Fallen Angel

About two weeks ago Helena Blair and I went to King’s Lynn to do a photo shoot. Our original plan had been to go to St Peters in Wiggenhall, but after discovering Castle Rising that became our destination. A week later we returned to King’s Lynn, this time to photograph at St Peters. We wanted to do some sunset photos, so we headed out in the afternoon. A day return train ticket to King’s Lynn from Cambridge is really cheap, about £5 with a network rail card. The taxi costs a bit more and our driver was not really sure where we were going, but eventually we found the right place. The church was sandwiched between two big houses, and the lawn was tended to. The black death swept through the area in medieval times, wiping out villages, but leaving the stone churches standing.

The theme for our photo shoot was Fallen Angels. Helena had brought four dresses, two white and two black. We also had feathers, a spray can and fake blood. The latter we completely forgot to use.

The sun was coming in through the big church window, giving Helena a beautiful backlighting. Unfortunately some health and safety person had put up an ugly steel cage to prevent visitors from getting stones or brick on their head.
A closeup of Helena. In the original photo you can see my red jacket reflected in her pupils. Should have thought of that and worn something less colourful.
Here we have hung one of Helena’s white dresses on the wall to the left of her, which lifts the shadows on the left side of her face. By shooting with the sun in her back we get beautiful highlights in her hair.
One more from the same spot.
There were multiple exits from the church tower, here is Helena in another one of them.
I like the bit of hair that the wind moved over her face.
One more from the same spot.
After that we moved to the other end of the church, where they had a big window that we could climb up in. By we I mean Helena could climb up in. Normally I try to be restrictive with lens flares, but I love the sun in this photo.
This photo is a late addition to the blog post. I had edited it before without the wings, but I liked the pose and wanted to give Helena a set of disintegrating wings. Here made out of a mix of water and feathers. For the wings I used the lighten blending mode, and to make the shadows I inverted the water layer and changed to darken blending mode. Thanks to Nina and Wendy for feedback on the edit.
Photographing from the other side, Helena is completely in shadows. There was a patch of sun just to her right which I cropped out.
You can see the setting sun colouring the top of the arc orange. Helena striking a pose.
A more neutral headshot. The idea was that we would do Helena as both a good and bad angel, hence the white and black dresses.
One of our photo ideas was to have Helena stand in black, surrounded by multiple white angels dead on the ground. This was a test shot to see what the light would look like before Helena swapped into the black dress.
Helena as the black fallen angel. In the end we only did one dead white angel on the ground.
Helena perched in one of the windows.
We thought it would be fun to try multiple copies of Helena in the window. This was the resulting composite.
It is hard to resist taking backlit photos, here I fell for the temptation again.
The sun was getting lower, and most of the interior of the church was now in darkness. Here we chased down one of the few remaining patches of light. Here an angel version of Turn of the Screw.
Here we were playing with the shadow on the wall. The photo taken just after this one has the complete shadow, but I preferred Helena’s expression in this one.
For the last part we sacrificed a pillow to get some duck feathers. Here Helena is preparing to launch a fist full of them into the air. She is lit by a flash to the left.
This is the resulting feather wing photo. It is a composite of 12 photos.
A fallen angel. Wings vaporising.

It was a great day out with Helena. I am glad that we decided to return to King’s Lynn to visit the derelict church St Peter’s. It made for some epic photos. There is one more set of wing photos, and I will see when I can get time to add that photo to the blog post.

If you want to see more photos from the photoshoots with Helena, check out our photos from Castle Rising, and the old church in Denton village.

– Johannes

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