January 4th, 2007

DSC 5089crop LaniThis is my current favorite photo. That’s why it is the cover photo on my book, “The Figure In Nature,” which is available here: [link]

I had this photo in my head for a couple years and kept trying to shoot it while doing other figure shoots. Finally I decided to just do what needed to be done to get it captured. When I get something like this in my head I have to get it recorded or it just won’t go away. So I called up one of my favorite models, Lani in the mountains of North Carolina. I knew she could do what it took to get the shot and that she would know a good stream to use. I described the photo to her and told her to find the right stream and tell me the day and I’d drive down from Ohio. The day came, we hiked around and found just the right spot. Lani got in the freezing mountain stream and looked beautiful and serene.

A basic part of the concept I had in my head was to blend the model with the water by using a slow shutter speed. I knew Lani had the perfect hair to blend with the blurred water and create the effect I was after. With the camera on a tripod out in the stream the shutter speed had to be just slow enough to blur the water without causing Lani to also blur. And, of course, the long shutter speed still had to allow for proper exposure of the photo. Shooting with digital was a huge advantage here, since it allowed me to check that I was getting exactly what I wanted. There are spots of sunlight creating the color effects in this shot, so I had to be careful not to overexpose or those colors, which are critical elements of the composition, could easily have blocked up to white and ruined the photo. I use auto exposure for most of my work, checking the histogram and adjusting with exposure compensation to get just the right exposure. In this case I determined that 1/20 second would give me the blur I was after while still allowing for correct exposure. I used shutter preference to hold that shutter speed and dialed in 1/3 stop under exposure to hold the highlight detail. If I were shooting this today I’d be able to leave the tripod at home and shoot it with image stabilization in the 18-200 lens…image stabilization compensates for camera movement, but not for subject movement, so it should have worked perfectly on this shot.

Besides being a near perfect capture of the pre-visualized image, I like this shot because it embodies much of what I try to do with the figure in nature…showing the links between the forms and including symbolism. I hope you enjoy.

I decided to post this today because it is currently getting a lot of attention on I have to confess I don’t quite understand that site. I joined it a while back because a model I had photographed was posting photos there from our shoot and I wanted to check them out. Since then I’ve posted some of my work and found that the proportion of idiots there seems to be significantly lower than on most places like it on the internet. I’ve met some great people there, including some models I have worked with or plan to work with, and the people there seem to like my work.

Well, today they selected this photo as a “daily deviation” which means it has been highlighted on the site. During the day thousands of people have looked at this photo and many have made nice comments. If you haven’t seen, go check it out. You might like it, and if you figure out what it is all about come back and clue me in. Here’s the link to my page on DA:

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About this Blog

Photos and comments by Dave Levingston. This is the place to see my most recent work which may include nudes, dance, landscape, nature and whatever other kinds of photos I feel like taking.

Since it does contain nude photos, this blog is not intended for viewing by anyone under the age of 18.

All photographs and written comments on this blog are protected by the copyright laws of the United States.

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