Ever since I moved back to Michigan after graduating from Hallmark Institute of Photography I’ve wanted to do a portrait shoot in Ludington, Michigan. I’ve always loved the beaches, the gesture of the reeds on the dunes, and Ludington’s historic buildings and lighthouses.
iPhone shot of Cassi at the North Breakwater Lighthouse edited using VSCO
Last Thursday one of my favorite models, Cassi, and I headed for Ludington to shoot some new personal work. I brought three cameras with me. An old 35mm Minolta Maxxum M7000, an iPhone, and my workhorse camera the Nikon D600. I still have yet to develop, or even finish shooting for that matter, the rest of the roll shot on the Minolta. We showed up far before sunset so we’d have time to location scout. While location scouting, I shot several interesting sights around Ludington on my iPhone. I actually shoot far more on my iPhone than I do with my professional camera, the Nikon D600, probably because I always have my iPhone on me. One of the first locations we checked out was the North Breakwater Lighthouse. I shot several iPhone images for reference. I honestly don’t ever remember tacking this picture specifically. The micro-compositions in this iPhone shot still fascinate me.
Another iPhone image taken on the beach while location scouting and edited using VSCO
Ludington as several stunning murals, like this one. iPhone image edited using VSCO. The rest of the images in this blog post were shot with my Nikon D600.
Next we headed towards Big Sable Lighthouse and shot several images on the beach overlooking Lake Michigan. Prior to this shoot I’d looked thru my older images and was looking for areas in my work that needed improvement. From examining my older work I found a lot of my images looked very still and lacked gesture. My main focus for this shoot was obtaining images that emphasized gesture. I’d also noticed that many of my past images tended to be very low key, so I took the opposite approach with this shoot and shot mostly high key images. We shot a variety of images some with flash and others with natural light. Cassi’s renaissance garb really helped add to the images. I personally love the ambiguity in these shots. Cassi’s clothing and the vagueness of the setting don’t fully tell you who or where she is. I think that makes them more intriguing.
Next we headed back to Ludington to do some shots around town and near the North Breakwater Lighthouse
This first shot was taken in the park next to the North Breakwater Lighthouse. It is light with my Alienbee B1600 and is simplistic and low key like much of my older work. I also was drawn to the texture in the big craggily trees that make up the background and foreground in this image.
Sometimes you take a shot that is such an epic fail it is almost commendable. The sync cord is perfectly lit and cutting directly thru the model’s face. I laughed after seeing this image on the back of my camera.
I love the graphic shape Cassi’s hat made in these two natural light beach shots. Removing the color helped make the shapes more distinct. I like to add a slight warmth, via split toning in Lightroom, to my black and whites. It seems to make them more inviting.
In this last image I wanted Cassi’s hair flowing in the wind to add gesture, and I knew Cassi’s reddish hair would beautifully pop off of the blue backdrop of Lake Michigan. Shooting up close with a wider lens, 28mm, helped add to the depth and expansiveness of Lake Michigan in the background.
I had a amazing time photographing and spending time one of my favorite models, Cassi Gross, last week. It is always a blessing a to be able to spend time with and photography her.
Graduate from the Hallmark Institute of Photography and recipient the Highest Academic Honor.
Published in several magazines including Shutterbug, Digital Photo, Outdoor Photographer, and PDNedu.
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