Fort Point - Kena

This is Part Four of the Fort Point photo shoot organized by Marebeth Gromer.  Kena was the third model who worked with us at the fort that day.  I'd worked with Kena before early this year at Elliston Vineyards and was excited to work with her again.  Kena has quite a bit of experience as a model and was repped by Wilhelmina Models in Los Angeles.  To be able to work with a model with her experience is always a treat!

As you can tell from the previous posts, I work 99% of the time with natural light.  Why?  Well, for starters, I don't have a studio and also because I'm still learning my way around speed lights.  So with no speed lights and just my trusty X-T1, I set out to take the best shots I could.  When you have nothing else to rely on other than your camera, and you've been stripped of things that most photographers rely on, like speed lights and light meters and tripods, you're forced to improvise and look at things a little differently.  And some of the results may leave you pleasantly surprised.

Without a doubt, the best light in the interior portions of Fort Point were at the windows.  It was a bright and sunny day outside, but it was certainly cold!  Kena and the other two models were freezing!  But despite the cold, they worked hard posing for us, and the results were amazing.

ISO 800   56mm lens   f/1.2   1/320sec

The above shot utilized simple window lighting to create a Rembrandt-style portrait.  I was all about imitating Rembrandt at this shoot, simply because I had no choice.  It was the window light and nothing else.  But if you position the model just right, the results are just beautiful.  With Kena looking out the window and the light illuminating her face from the angle that it was at, there were nice shadows that clearly defined her cheekbones.  And because the glass of the windows were frosted (dirty to be more accurate), there was more diffused light coming in and it provided a nice wrapping of light around her face, just enough that the shadows were not harsh.  I wanted a pleasant feel to this photo and that's what I got!

For the next photo, I went with leading lines yet again.  There's just so many neat things you can do with them.

ISO 800   56mm lens   f/1.2   1/80sec

In the above photo, at the end of the hallway is a glass display case with an officer's uniform.  But because of the depth of field that I used, f/1.2, you could easily mistake it for a real person.  I wanted to tell a bit of a story, that's why.  Is it a would-be suitor for Kena?  Is she excited to see him?  Does she know he's there?

There are two reasons why the photo is black and white.  The first was because it just seemed to fit the mood.  Instead of a splash of color, it almost looks like you're looking at an old photo.  The second reason is that I realized that there was grain in the above image, but not because of the high ISO (it was shot at ISO 800), but because you're looking at a cropped image of the original, hence the grain being more prominent.  So the grain, combined with the black and white conversion further adds to the old, classic look.

This next photo took a while to get because of the winds whipping through the fort, and as we all know, forces of nature can neither be tamed nor constrained.

ISO 400   56mm   f/1.2   1/60sec

When I saw the veil whipping around, I almost imagined Kena as a sorceress casting a spell, with the veil being an outward manifestation of her powers.  (In truth too, just like I mentioned in the blog post on Sophia, I was also looking for a Halloween-like image from this shoot.)  I did add a single gradient filter in order to darken the upper left portion of the image because I wanted to give the impression of her veil reaching out towards the darkness and perhaps pushing it back.

This next photo is my absolute favorite of all the photos I've taken of Kena so far.  Strangely enough, I overlooked it until I had a chance to review all of the photos.

ISO 800   56mm lens   f/1.2   1/350sec

I love the contrasting shapes all through out the photo, from Kena's pose, to the honeycomb fencing outside the window, and especially the shadows on the wall.  I had to bring out those shadows in Lightroom, and I really wanted them to be as pronounced as they are now in the image because I think they add as much character to the scene as the other elements of the photo.

Kudos to Kena for braving the cold and windy weather to give us some wonderful shots!

Gear used:  Fuji X-T1 with 56mm lens (85mm field of view on an APS-C sensor).