For someone who calls photography his “primary avocation,” as I often do, it’s somewhat remarkable how little photography I actually do. You would think that I’d be photographing all of the time, or at least on a frequent and regular basis, but to put it simply, I hardly ever pick up my camera.
That’s not to say that I don’t work on my photography frequently. In fact, I wish I had a lot more time to do things like scanning negatives, editing and printing. Those post-production activities are what take up most of my time devoted to photography. Actually going out (or staying in) with the camera is only the first step in a long, time consuming process, and it’s that lack of time which, in part, accounts for my limited camera time. (Another factor is money – or the lack thereof – and the cost of travel, film and processing.)
Still, the time does come around now and then when I do use my camera to take photos. For my travel photography this year, it was a day walking around in London with my Holga, followed by my three week trip to China last month. For my art nudes, though, I had only gone out to photograph with one model for a couple of hours – until last week, that is, when I actually had not one but two photographic events.
One of them was a continuation of my 20th anniversary celebration around Woodstock, New York, last year. The location where I photographed the nine models in the water had a lot more photographic possibilities than I was able to take advantage of last year, so I decided to try to go back there with some of the models from last year.
I did indeed go back this past weekend, but I had another photo event early last week thanks to a visit to New York from Johannsdottir, a model who I had worked with in her native Iceland on my trip to that country in 2014. She and I – along with one of her friends, Evyenia Karapolous – ventured out to meet Nadine, who had come with me on my trip to Iceland, and a day of photography with the three models followed.
For the event in the Woodstock area, I asked Erica Jay and BlueriverDream to join me, as they were with me there last year and had expressed an interest in making a return visit. I had also asked another model from last year’s event to join me, and though she agreed, she unfortunately had to drop out for personal reasons at the last minute.
It was therefore fortunate for me that Johannsdottir had also said yes to my invitation to come along. Besides being a very beautiful and very good model, she was making her first visit to New York, and I wanted her to see some of the beauty of the State of New York’s rural areas in addition to the urban sprawl of New York City.
As to how the trip went, we left Brooklyn on Friday morning and stopped to make some photos at a location north of the city. By the time we got there it was the middle of the day, and it was a sunny day at that. Contrary to what many people think, sunny days are not good for photography – at least, not for photographing models in a forest when the sun is high. I was fortunate enough to have some clouds block the sun for a while to create some soft, even light, but then the clouds basically disappeared and I could photograph no more.
The big day, however, was Saturday, when we went back early in the morning to last year’s location. I was able to work there for about three hours, moving past where I had gone last year but still leaving a lot of great spots to go back for another time.
As if that wasn’t enough, I decided to do something a little different and photograph in the hotel that night, where the expected (and some unexpected) hijinks of models having fun ensued.
Finally, on Sunday morning, we went out early to photograph at a waterfall that I had read about. Unfortunately, there was not a lot of water coming down to create a good cascade, so I was rather disappointed by what I found, though I did still shoot a couple of rolls of film.
Before I made the photos, however, another incident occurred: we saw a bear in the forest. It took me a while to see it after it had been spotted, but then there it was – a large, dark creature crossing the trail at a spot where we had been just minutes before. Then it was gone.
Still, it had its impact. It is one thing to read about the creatures inhabiting the woods, but it’s another to actually see something like a bear and come to the realization that we as people are not alone in nature’s realm. I don’t think a trip to the forest will ever be the same again.