A Fortnight of Art Nude...Fine art shoot in Scotland,The United Kingdom. Part 2 of 4.
Deep into the Planning
In the first part of this 4 part blog I mentioned that the plan for the 1st week of this 2 week mission was to visit 5 castles, 2 beach locations, an alpine valley in Glencoe, some hydroelectric pipes in Kinlochleven, and visit a stone circle and cairns in Argyll. All of which we were able to accomplish in the given amount of time. Most of these locations were scheduled for photoshoots. But a couple were just great ones to visit.
Along Loch Awe, The Highlands, Scotland, U.K.
As with all of my photoshoots, considerable time was given to the planning of the mission, beginning 6 months earlier. A myriad of factors and considerations needed to be addressed. Such as, which of the estimated 1500 existing castles or ruins would make for the best shoot location? I assembled a list of 230 possibilities to thoroughly evaluate. They were selected based on their location within the country. I started by looking at maps and then satellite imagery of each, which progressed to online searches of those that I found interesting. Some had no online presence or only insufficient published data. Others were too much in ruin, or on private property and inaccessible, and others were in use as a residence/tourist location.
Created in the larder of Castle Carnasserie. This chamber is known today as a pantry and is adjacent
to the the kitchen area on the ground floor.
As the list grew smaller, I was now able to see where in Scotland I would need to travel to avail of the most suitable castle locations. Now, I could consider other, non-castle locations as well. Finally, once the castle list was down to 10 or so, and with several other spectacular locations now on the list of desired places to conduct a shoot, I turned to the ugly reality of it all...time and money.
What possible permutation would allow this to work? I had to consider where the shoot locations were in relation to each other. The distance between each one, travel time, where to camp, where to refuel and restock on food, water, obtain propane. Not to mention the all important emptying of the gray and black waste water tanks from the motor home?
One example of my route planning which had us traveling from the highlands in the north, to the south along the coast of Scotland with a stop along the way to replenish our food supply.
It is normally at about this point when it becomes wise to take a portion of a day to step away from it all to clear my head. Despite my love for the planning process of such a mission, being a Green Beret with over 30 years of service you understand, I know that I should "smell the reality" of the likelihood of having an overly ambitious plan.
Now, as I came up for air as it were, I once again was smacked in the face by the degree of clutter I had created in the house as a result of the planning. The 6 person dining room table and area around it was now covered with maps, areal photos, notes, and possible props and wardrobe for consideration. But let me point out that I did stop well short of taking down our sizable framed art pieces from the walls to make room for a CSI like "murder board". Although I have briefly considered doing so in the past. I must note at this point the supreme tolerance of my incredible wife and muse for all of this.
Of course there was some unwelcomed surprises. Just when it looked like I had it all figured out, I found that two of my planned RON (Remain Over Night) locations could not be used by us in the motor home. I noted on a satellite photo a shadow that turned out to be an elevated barricade to keep campers out of the parking lot. The photos below show what I found, which meant that my plan to shoot and RON at Greenan Castle had to change.
What I found when I zoomed in on the shadow.
I confirmed my suspicion with the ground view seen above. Thank you Google Earth. But also determined that I could park on the street for the day to conduct the two planned shoots here. We were able to RON a workable distance away which, also afforded me a beach shoot location...and Castle Dunure. So win-win!
The photos below are from that day's late afternoon and next morning shoot at Greenan, along with images showing our RON, beach and Dunure Castle's location with some of the images created there.
Whilst He Wasn't Aware v.2 by Von Trapp Photography 2019.(From the series: Nude on a Scottish Beach)
This sassy lassie is a true vision of beauty and delight as she takes a sunset stroll on a Scottish beach below Greenan Castle. Sadly for the British bloke behind her, he never saw the lusty goings-on behind him. A bird watcher that missed this smoking-hot "bird". Tragic indeed.
Planning the Shot by Steve Hockin 2019.Photo Artist R.L. von Trapp makes his final plan for his next shot whilst his model makes a wardrobe change. Art nude shoot on the beach below Greenan Castle, Scotland.
Bhean bòidhchead v.2a by Von Trapp Photography 2019.(Title: Lady of Beauty written in Scots Gaelic)
Our lovely model graces a beach in Scotland below Greenan Castle on a cold October day to create this image.
Von Trapp Photography traveled to the Highlands of Scotland and Lake Distric of England for two weeks of shooting which yielded numerous wonderful captures of fine art.
Photo Production Assistants: Steve, Mina Smith
A cool morning light has been changed here to make a sunset looking creation. Captured on the beach below Greenan Castle, South Ayrshire, Scotland, U.K.
Cold and Wet for the Shot v.1 by Steve Hockin 2019.The chilly Scottish morning air and wet beach added to the challenge of creating art on this beach near Greenan Castle. Image post-processing styling by Von Trapp Photography.
Pictured: Model Kat, CPT von Trapp
Dead in Your Tracks v.1 by Von Trapp Photography 2019.(From the series: Nude on a Scottish Beach)
Bathed in a luscious light, our lovely model created a captivating pose on a beach in Scotland. In the background on the heights are the ruins of Greenan Castle.
White Witch by Von Trapp Photography 2019.Photographed at Dunure Castle in Scotland, this location was used in the Outlander series. They photographed it from sea and modified it in post to become the off shore island Jaime swam to to get the treasure.
Model/HMU: Kat Photo Production Assistants: Steve, Mina Smith Dunure Castle, The White Lady
For all you Outlander fans, Dunure Castle was use as the castle on the Silkie's Isle which Jamie and Ian swam to. In the story, a reference was made to this island, a treasure, and the White Lady. This became my inspiration for this photo's title...White Witch.
