Our Nude on the Rocks 2014 Artistic Nude Workshop took place on Midsummer's day, June 21st, at the unearthly hour of 3.30am. The plan was to start with pre-dawn light and low shutter speeds, followed by dawn light rising over the North Sea and beautiful warm glows on the rocks, which are a mixture of red and grey granite, gneiss and red sandstone with the lovely Rachelle Summers providing the modelling talent for my early-rising participants. Dawn was due at 4.20am so we met at 3.20am for a 3.30am start.
Rachelle's train was delayed the night before and as a result, she only arrived in Aberdeen at 11:30pm and by the time we had got back to our place, had a cup of tea and a chat about the plan for the morning, it was 12:30am before we went to sleep and we were due up again at 2:30am to be out in time to meet everyone! Fortunately Rachelle has boundless energy and enthusiasm, so nobody ended up with "art-nude zombie on rocks".
We met at the old WWI coastal battery at Torry, overlooking Aberdeen Harbour and Beach to the North, Greyhope Bay and the North Sea to the East and Girdleness Lighthouse and the foghorn known as the "Torry Coo" to the South. We waited a few minutes for latecomers but one photographer was still not there, so we headed down to the rocks at Greyhope Bay, anxious not to miss the light and sent him a text to say where to find us.
It was a chilly morning and the shore breeze cooled things considerably more. In the pre-dawn light, the aim was for the participants to be able to get movement in the water around the rocks. This meant tripods for the cameras and poor Rachelle having to hold her pose and her breath during the exposures. We split it up so that everyone was not getting the same shot, so as one photographer was shooting, another was choosing his composition and using the slightly less elegant and infinitely more dressed figure of me to "spot" for the model. This also allowed Rachelle to dress between shots, so that she was exposed to the cold for the least time possible. Once each photographer was happy that their shot was set up and Rachelle in position, Batwoman would make off with her clothes.
Unfortunately, heavy cloud prevented us from getting the magic sunrise but Rachelle continued to create pose after pose, giving each photographer a unique set of images from the first set. After each photographer had made several images, I made my way up the bank to prepare the first tea break. Looking back, I spotted a hint of sun and stole a shot as Rachelle posed for one of the photographers below.
After tea and biscuits, we then headed along the coastal path to the Girdleness Lighthouse, where Rachelle created some lovely poses in front of the lighthouse and also looking out to sea from the cliff.
Rachelle in a dream-like pose at Girdleness Lighthouse
We decided to skip shooting at the foghorn after discovering a "gentleman" hunched over and sniffing something underneath it, so we headed back along the path and continued round to a small area of mixed rocks and sandy beach next to the South Pier. From time to time we were entertained by the resident pod of Bottlenose Dolphins breaching.
The breeze, whilst chilly enough for us to zip up our fleeces and jackets, did not deter Rachelle and she gave us a variety of poses with a long length of semi-transparent white cloth:
"The Shore Huntress"
We then had another tea and biccies break, followed by a semi-clothed set, which gave us something different and Rachelle a little respite from the cold wind.
Rachelle's hommage to the "Tennis Girl" poster from 1976
We then handed Rachelle a little white Calvin Klein summer dress, which did not take long to come off, much to the delight of the Shetland Ferry passengers, who certainly got a lovely welcome to Aberdeen!
It wasn't long before Rachelle was naked again, rolling around and creating dramatic poses in the freezing surf on the shore:
Rachelle poses in the surf as the wind catches her hair
We tried to dress her again but she decided to wander deep into the North Sea, up to her neck, to make the dress see-through, before slowly walking back towards the shore.
Rachelle emerging from the sea
Before she was even half-way back to the shore, Rachelle ducked into the water and leapt up, causing the wet dress to slide down and creating some dramatic images.
Eventually she returned to the shore but continued to create some stunning poses:
Until the freezing North Sea assaulted her in places decorum prohibits my mentioning here!
This marked the end of a very enjoyable and productive workshop witha truly wonderful model. All that remained was for Karen to rush over with a towel to wrap a frozen Rachelle in and give her a warming hug.
There was just enough hot water left to give Rachelle a well-deserved hot soup as she dressed and a very happy group of photographers chimped at the fantastic images she had helped them create.
Once again this amazing pint-sized modelling dynamite had come up trumps for my workshop participants and proved why she is my number one choice for workshop modelling
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