The Deer

I had long wanted to shoot one of my forest pictures in a bluebell wood.
This year was particularly difficult though as the unseasonably cold spring made the bluebells late, and somewhat stunted.
I was still determined to press on as I knew it would be my one and only chance to shoot the image before the Pingyao International photography festival in September.

The forecast was a little iffy to say the very least, and for this shot I needed the sun, something you cannot count on in the UK, so I bought something along which would give the sun ‘look’ for the back light.
Lighting out put is not the problem but height and angle of the light is, I needed a tall light stand, an exceptionally tall light stand.
I ended up using a stand which is not actually a light stand but a camera stand.

The Manfrotto 269HDB-3U a truly spectacular stand which extends to over 7.3metres(24 ft) in height which with a small amount of tweaking(using a brass spigot which screws on top) will take a Elinchrom Ranger flash head. I used the light stand at its full extension and held my breath(It actually does ship with guy ropes but I had a small crew for the shoot so be didn’t get round to using them)

The key light, camera left, was an Elinchrom Ranger too with a Chimera medium soft box.

I originally was going to do the shot on a longer lens, a Phase One Schneider 240mm LS on a Phase One IQ180, to get some degree of compression on the bluebells but the way the trees and the blue bells were it did not work out and I ended up shooting it on a Phase One Schneider 55mm LS.

I never cease to marvel at the quality from a Phase One back.

Here is a 100percent crop.

I mentioned the unseasonably cold weather and that on the day was the very biggest challenge. Katie really was an exceptional model but she struggled with the bitterly cold weather as you might see in the video, all very well for the rest of the crew who were warmly bundled up in many a layer.
To get every element working together, the deer, the light, the smoke and the model was particularly challenging this time and in the end it came down to one frame where everything worked out.
In the frame I chose the deer is spot on with just a a little wind in the models hair.
The shoot was over in a relatively short period of time, well under an hour, there are limits when working with live animals and cold weather conditions.
Stay tuned for the grand finale which will be posted just before I depart for China to hang my work at the Pingyao International photography festival.