A Windswept Raphaella
Has it really been almost three whole months since my last shoot? As much as photography is a passion/obsession of mine, I’m afraid it’s not my biggest priority, so at certain times, I unfortunately can’t give it the time I would really like to. Holidays, combined with a lot of business travel, work dead lines and pretty grave news on the family front have all conspired against me being able to plan or execute shoots. But this weekend past, I managed to find the time to travel to Portugal for a shoot with two models from the UK, Madame Bink and Raphaella.
It was a “bare essentials” shoot in that due to travelling by air and having restrictions on luggage, I travelled with just the bare minimum of kit. No flash (of any sort), no modifiers, no reflectors, no stands, no tripods… well, you get the picture! Coupled with this, the location for the shoot was also almost a complete mystery to me, having only seen a scan of a B&W photocopy of a sales brochure for the venue. Thankfully though, it all worked out pretty well
The venue was a “rural” hotel near the village of Fazendas de Almerim, about 70km or so north of Lisbon. The construction of the hotel was never quite completed (probably due to lack of finances), so it was empty and available to use at a really low price. The downside of the location was the fact it had been derelict for so long, so it was quite dusty, the grounds were over grown and full of weeds and the facilities weren’t great… but OH MY GOD THE LIGHT
The main attraction had to be it’s front facing veranda. It was almost totally enclosed, with a roof over it and large arched windows and a few arches/doorways. With the sun behind the hotel, this meant that the light pouring in from the windows and doorways was never direct, so was beautifully soft the whole day. The veranda also had a long tiled (and dusty) floor which was another feature in itself. The combination of the red tiled floor, golden yellow walls and beautiful light, made it a pretty irresistible place to shoot.
For the main shot above, we actually wet the floor down, washing the dust away but also changing the tiles into a reflective surface. Raphaella was then more than happy to sit and lie in the water (it was SO hot there… so any excuse to cool off), which was when I took this image. Technically it doesn’t get much simpler. Ambient light capture with light from the arch way as opposed to the window (so it was floor to ceiling light). I shot using my Nikon 70-200mm f:2.8 @ f4 and ISO400 @ 1/400. My shooting position was probably about 100 meters away, lying on my stomach, zoomed into 125mm. The yellow wall at the back of the veranda, acting as a reflector, lifting the shadow detail along Raphaellas back. The windswept look came from a lucky gush of air, captured because I was very much in machine gun mode
I’m honestly not sure when I’m going to get the chance to shoot next With the first anniversary of my brothers death fast approaching and news on the family front as grave as ever, I find it difficult to motivate myself into planning any shoots… certainly in the near future. On the plus side, I have close to 30GB of images from the two days in Portugal, so I should have enough photographs to work through and keep me busy over the coming weeks/months.
By the way, thank you to everyone that has kindly commented on two images to date.. I really appreciate the comments and feedback. It’s pretty rewarding when your images are so warmly accepted.