat, a ballet dress ( at least that’s what we used it as!), a sheer black dress with gold detail on the neck and arms, a navy blue cloak, and a feathered scarf.  Quiet a random mix really!

Raphaella in Red
Raphaella in Red

Next, I borrowed a couple of hand printed backdrops from Ciaran Whyte (thanks Ciaran!).  Grey/Blue I thought would go well with blue outfits, beige to go with the red dress.  The backdrops are heavy canvas and after hanging overnight they had very few creases, which helped a lot post processing.

NiallCWhelan_20141212_292-EditThe shoot started after 3pm, so lighting was always going to be artificial.  I still have a lot to learn about lighting so this was going to be a much different experience for me in this space from the previous 3 shoots earlier in the year when I was able to mostly use natural light.

Another new addition was my recently acquired 70-200mm F2.8 VRII lens:-)  I used this for the entire shoot just to see if the space and lens worked well together.  The space is twice as long as it is wide, so doing full length shots across the space was just about possible at 70mm, which is really good to know.

Snow Queen
Snow Queen

Finally, taking a tip from a recent camera club talk by Lorraine Gilligan, I put together some mood boards to share with the model and also show the Abbey staff, so at least they knew I was not completely clueless about my intentions, which is what I’m sure I looked like.  Images were sourced on the internet and assembled into a sheet quickly using Photoshop CC – Contact Sheet II feature for convenience.

So now all that remained was to let Raphaella do her thing, and I was not disappointed.  From collaborating on ideas, to suffering in silence in the cold, hair and makeup, and a series of sets from Art-nude, ballet, and multiple costumes, it was quite a busy afternoon.

 

NiallCWhelan_20141212_77-EditSo I guess I can expect to be shooting over the winter, if models are brave enough to put up with some fresh Irish weather.