The Big Kat

In my last posting, I wrote about and included some photos of my trip out to Utah to photograph the model Tamara. Today it’s my turn to write about my photo shoot near San Francisco with Kat Love. I last worked with Kat back in 2004 at Joshua Tree National Park and it was good to see her and work with her again. Kat’s a big girl – six foot two – and now that she has some hair on her head (which she didn’t have before), I guess we can add a little more to that height.

I didn’t rent a car in San Francisco, so Kat was good enough to pick me up at my hotel and drive me to the locations at which we photographed. (I did pay her for the cost of gas and tolls.) We had chosen to go to two spots in Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge north from San Francisco.

Our first destination was the Muir Woods, a very beautiful place with huge redwood trees. I’d wanted to visit this spot before but never made it, so this was a good opportunity to finally get there. As we were doing this on a Saturday, when there would likely be a great deal of visitors (it is a popular place, and justifiably so), we chose to go here first.

Kat picked me up at my hotel at 6 a.m. so we were able to get there before 7:00, at which time we didn’t really see anybody else around. I pretty much worked with one eye on Kat and my other eye on the lookout for other people, but fortunately, we were able to work relatively undisturbed for about an hour and a half. I had thought that we might have to go off of the main trail (which people are asked not to do) to have some privacy, but that really wasn’t necessary. All of our photo spots were right next to the trail.

Eventually, inevitably, more people kept arriving, so the time finally came to pack things up and head back to the car. On the way back, I passed a very interesting set of wooden stairs built into the hillside and would have loved to have photographed Kat on them, but there were just too many people around to do so. I made some photos of the stairs with my big camera all the same, but hopefully if I make it back I’ll make some photos there early on while I still can!

Next, we drove up Highway 1 to work at a small, rocky beach near Stinson Beach. I think Kat said this beach is called Red Rock Beach, but I gave it the name “Mussel Beach,” as there’s a sign by the path down asking people not to disturb the mussels that are growing there. Kat said that this is understood to be a nudist beach, but most of the people we saw were rock climbers, I think. (Sounds like a good place for Tamara, who I wrote about last time – she can combine naturism with rock climbing.)

The weather, as it had been at the Woods, was a nice overcast, which yielded beautiful soft light, and I think it helped me to make some good images with Kat. (You can see some of the snapshots I made with my pocket digital camera in both locations here.) Sadly, just as we began the long, high climb back up the parking lot, the sun came out and began to heat things up! Just another hazard of being a photographer, I guess.

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In other news, I’m continuing to develop film. I’ve decided to alternate my figure work with the photos from my trip to Asia, so I’ve taken care of six rolls from Laos, along with three rolls each from my photo sessions with Tamara, Carly Champagne and Maria Eriksson. Three more from Laos should be coming up next.

Earlier today, I also decided to replace my photo editing program, Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0, with a newer version, Photoshop Element 4.0. I’ve had the new program for a while now (I think it came with my new scanner), but I was reticent to make the change as I feared I might not be able to figure out how to use the new version. Today, though, I gave it a try, as I read that the new edition is a major upgrade over the older one, and I figured that Adobe would no doubt make it very simple for users of the older program to understand the new one. Right?

Well, as it turned out, wrong!!! I uninstalled the old version and installed the new one. The first thing I noticed was that I could not see two or more images together on the work screen at the same time – making it difficult to compare images side by side. I also tried to overlay one image onto another using the Layers function, but again, I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Certainly, it didn’t work doing it the way I did it before – as this way requires both images to be up at the same time, which the new version doesn’t allow.

So, after trying several times to get it to work (I use this function to add the black border around my images), I decided to throw in the towel and gave up. I uninstalled 4.0 and re-installed 2.0. While the new version may do more things, I really don’t need all of that stuff. All I need is a basic image editing program that will allow me to crop, adjust for contrast, dodge and burn, etc. These are the kinds of things that I can do in a darkroom, and I’m not really interested in fancy ways of digitally doctoring things up.

Most importantly, I need a program that I know how to use, and right now, I haven’t got the time to figure out how to use a new one when I understand the old one and it works just fine.

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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3 Responses to The Big Kat

  1. Nice photos of Kat, a model with whom I’d love to work one day. And you shot in locations that have been on my list for some future California trip, so I’m not a little envious. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love these new Kat photos! Great work by both of you. I shot Kat on that same beach a few years ago, but I had harsh, direct sun to contend with and so I didn’t get nearly as much fine work as you have obviously achieved. Way to go. I hope you said hi to Kat for me…

  3. Thom says:

    Why do I read blogs? I am living vicariously through the writer’s life. Is that good or bad?..hmmmm Regardless, I am enjoying so keep posting Dave. Great stuff!! Maybe one day I’ll…………

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