A Magical Night: Dance in The Forest

'11 Forest Dance-90

I’ve been teaching some classes on lighting and composition lately for the Twin Cities Photography Group, and in preparation for my next class I went scouting for locations to do an outdoor lighting class. I settled on a space down by the Mississippi river on the Saint Paul side across from the Shriners Hospital. Down by the river is a flat area with lots of tall trees and low vegetation along some walking paths that seemed perfect for what I had in mind to create an etherial ‘Wood Nymph’ shoot.  I was using a set of 4 alien Bee’s with a portable battery pack (VagabondII) as my power source. It took some trials and testing to get the right look I wanted, But i settled on one 1600w alien Bee pointed directly at my model without an umbrella, two 800w Bee’s with large umbrellas pointed at the trees to light up the background, and I placed the last 1600w bee with a large umbrella in the distant back of the scene to give the scene some depth.

My model for this shoot was Megan Bridges, a spectacular dancer that I’ve worked with many times before. She has an uncanny way of seeing my vision for a shot and executing it perfectly…. plus she has a great sense of humor to let me do a shoot where she would be tossing pounds of flour in the air as she jumped through it. By the end of the shoot, her face and hair were covered in flour.

Some of the surprising things about the shoot were: 1- how long the battery pack lasted (nearly 3 hours),  2- how green the vegetation still was along the “forest floor” and 3- mow hard it was to get the flour to disperse in the air. I’m going to be doing some dispersal tests before the I offer the class to see if baby powder, powdered sugar, or something else will offer a better dispersion for the shoot. Regardless of the difficulties with the shoot, I’m VERY pleased with the results.




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