Jenna modeling in the woods on a small waterfall

Bear's Den - Getting Elemental

Towards the end of the summer last year I was getting antsy to take some more conceptual photos with models. Two of my friends, Jacqui and Jenna, both actresses, quickly volunteered and got excited about the photo shoot. They were most excited about being involved in coming up with a concept for the photos and exploring a new hiking spot. It was so easy to move forward with a plan with models as excited about the project as I was. We quickly researched and choose a location. We chooseBear's Den in New Salem, MA, somewhere we had never been before but it wasn't too far away with pretty waterfalls in the woods.

When we reached our destination we were surprised to find even more than we expected! We parked right off a main road and took a quick hike through some woods to a small clearing where there were a few steep paths that lead further into the woods. Once in the woods we found a stream on our right that wrapped around in front of us and to our left where there were large rock formations. By the stream we found the remains of an old foundation. Having planned our concept based on trees, rocks, and waterfalls without having prior knowledge of the foundation we did not include it but it was exciting to find more possibilities than we expected.

We walked around the huge stone formation by the stream and came to the waterfall. The girls started pulling out their dresses and showing me what the possibilities were. The concept we had agreed on ahead of time was elements and they had chosen their clothes with it in mind. We hadn't decided if our concept of elements would juxtaposed the natural landscape or match it. We started with both girls together in a shot each matching a different piece of the landscape, rock and moss. I love the the idea of this shot, but it was early in the day and we we're getting comfortable working together, just warming up. I'm not used to work with two models together either so these didn't end up being my favorite photos. I plan to challenge myself to work more successfully with two models in the same shot.

Models by mossy rocks and trees in the woods
Jacqui modeling by mossy rocks in the woods
Jenna Modeling by a small waterfall and rocks in the woods

Every where we turned there was something new to use for the backdrop of our photos and it was all very close together - we didn't have to walk or carry our things any further! I began to work with each of them individually, and while one was changing I would shoot the other.

Jacqui and Jenna got into it, deciding on their own to jump in the water to get the shot, pointing out to each other things to try or poses they've done before that might work, and when to hold a pose... they almost didn't need me! The lighting was a beautiful soft light, but it was coming from above the trees so to get the right lighting I often had to have the girl looking up especially as it got later in the day.

Jenna modeling by mossy forest floor and tree roots
Jacqui modeling on rocks in the woods

After we tried the group shot, I worked on a few photos with Jacqui that didn't come out quit like I'd thought, still warming up to the shoot, I'd say. We played with her green dress as almost part of the moss and tree tops but I wish I was just a little taller, I'm only 5'3", then I might have gotten the angle I wanted.

Then Jenna and I climbed up the steep hill next to the rocks we had just been playing on to shoot with some exposed roots. Jenna was wearing a red dress to represent fire and against the landscape. Complementary colors and the brilliant hue of the dress made for some striking images. Jenna ended up keeping the dress on for more than one shot. In these photos the destruction of some trees where the power of the roots still held it in place and moss and other plants flourished was a nice balance to the fire red of the dress, destruction to life.

Jacqui modeling on rocks in the woods
Jenna modeling in the woods by small waterfalls and rokcs

Jenna then jumped on top of one half of the water fall in the red dress and we took some awesome shots showing a lot of the landscape. Fire to water, opposite elements quite literally, but also using the movement and shape of the dress to match the soft organic beauty of flow of water against the harsh geometric shape of the rocks. These images embody a lot of what I love to do in my work, subtly juxtaposing different elements.

Jacqui modeling in the water by a small waterfall

Jacqui switched to a brown dress (one image above, more on my FB page: for more of an earthy dirt and soil element against rock and moss. Then she switched into a stunning yellow dress  like the light of the sun and we started playing on the rocks by the waterfall (image above) using the human organic form against the harsh geometric form of the rock, I'm seeing a pattern here. Then Jacqui took the plunge and lay down right in one of the falls like she was climbing up the falls. Here I snapped the only portrait from this shoot and one of my other favorite images. Green life and earth to Stone to Water and Sun. Jacqui also then jumped right in the pool of water above the second falls and we played with her dress under water.

Jacqui modeling in the water by a small waterfall

These are my favorite photos I have taken in recent times, they embody what I love to do with my work, I hope to show you more like this as summer begins, and put even more story behind them in the future. I'm sure you'll see Jenna and Jacqui again.

P.S. be careful carrying lots of things over rocks... I managed to drop my camera, no damage luckily!

Natalie modeling as a wolf in the woods.

Getting Wolfy in the Arnold Arboretum

My friend Natalie and I came up with this fun idea to play with doing a sexy wolf photoshoot where she was the wolf. On a brisk winter day we decided to drag ourselves down to the Arnold Arboretum and look for somewhere fun to shoot. We soon came upon what we affectionately referred to as a human size bonsai tree, I know we could have looked at the actual name of the tree, since we were in the Arboretum, but to us that was a what it looked like and that’s all that mattered. It was a low growing tree with lots of beautiful twisted branches. At this point we had only walked feet from the entrance we came in and decided we should probably see more options before we stopped so we kept walking.

Natalie modeling as a wolf in the woods.
Starting to get silly and figure out how to make a human sexy wolf pose in the woods.

The next place we came to we decided to play with some shots, it was already 2:30 and sun set was as early as 4:15 as it was early January in Boston. We found some cool jagged rocks and started playing around. The lighting was difficult to work with as it didn’t hit her face and while I love the rim lighting on her spirit hood, which highlighted the wolf well, it was easily blown out so I had to shoot dark and use a reflector and tree branches to hold it up. We used a stool to help exaggerate the size of her body and draped her fur vest over it. Here we got silly and played around with what worked and was wolfy but still human. It was a learning experience and we may repeat this shoot in different seasons… so stay tuned.

Natalie modeling as a wolf in the woods.

Natalie modeling as a wolf in the woods.

Natalie modeling as a wolf in the woods.

After we played by the rocks for a while we headed back towards the entrance and our bonsai tree. Natalie took a quick climb into the tree and found the one opening with beautiful lighting from the setting sun streaming through and I began working my way steadily up and down the hill by the tree as well as around the tree to get the shot from every angle I could. Playing with the composition of the shot with the different twisted tree limbs while she remained in a very similar position. When I had to chose my favorite photos it was a bit of a struggle as the lighting on her face was so beautiful. So I apologize if there are many similar shots :D

Natalie modeling as a wolf in the woods.

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