There’s a phrase in the UK ‘Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey’, where the balls in question are cannonballs on a ship in the 19th century. The phrase refers to very cold weather, and normally I don’t shoot outdoors in the colder months, usually hibernating between October until April when I catch up on editing and printing images. However, when the very persuasive Aurora/Poetic Minx came to visit she insisted that we shoot outdoors. She lives in Australia, and visited the UK last July, but sadly our schedules didn’t match up. So over she came in mid-January, from an extremely warm Australia to a rather freezing UK.
One of the benefits of a sunrise shoot in Winter is that sunrise doesn’t come stupidly early, which was very fortunate when the location I had selected was a 2 hour drive from home. We arrived at the car park in the Peak District around 8am, and it was zero degrees centigrade (ie freezing!!) in the car park, which already had a couple of cars in it. We trooped up the hill to the stones that I thought would make a good set, and we were fortunate that there were very few other people about.
When working with a model outdoors my method of working is to keep the model clothed while I work out the compositions, make sure the appropriate lens is on the camera, and do some test shots to check for exposure and to show the model they picture space they will pose in. This was doubly important when the temperature was now around -2 degrees, with a bit of wind to give a wind chill factor as well!
We worked very well as a team, working in short bursts Aurora was able to disrobe quickly, do lots of great poses, and quickly get dressed again. I was pretty freezing so I can’t imagine how cold she was, both with the cold wind and the cold rock to pose on. I do take my coat off when the model is naked to at least give myself some indication of how cold it is.
Here’s some of the images, I’m very pleased with them, and I was extremely impressed how she managed to pose completely ignoring the cold.
After shooting, and before going to a nice warm studio in the afternoon, we went to Grindleford station cafe for a well deserved breakfast. They have bench tables, so you share with other people, and the chap sitting next to us, who was there with his daughters, was most curious about us. Eventually we came clean and explained what we had been doing, and I showed him some images on my Android tablet which I always carry with me for this purpose. They were very surprised and impressed, and Aurora did lots of selfies with his two blonde daughters, and then as it was his daughter’s special birthday, I was asked to take the birthday group picture outside, which I did. Hopefully they’ll read this blog post and smile :)
Many thanks to Aurora, both for persuading me to go outside my comfort zone and shoot in the cold, and also for such an enjoyable and productive day. More outdoor shots and some from the much warmer studio to come in future posts.