The Red Cape

It was about 10 years ago (maybe more)….I found a beautiful red, authentic Irish wool cape at Value Village…I think I paid $25 for it….it should have been worth hundreds…one of those rare finds, and unless you know what you’re looking at, often overlooked. Needless to say, I scooped it up on the spot when I found it.

I’ve worn it, a fair bit, but I’d say that it has been sitting in my closet for a good 5 years since I last wore it…and I’ve had moments where I’ve thought about what to do with it while I’ve been through a couple of closet purging sessions. Miraculously, it’s still remained.

Last week, Ray Ketcham – my mentor – and I were “skyping” on one of our sessions – planning and preparing for me to travel down to Port Townsend and do some photography work with him. The plan for the weekend involved a model and photography sessions centred around working with small speed lights – flash on location. He said he’d had an idea floating around in his thoughts about a gothic type look, a lantern or two and wouldn’t it be nice to have a nice red flowing cape to use….


Long story short, he just about lost his mind when I showed him what I had hanging in the closet – and how dare I consider purging it – “That, my friend, is the holy grail of all props!!”

:) Okay then!

What followed was a great session on Saturday working with our beautiful model Willow in Port Townsend’s Chetzemokah Park and below the park on the beach. It was a cold, grey and blustery day – perfect for the look we were going for. I’ve got a handful of great images I want to work with, and wanted to share one of my favourites below:

I’m currently gathering momentum and a focus for a particular project – part of which involves story telling within an image or series of images…and plenty of practice using on location lighting is required. The projects are starting to work around specific cultural folklore themes. It was truly amazing how the red cape gave the shoot such a fun theme and feel. It goes to show you that there is so much you can do with very little work around the props and great emphasis on the lighting. In this case, you’ve transported yourself to an entirely different era with the use of one piece of clothing and a small prop.

This image above was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II using a 430 EX Canon speed light and  small soft box on the speed light coming from camera left.

Stay tuned for more developments on the projects as I move along. I’ll be keeping you informed as I travel that journey. Also on the horizon and near future is the completion of my website – once that is done, this blog will then be merged onto my website and I’ll give you the link to my blog’s new home once we’re ready to make the move.
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  1. sabrina February 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    I was very curious to see what you’d do this past weekend and you, my friend, have not disappointed. Willow has a face for folktales and stories but the lighting and composition is all Ellie! I can’t wait to see where your momentum carries you :)

    • Ellie Ericson February 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

      Thank you Sabrina – it was a great time shooting with Ray…and the formation of what looks like a really good project for me – and I am equally curious to see where it takes me. We missed having you there – but next time when you are feeling more rested :)

  2. Dorothy Brown February 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Oh Ellie, I love this! So evocative — moody and romantic. And oh my goodness, that cape! It’s the French Lieutenant’s Woman. I can’t wait to see the rest of your images. No, really. I can’t wait.

    • Ellie Ericson February 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

      Thank you Dorothy, your feedback means a lot to me…I told Ray exactly that, it looks like something from the French Lieutenant’s Woman that Meryl played that role in…! Too funny. I can’t wait to see where this project takes me….in fact I am hugely curious to see where I’ll go with it… :)

  3. Gerry Marzocco February 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Beautiful work Ellie! And having worked professionally in cinematography/videography for the last 30 years I can really appreciate what you are doing. You might consider a series with the cloak and some antique candlelit lanterns shot at twilight or in darkness…anyway just at thoughtI might be up in Vancouver this summer so I’ll let you know. Keep up the great work!


    • Ellie Ericson February 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

      Thank you Gerry…it would be great to see you again. Do keep in touch if you plan to make it to Vancouver…

      Cheers, Ellie

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