Gravel and Grace

This past Sunday I did a photoshoot with Elin Schriwer and Ellen Kastensson, who used to train rhythmic gymnastics together. We met up in Tullinge, and walked over to Hamra Grustag which is about 20 minutes’ walk from the train station. It is a huge gravel pit which appears to be still in use, as we found a big yellow bulldozer parked in the middle. We did a few photos in the centre of the pit, but after a while the bulldozer became too tempting, and we headed over to play with it. Later on in the photoshoot we, to my great delight, discovered a big puddle of water.


Elin Schriwer. I had brought my D700 with the 85 mm lens that was on it since before. The camera had been covered in sand a couple of days before, and despite my cleaning, I did not dare switch lenses in case one of the grains of sand would find its way into the camera. Having an 85 mm lens meant I would be shooting from a larger distance than normally.
Ellen Kastensson. There was a pile of rocks and dirt in the centre, which provided a nice stage for Ellen.
Ellen Kastensson. Here we decided to have Ellen mimic the smoke pipe of the bulldozer.
Ellen Kastensson. What else can you do with the bulldozer? We experimented with the catterpillar.

Sometime around here a few sand grains got lodged in my preview button on the camera, which prevented me from reviewing all but the latest shot. It felt a bit like shooting with film, when you could not check what the photos looked like. So to be on the safe side, we repeated several of the poses a few extra times, just to make sure we had got the shot.

Ellen Kastensson and Elin Schriwer. I call this “The Giraff”.
Ellen Kastensson. We had just discovered the puddle, and Ellen stepped into the water for a first shot.
Ellen Kastensson. When you have water you want to try and use it to capture movement.
Ellen Kastensson. I had arrived at the train station a bit before Elin and Ellen, and while waiting an old lady had dropped off a series of books on a shelf by the station. She explained that people could take and leave books there. So we borrowed two books about Oliver Twist to use as props.
Ellen Kastensson. By shooting with the sun behind but out of frame we could get the water droplets to show up against the darker background.
Ellen Kastensson. I had bought three smoke grenades for another photoshoot, but only used two of them, so I brought the spare one with me to this photoshoot. The plan was that Elin would run around with the burning smoke grenade, and create a nice smoke screen. Having Ellen stand in the middle of the lake made it difficult for Elin to position herself. Rookie mistake, but I do love my reflections. Lesson learned, always bring two smoke grenades so you discover these mistakes with the first one. In the end we managed to get a couple of good shots thanks to the long burn time on the big Enola Gay smoke grenade.
Ellen Kastensson
Ellen Kastensson. Playing with backlight, I like the hazy effect it gives.
Ellen Kastensson. One one side the ground was a bit higher above the puddle, and by standing on some small rocks there I was able to get a much cleaner background with just the water. A little bit of Photoshop cleaned up the last bits to create this photo.
Ellen Kastensson. As the sun got lower on the horizon and eventually dipped below the tree line we started looking for other spots. A bit higher up we found this rock formation. If you look closely you can see the real moon in this photo. The picture below has a photoshopped moon.
Ellen Kastensson. I call this the “Lion King” photo. The photoshopped Moon is from a picture by NASA.

With the sun below the horizon, and our candy stock depleted, we decided to call it a day and head back to the train station. Thanks to Elin and Ellen for a fun photoshoot!

If you want to see more of Elin and Ellen, check out their Rhythmic Gymnastics Instagram. For more dance photos on the blog, check the dance category.

— Johannes

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