I’m not going to create a new blog entry for every image of Ngoni that I process, but this is one of my favourites! There is something rather mad about being out in the snow in a bikini, but she continually assured me she wasn’t too cold (I was in my thermals, standing in the stream to capture this!). Before you think I’m a sadist who enjoys inflicting cold on my models, one thing you can’t see is that Ngoni is not really sitting in the snow, but on a hot water bottle wrapped in a white cotton bag – her bum and thighs were probably the only part of her that was really warm! I’m beginning to put together some images for a little gallery here, but in the meantime I thought it might be interesting to describe a little some of the processes behind making this image.
Trying to capture her naked skin against the mass of white snow was not completely straightforward, partly because (for the camera, at least), the snow dominates the scene. The camera’s white balance (set to ‘shadow’) still managed to make everything look rather blue, and the snow overwhelmed the camera’s meter, even though I metered for her face (in camera, I didn’t use a lightmeter as I was trying to be as fast as I could to prevent her from getting too cold! Key settings were ISO400, f4.2, 1/60s, the aperture being designed to create a relatively shallow depth of field). But because the camera struggled a bit with the dynamic range, along with correcting the white balance and other general edits in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, I needed to carry out some editing just on her body, and others just on the background, involving a tedious selection process (Photoshop’s magic wand etc. found itself being rather confused by the white bikini and the snow, and Ngoni’s legs and the bridge, making a totally manual selection necessary). Still, this allowed very precise edits to be made for Ngoni and the environment.
Also, although she is, of course, the main feature of this photograph, she occupies a relatively small portion of the overall scene. I felt that her rather pale makeup, which worked so well in the other shots from the day, got a bit lost here, so I made some adjustments to her makeup as well, which in the small image here is most noticeable in the form of much darker ‘lipstick’ being used.