Fiddler in the Attic: Courtney Hogan

The whole notion of coming home for a rest fell by the wayside as I drove out at 7am for my first photo session for a musician in a long time [the product photography has taken all of my free moments]. I love working with musicians, and Courtney Hogan made things quite easy. My brother, on the other hand, can’t help but get himself into as many images as possible. In the middle of the shoot, he insisted on trying a set-up with him changing a tire while Courtney looks on in disgust. While I will admit to being more than a little skeptical, I do think that the final product is looking pretty darn good. The sentiment is reminiscent of Norman Rockwell’s paintings, so I wanted to try processing the image differently, too

For the first time ever, I decided to do a HDR [high dynamic range] image where I shoot five different exposures within a second and then use Photoshop to blend them together into a megafile. HDR is all the rave in Toronto, with most photographers doing architecture and landscape in this style. People tend not to work too well, but since the subjects were posed I thought I would give it a whirl. The end result should look hyper-real and a little sharper due to an increased contrast. In my eyes, this image works really well on a few narrative levels, and I am glad Scott came up with the concept.

Our first location, however, was in the attic of a dilapidated barn on Scott’s property. It had been considered a month ago for a trash the dress shoot, so I knew that it would give me something to work with. The early morning light was soft and warm toned, but there was not a lot of it. With a reflector and some speedlites we were able to create a great atmosphere. Courtney played while Scott rambled that “what we are doing right now is what my brother calls “chasing light”. I would have greatly preferred being able to use my Profoto lights, as I am more familiar with what they do, but I already hit my limit of carry-on baggage and I would have needed a generator to power them.  I will just have to learn how to use the speedlites.

After 1207 image captures, we drove off to an Island dirt road for the final series of images. I liked the idea of having Courtney barefoot and walking, even if it is not the most comfortable thing to do. Dirt roads are magical places. Perhaps I just like the idea that some farmers made roads because they needed them or that dirt roads only exist as long as people use them.

I had to laugh that Courtney was able to upload her photos from a contact PDF file before I could upload mine to my blog [less that 24 hours]. My old age must be creeping up on me. Certainly, the best part of the day was hanging out with Scott on his porch in the afternoon. Even when life is crazy busy there is always time for some breeze and conversation.


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