Places & Spaces | Week 8 With Shannon Lorraine @ The Henry Ford Estate

2 months already... insane, it's been a wild 60 days. I've learned so much over the course of these 7 shoots, I'm not quite sure if the education has transferred over into my final images, but in due time. I've had 2 things that are really holding me back, for one, the cold weather. It's legit freezing outside, and I'm not the most prepared shooter when dealing with these conditions. The other complaint, well the models I'm shooting with aren't aspiring professionals, now I understand when I shoot people for money they likely won't be professionals either, but one of the benefits of this project was to build a profile, and through 8 weeks I haven't been able to do so.

I tried to switch things up a bit this week however, I attempted to solved one of the problems. I outsourced through a modeling website to find someone who was willing to help me for free. We agreed to meet up at the Henry Ford Estate, which is located in Dearborn for those of you who live in Michigan. I first visited this area last fall and I was blown away by the number of options and locations it had, the possibilities were endless, unfortunately this wasn't the case during the winter season. The woods were closed down, the trees had no life and though it was beautiful I think I should have saved the setting for a warmer climate, to ensure it was fully taken advantage of.

The model? Meet Shannon Lorraine, she's no professional, but she isn't shy of the camera, and that's what I needed to help me learn. When no direction was given she took over based on her instinct, I liked that, it gave me a bit of versatility and opened up some new ideas for future shoots. Her confidence allowed me to spray away, which was a good, and bad thing. However, the cold weather was still a force to be reckoned with and ultimately may have defeated us both. It was difficult for me to instruct her because all I could think about was the temperature, it was around 5 degrees to be exact, and I was not dressed for the occasion. As I was shooting I could feel my hands getting numb, at times I wanted to call it quits but we both persevered some how.

For this shoot I was using Canon 60D, it's been a while since I shot Canon, or used a DSLR period for that matter. It was equipped with an 18-135 zoom lens, something I'm not familiar with, it lacked depth of field, and I had a really hard time figuring out my composition seeing as I could just zoom in and zoom out. I wasn't focusing on a look, for a series of shots I'd go wide, then I'd zoom in, then back to medium telephoto, it was far too inconsistent. I missed my primes, where I had to frame my shot based on my lens, it was all far too difficult. Another issue I had was the viewfinder, I've learned to not look at my photos during shoots, partially because on my X-T1 I could see my exposure through my viewfinder, this wasn't the case on the 60D, I was shooting several scenes, in love with some of the shots, only later to find out that I had underexposed the image far too much... Really have to start paying attention to my metering during times like this. Another issue with this was focusing, I'm spoiled by focus peaking, a missing feature on DSLR that is common in mirrorless, now this wasn't the camera's fault, just user error, but a lot of the image are out of focus, some I used, some I didn't but truthfully most of them couldn't be saved.

Shannon Lorraine, Henry Ford Estate | Edited in Lightroom 5 - Out of focus image.

On a positive note I did love the shutter speed, I was shooting single autofocus (wish I had back focus equipped but it wasn't my camera) and I was just clicking away, I love the sound that it made, my X-T1 is pretty silent but that reassurance of the shutter sound was orgastic in a way.

Thanks to RSTUDIOZ for lending me his 60D

The shoot was definitely an eye opener for me, like many I learned a few typical things, what I did wrong, what I could do better and so forth, but this shoot really made me feel inadequate, like I have the talent, but I'm just not giving it my all. This shoot only lasted about 20 minutes or so, I wasn't comfortable, it could've been the gear, it could've been the fact that Shannon worked with other people, but for whatever reason I wasn't comfortable. I had so many ideas for this location, yet I only asked her to pose for 2, I should've asked her to take a break, warm up and get back out there, but I didn't have the confidence too. During the entire shoot I may have said about 3 words, I didn't direct her at all, no chin up chin down, nothing. There were times where I wanted her to look at me, I liked what she was doing but I wanted her eyes in a different direction, but I didn't voice that, and those images went unused. 

This session was bittersweet I guess you can say, I learned so much, yet I think these are the worst pictures yet. Not because of Shannon though, she was excellent, but because I half assed it, I mentally gave up, I was cold, I wanted her to be like hey it's to cold. I need to prep myself, where extra layers of clothing, 2 pair of socks, get proper shoes, whatever, I need to make it happen. But whatever, enough rambling, I'll let you all get to the images. Again thanks to Terrell Bell for lending me his camera, you're crazy for trusting me with it after dropping mines, haha, but seriously I appreciate it. Thanks again for viewing everybody, and until next week! You can find the entire Places & Spaces series below, as well as directions to the location from this weeks shoot.



Gear Used