Senior Year Portraits For Andrew – Mission Ridge, Near Wenatchee


Andrew at Mission Bridge. 2011, Gavin Seim. 40x32 print on canvas. 4x5

Andrew’s senior portraits were quite a project and a very rewarding one. Andrew and his family actually live in Ephrata, only a few minutes from my studio. Andrew is a top notch golfer (world class in his age group) and plans to go through college and beyond with his golf skills. While we decided not incorporate golfing directly in the portrait, we wanted something outdoors and natural. It’s really important to me personalize a portrait. We decided to drive up to Mission Ridge, where the family has spend a lot of time in years past on ski trips.

Making a quick snapshot is easy, but a well made portrait takes time, and the more you plan, the better the result. We were going for an evening session. So I decided to get up in the morning and make the drive up to Mission Ridge, taking a walk, getting the lay of the land, and a feel for the light. Then I came back to the studio and prepared for evening.

At portrait time, I met them in Wenatchee, and we took a few warm up images at the park. Then we headed up to Mission. Light and sunset in the mountains is very different from the lowland, and it’s always an interesting challenge. But it was really a nice evening, and there were plenty of places to work, including the hibernating ski lifts and the little bridge over the creek.

During the session, I pulled out my Linhof and took my time making two portraits of Andrew with film on the bridge that spans the creek. I’ve been working with these 4×5 inch negatives lately for the amazing detail they produce, but this was the first time I used it for a portrait. It will not be the last, however, because it worked phenomenally. I did one frame in color and one in black and white, and the final image above was that one color frame that turned out to be the winner.

This is the wall portrait (above). The final edit is from a 4×5 inch negative that I developed myself. I’ve lost count of how much time has gone into this piece, but that’s OK because I’m thrilled with how the print looks. There’s detail down to the individual leaves under the bridge. This image does show a lot, but with detailed tonal work and processing, Andrew will remain the dominating subject, complemented by all the other details.

It’s going to be produced as a forty-inch canvass to hang in their home. Thanks to the detail of the 4×5, the quality of the wall print is stunning. I’m really excited about this one. But there were more. These other portraits of Andrew we’ll use for smaller prints and item. Here are a few more favorites, including the second 4×5 plate (below)…








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