These photos are from a shoot I did in September on Shellrock Mountain with a hiker that I happened to meet on the trail. The flat spot the model is sitting on is actually an old stone roadbed that is now covered with moss and grass. It is a slowly-vanishing remnant of the first road through the Gorge circa 1850 and is often called the Old Military Road. To me, it looks like it was built by the Romans, although I suspect they would have done a better job. It's amazing that this small section still exists.
The lighting can be very tricky here. Direct sunlight is pretty harsh so I prefer to wait until later in the afternoon when the site is in shade. Of course that means the background, Wind Mountain on the Washington side, is still in full sun. I decided to do something unusual for me. I used an on-camera speedlight for fill, to balance the light on the model with the light on the background. You can see the intent in the first photo, but notice that the speedlight is aimed a little high.
I clicked the strobe head down a couple of notches and things looked better.
We got quite a few nice images using this setup, when I realized that the speedlight was not keeping up with our pace. About every fourth shot, it wouldn't fire, resulting in pix that looked like this:
I wasn't upset, because we still had many great shots, but during post-processing I decided to see what the latest version of Lightroom would do with this. I used the adjustment tool with "automask" active, to brighten the model and the foreground. This quick and dirty result is somewhat surrealistic, but I kind of like it. With my previous cameras, brightening the shadows this much would have ruined the photo, but with the 5D Mark 3, I still got a usable photo. Isn't technology great? BTW, the lens is the jack of all trades Canon 24-105 at F/4, which is why the background is blurred just enough to give an impression of distance.
This photoshoot location can provide several different "looks" depending on direction and background. In this photo, we are still looking in the same direction (West) as the other photos, but the background is made up of shaded grass and dark trees. The lens is the Canon 85mm 1.8 at 2.5, ISO 200, 1/125. I used some yellow and red fabric under the model in an attempt to counteract the blue and green light from the trees and sky. I'm not sure I like the result, what do you think?
I'm a big fan of the 85mm 1.8 for the great bokeh it produces. For non-photographers, bokeh refers to the nicely blurred background. Ideally, the model remains sharp which helps to separate her from the otherwise distracting background. Some lenses do this better than others. This was shot at F/2.2 for those who keep track of these things.
Did you catch my little fiction at the beginning? I'd love to be able to say that The Gorge is populated by beautiful nudist hikers, but sadly that is not true. The model is known as True Rebel and if you want to work with her you can find her profile on Model Mayhem. And I see she now has a fan page! She really is a fantastic model to work with. Shoot her if you can!
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