Dunure Castle, as you can see is not on an island, but instead on the coast. It was filmed from seaward and morphed during post-processing to appear as it did for the TV series.
Kat at Dunure v.1 by Von Trapp Photography 2019.Photographed at Dunure Castle in Scotland, this location was used in the Outlander series. They photographed it from sea and modified it in post to become the off shore island Jaime swam to to get the treasure.
Model/HMU: Kat Photo Production Assistants: Steve, Mina Smith Dunure Castle
The necessary change to where we were able to RON for the Greenan Castle shoot resulted in easy access to the beach just a short walk down the hill from the lay-by.
The next two photos were taken upon the high ground (left arrow) about 40 feet above the ocean.
The forth picture was at the water's edge (right arrow).
In Thought by Von Trapp Photography 2019.(From the series: A Nude on the Bluff)
Fine art shoot on the west coast of Scotland near Greenan Castle.
Model: Kat Sensual Feeling v.1a by Von Trapp Photography 2019.(From the series: A Nude on the Bluff)
Fine art shoot on the west coast of Scotland near Greenan Castle.
Nude on Coast v.1 by Von Trapp Photography 2019.(From the series: Nude on a Scottish Beach)
The stunning Kat braves the cool October morning air and cold water of the Atlantic to create this lovely art nude capture taken just south of Dunure Castle. Outlander fans will recconise Dunure as the island castle with the treasure that Jamie swam to.
I took a long look at the historical weather data over the prior 3 years and was able to confirm what month and days to shoot. By the 3rd month all the major location and logistic planning was on paper, and now I was addressing smaller details such as the time of sun and moon rise and set. Also, what was the angle and direction of the sun going to be, so that I could start visualizing and planning each shot that I wanted to create. This and more details were looked at.
Now Plan the Shot
Up to this point, my planning had little to do with the images that were made. But once I have the 80% solution of where, when, and how I will make it work, I started my detailed crafting of each and every likely image to be created. (The image below is an example of how I plan my images. This photo, however, is from a 2015 shoot in Venice. But it is representative of the process.)
Planning The Venice Shoot by Von Trapp Photography 2015What Goes Into Planning a Photo Shoot
Fashion/Glamour Photographer Richard von Trapp planning for a 2015 Venice Italy glamour/fashion photo shoot. Archive photo of me planning two photos from my 2015 Venice shoot. Which you can read about here.
For me, my detailed method of planning works with my temperament. But it also better insures that I will be able to create the greatest number images in the given allotted amount of time. I have had a fellow photographer or two consider this kind of planning stifling to their creative mojo. But it comes natural to me.
Also, when one considers the total monetary cost of conducting a shoot like this, it only makes sense to me to be as efficient as possible. In fact, I calculated the cost to image ratio to see if the project even makes sense to begin with. This is done by estimating the possibility of getting one great capture from each planned set up, and dividing that by the total cost of the project. I define a set-up as one location, wardrobe/prop look, and lighting set up. But do not include the pose or poses that I ask the model to strike, or the ones that she created on her own.
During my film shooting days, I used a planning factor of "2 in 36" to do something similar. In that example, I would assume (hope, really) to get 2 good or better images from a roll of 36. I found it was a very reliable planning factor.
I endeavor to create a "flow" during the shooting as much as possible. Just like an experienced model will flow from one pose to the next, so to do, I wish to flow from one pose to another. From one wardrobe or props, and one lighting setup or location to another. Most of the time I'm able to succeed. To the degree that I do, it was greatly aided by the degree of planning that was done prior.
I knew that an October shoot in the U.K. would possibly offer more potential overcast or cloudy days than not. Which for me is less of a real problem since I almost always have a studio strobe available to augment the natural or available light. Even so, I did take the time to research and consider what the available light could be. Below is a case where this came into play.
Bhean bòidhchead v.1 by Von Trapp Photography 2019.(Title: Lady of Beauty in Scots Gaelic).
Our lovely model graces a beach in Scotland below Greenan Castle on a cold October day to create this image. Von Trapp Photography traveled to the Highlands of Scotland and Lake Distric of England for two weeks of shooting which yielded numerous wonderful captures of fine art.
Model/HMU: Kristy. Photo Production Assistants: Steve, Mina Smith
The above capture, entitled Bhean bòidhchead v.1 (Lady of Beauty in Scots Gaelic) was taken at 08:25hrs (8:25AM). It was planned for this approximate location soon after sunrise after considering the light data which indicated that at 08:30hrs the sun would be at 5 degrees above the horizon and would be shining from the east south-east from 113 degrees.
This information indicated to me that some sunlight would be shining on the beach to the east of the castle, and be visible on the castle and well as a model positioned there...if I was lucky, that is! After all, I was planning for a shoot in the U.K. in October. Sun could be at a premium.
As you see, great planning can be greatly assisted by great luck! We not only had sun, but some great early morning clouds to add to the image. It is better to be well-prepared than not, but...even more so is to have good luck thrown into the equation.
I planned to light the model with a studio strobe and balance its strength to compliment the natural sunlight. Once on location, I chose to set up the strobe at about chest level to highlight the model's wardrobe. It was feathered (not pointed directly at the subject) to try not to add additional light to the ground. Although I was not able to predict well in advance what the wind direction would be. As you see it was perfect, blowing briskly from the left, which allowed me to face the model into the rising sun whilst having the wind blow her shift to the right. A perfect example of the quote, "When it clicks".
Come back to see my next installment which will have more of our work at castle Dunure and the fabulous castle Carnasserie as we make our way towards England.
Thank you to everyone who did their part to make this project possible.
Photo Production Assistants: Steve and Mina Smith