« the old welcomes the new | Main | photographing a striking building under a vast sky »
Thursday
Jul052018

A portrait, the Trossachs and lots of midges!

 © broad daylight

Last night one of our most recent portraits was unveiled at a cocktail event in Glasgow, unfortunately we couldn't be there due to work commitments but hopefully everyone had a great timeŠ and we can have cocktails at another unveiling!

The portrait is of Hazel Brooke MBE formerly the Chair of Court at Glasgow Caledonian University.

In addition to working within education (Glasgow University as well as GCU) Hazel has chaired several international committees in relation to health and was granted an MBE for her services to Cot Death research. Hazel was also a non-Executive Director of Yorkhill NHS Trust, a member of Greater Glasgow Health Board’s Clinical Governance Committee and chaired Specialist Registrar Selection Committees for Greater Glasgow Health Board….PHEW!

Before taking the portrait we interviewed Hazel and discovered that she is a lover of the outdoors and has been involved in the ‘greening’ of the GCU campus. She likes to spend her free time hill walking and rambling, the Trossachs being one of Hazel’s favourite areas to visit and unwind.

We decided that a portrait that illustrated the work/play aspects of Hazel’s life was the order of the day. As this is an official, commemorative portrait Hazel had to be portrayed wearing her GCU robe…so that was the ‘work’ aspect taken care of. We drove around the Trossachs on a very, very wet day looking for a suitable location. We wanted somewhere that reflected Hazel’s calm, elegant persona. It also had to conjure up a feeling of reliability…of being grounded and of new growth. We found the perfect location at the Forestry Commission’s ‘Queen Elizabeth Forest Park’ near Aberfoyle. Tall moss laden tree trunks in a cathedral like space suited us perfectly…we just needed to wait on spring and better weather to give us the ‘new growth’ element of the portrait.

A few weeks later on a warm. humid day the portrait took session took place. As usual we arrived early to set up camera, lights, laptop etc. One thing we hadn’t anticipated was midges…millions of midges. Fortunately Hazel called us on our mobile before coming down to the location and we we’re able to ask her to buy some midge repellent at The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre. Hazel stood in a spot that wasn’t quite as beleaguered as the camera position…without the repellent, hats, long sleeved shirts and high necked collars we may have had to cancel…as it was we cried for days.

Technical information: The shot was taken on our Hasselblad fitted with a digital back and lit with two flash units. We had to check each shot as we took it because when we looked through the camera’s viewfinder we could see midges crawling all over the place. Luckily they were on the focussing screen. We used Lightroom and Photoshop in post-production. The final portrait was supplied to the client beautifully framed by Amber Arts, Montrose Terrace in Edinburgh.

The moral of this story? - always, always take midge repellent when you’re working in the Scottish countryside on warm, humid and windless days…either that or shoot your photos in the winter!