Recently, there have been a number of wildfires in the Los Angeles area. Ash cakes the tops of cars, and there is always a plume of smoke which obstructs up an impressive amount of the horizon line. When sunshine cuts directly through smoke, you get an incredible red light, and can make for some unique photos. So, on Saturday July 23rd, when I woke up to an intense red, smoke - filtered, sunlight - I knew I needed to plan an impromptu photo shoot.
My brother and his wife are currently expecting, and are due in September. I decided to take this opportunity to take some maternity photographs that I’ve been promising them. I’ve done a few maternity shoots before - while they are by no means my specialty, I do have some thoughts on the subject. I think it’s important to keep the parents as the true subject of the photo shoot; their interactions are far more interesting than just a focus on the baby belly. Viewing the pregnancy as more circumstantial than the focal point of the entire shoot, makes for more dynamic set of photos, and is more interesting to the audience.
We held the photo shoot on Mt Washington, in Los Angeles - which is a beautiful residential area, lush with vegetation - and has a great view of the surrounding city. It’s also near my brother’s house, and has some additional family history - so the photos hold more significance to them, which is something I always love to add to a photo shoot when possible. It was evening time, and the light was perfect: The smoke from the nearby fire had diffused over most of the sky - so lighting was very even, with shades of magenta.
We utilized the cement stairs that lead to their house, then drove to a popular hiking path that curves around the outside of Mt Washington, as well as some of the residential street leading to the hiking trail.
I edited the series in Adobe Lightroom, using VSCO filters, mostly sticking to the Polaroid 690-- filter from their Film 03 preset pack. It was shot with a Nikon D750, with 24-70 f/2.8 lens. I also got to use a piece of equipment I don’t often bring out; my Vello Ringbox, used with by SB700 strobe. It provided beautiful and even lighting against the bamboo brush wall, and also gave some great catch light in their eyes.
All in all, it was a beautiful shoot - with great people (one of which has yet to be born yet!), and it was great to take advantage of some of that unique smoke filtered lighting.
Until next time!