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When poor Beate had regained the use of her fingers and could once again feel her toes (read about that here), she quickly reapplied her make-up and made a change of outfits, while we moved location and set up the lighting for the next shot.

During the confusion that resulted while I frantically deleted dud shots from my full memory-card while we were doing the shot in the frigid water of the tidal pool, as the sunlight was dwindling rapidly, I somehow managed to set my camera from capturing Raw files to regular JPEGs only. Unfortunately, JPEGs offer a narrower scope of control over the end result, therefore I prefer to capture raw files.

It was only once I’d taken a couple of dozen JPEG shots that I realised this and was highly irritated with myself, because I knew that it would compromise my workflow later on.

I’ll admit that this scene didn’t come out much like I’d envisioned it, mainly because the sun was now well and truly set, but the roadside bench I’d picked out earlier in the week still made for an intriguing setting. Albeit, a logistically tricky one:

Dark enough to be tripping over things and bumping into one another, and having gawking motorists stopping to ogle our model, were only half of it. Not only did the lighting equipment need to be placed in the road, meaning that it had to be moved every time a car drove by, but I too had to crouch slap-bang in the middle of the street to shoot, so I had to tuck-and-roll every time a pervert circled the block.

Add to that, in order to compose and focus, looking though the viewfinder in the darkness was like trying to find a black cat in a dark room. I couldn’t see shit!

This shot was one of the JPEGs I shot before I realised my mistake. Relatively little has been done to it afterwards. But what is more remarkable is not that it suffered little from my incorrect camera settings, but that it’s totally un-posed and unplanned!

In fact, to make the point properly – this is the very first shot I took to test the lighting! I deliberately shot it wide so that I could gauge the fall of the flash light to set up the scene. It doesn’t look obvious, but in this shot Beate is not posing. She’s not even aware that I’m about to take a picture; she’s merely sitting and patiently waiting for the photographer to get properly organised.

It’s not a typical image of any particular kind, but to me, it’s a technical Hale-Mary. Like the man who drove to work blindfolded in peak-hour traffic and arrived safely, somehow all the most important elements fell into place, despite the challenges.

The purist photographer in me loves the fact that it’s genuinely a candid picture of a beautiful girl waiting patiently at a roadside bench. …she just happens to be scantily clothed, made-up, and well-lit too!

It’s exactly half way between fantasy and reality. And what better place is there to be than there?

A cell phone shot I snapped of the bench while looking for locations a couple of days before. This photograph is unaltered – these people actually had pixelated heads. …not sure why.

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