On Easter weekend, I drove up to Ottawa to see Adriana Isabel (also known as @hergreeneyes across social media), a model I’ve been trying to shoot with seemingly forever. (You might also recognize her from the viral videos by Venom Trickshots.)
We’ve had quite a few failed attempts to shoot together, starting a year ago, in May 2009. At the time, Adriana was visiting Toronto to shoot with a bunch of different photographers and although I was supposed to be one of them, we got our signals crossed and our schedules didn’t match up. I’d met Adriana on Facebook a few months previous, and we’d yet to talk on the phone or meet in person. The first day she was in Toronto, I texted her to see how things we’re going and discovered in short order that she was staying in my neighbourhood, only a five minute drive away. Oddly, we both had the evening free, despite not being able to coordinate our schedules before. Rather than shooting, we met for the first time by going out for dinner at the Green Eggplant (highly recommended), in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood. Despite all the stellar cuisine in this city, Adriana still resists eating anywhere else on her subsequent visits to Toronto, which is pretty amusing.
Fast forward to July 2009. I’m driving back from Nova Scotia and had planned a one day detour to Ottawa so I could shoot with Adriana. There’s no easy way to get to Ottawa without going through Montreal first. Montreal driving being what it is, combined with summer travellers and construction meant a three hour delay getting to Ottawa, which meant I had to cancel our shoot.
Fast forward to December 2009. Adriana planned a one day there-and-back trip to Toronto just to shoot with me. One of the very few snow storms we had all season decided to put the brakes on that plan and made travelling too treacherous.
Fast forward to March 2010. Adriana planned another weekend Toronto trip to shoot with a bunch of people and made sure I was first in line, given our previous failures. It just wasn’t meant to be, however, as I was booked solid doing a trade show for the entire time she was here. We somehow managed to squeeze in a dinner at the Green Eggplant, though.
Being fed up at this point, I immediately booked a hotel in Ottawa for Easter weekend because I was determined to shoot Adriana. And this time we were successful!
We couldn’t have asked for better weather, as it was sunny and mid-20s all weekend long. On Saturday we headed out on an adventure to find a good beach, because swimwear photoshoots in early April (in Canada no less) are rare indeed. We ended up here, in Shirley’s Bay:
How we ended up there is more of a story than I have the patience to type, but involved a lot of driving and this was the fourth place we scouted before giving up because it was getting too late in the day. Unfortunately by the time we had arrived here, the weather had cooled slightly and the sky had taken on a hazy, overcast look. All that beautiful sunshine was hidden behind some rather dull cloud cover.
Photos of Adriana Isabel
Our first photo with natural light:
In retrospect, I should have just stuck with natural light for the whole shoot, as the hazy sky was actually a pretty nice softbox. But I decided to tinker and ended up with this, which was a single Alien Bees B1600 with a small shoot-through umbrella:
One thing you’ll notice about this location is a lack of the thing that usually goes hand in hand with swimwear: sand. The shore that the Ottawa River was lapping against was basically concrete or slate or something; flat and hard with some jagged edges. There were, however, these giant rocks that we used as much as we could.
Two more shots with natural light:
Shop Amazon for the gear I used on this photo shoot with Adriana Isabel
- Nikon D300S DX Camera Body
- Nikon 85mm FX ƒ/1.8G AF-S Lens
- Nikon 70-200mm FX ƒ/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Zoom Lens
- Paul C. Buff Alien Bees B1600 Monolight Flash Unit
- 32” Shoot-through Umbrella
- Nikon SB-900 Speedlight Flash
- Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible
- Learn more about the gear I use
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