Thanks to a friend who shared his expertise and whetted my appetite for photography, I've been dabbling in this hobby for several years. He even helped me buy some almost new digital equipment at a bargain price.
I've photographed everything in the family that moved and a lot of things that didn't, ultimately creating a family album that is the envy of any person who wants to remember holidays, vacations and the maturing of children and grandchildren.
I enhanced my skills by talking with professionals, studying web sites and reading articles to learn specialized techniques in portrait and people photography. This only enhanced my appetite to branch into a specialized area of people photography ... au naturel.
My wife gave me a definite and emphatic "no." Asking family members was out of the question, so I never pursued that venture, but continued to record family outings and nature in all its beauty with the same enthusiasm as before.
In late June, an unexpected opportunity came along when I was on a field trip on a friend's farm near our family's homestead. I loved an area where a small, lazy river meandered out of the woods and ran along a clay bluff. The backdrop provided several nice scenic views, while the river provided opportunities for photos of turtles sitting on rocks, birds splashing along the shoreline, occasional wildlife meandering out of the woods and other scenes ideal for cards.
While taking a break from my very strenuous hobby, Kate, a perky young woman whose father owned this property, came sauntering along the river.
She looked like a female Tom Sawyer, fishing pole over her shoulder, wide-brimmed straw hat accentuating the loose bib overalls and blue-grey farmer's shirt she was wearing. The bait container she carried completed the scene. I couldn't resist taking some photos of her running.
Back when she and her family moved to the area, Kate was a scrawny preschooler and I was a senior in high school.
By high school, Kate had developed a figure that, you might say, never quit and had a personality to complement it. She was voted junior prom queen and senior homecoming queen. Kate had been voted to the homecoming court twice and her dad said she was voted queen of her sorority when a senior in college.
"Hi Jason'" she shouted from about 50 yards away. She broke into a fast trot, her shoulder length brunette tresses bouncing as she ran, not showing any sign of her exertion as she came up to me.
"Dad said you were here. Thought I'd come to see how a professional photographer works."
"Oh, I'm far from a professional'" I said. "But I think I get some good photos occasionally. I think I'm more lucky than good. Today I'm trying to get some pictures for greeting cards."
"Can I see them, Jason? Dad said he's seen your family pictures and they're great."
"Sure'" I said, setting my digital camera to its slide show program.
"Quite nice. Really nice. Even some of me. Wow. I like this one with the birds. You're good, Jason. How many have you shoot?"
"Maybe a couple hundred ... only about eight or ten scenes, but each from a slightly different angle."
"Just about used up the card, right?" she asked.
"Nah. That card holds about 800 photos. And I've got another card in my pocket, same size."
"Wow. Hey, would you want to shoot some photos of me fishing and goofing around on the river bank?" she asked. "Dad said he doesn't have any really good photos of me and suggested I should ask you ... provided you don't charge too much."
"Don't worry about the cost. I need the portrait practice. Someday I want to open a studio. I've done some serious freelance work, but I'd like something more stable. Any opportunity to take people pictures will help me."
As she kicked off her shoes and moved right to the river bank, I inserted a new memory card into the camera and waded through the knee-deep water and into the shallows on the far side of the 60-foot-wide stream. I got numerous photos of her casting her line toward me, reeling in, sitting on the river bank, stuff for the family album.
"This is boring. Would you mind if I got a little sexy?" she asked.
"Anything you want'" I said as I moved back across the river, onto the bank, and stood about 20 feet away.
"How about some close-ups'" she said as she unhooked one strap of her bib overalls, flipped it over her shoulder, looked at me and said, "You getting all this or do I have to do it again?"
"I've got it. We'll have a complete pictorial of your escapade when I'm done."
To my surprise, she then undid a couple buttons on her shirt, exposing just enough of her cleavage to tease, and to verify what I had suspected ... she wasn't wearing a bra.
I continued popping photos. She pushed the other strap slide off her shoulder, let the overalls fell to the grass, exposing her oversized shirt. The hem dropped to mid-thigh.
She undid a couple more buttons, teasingly exposing herself just a bit more as I shot. With the final button undone, she pulled her blouse open a few inches, showing most of her firm, round breasts, but not totally exposing herself.
"How's that'" she said, beaming with a shy, somewhat sly, grin.
"Nice'" I said, continuing to shoot from various angles, wondering how far she would go, thinking this was probably going to be the extent of the revue.
The overalls which laid around her ankles, made a very sexy, and also humorous, depiction in the viewfinder. I got it all.
She stepped free of the clothing, shed the blouse and unveiled a perfect body in all its natural beauty. Her hips flowed evenly off her torso, her legs were firm and athletic, her breasts provided a perfect accent to her upper body, '... and no tan lines.
The camera started to feel heavy in my hand as she stood there, more at ease than I could have imagined, and much more at ease than I was.
She was a nymph in the wilderness, a perfect image of what I had always pictured a young woman to look like, an absolute gift from the heavens for a photographer.
She moved along the river bank, doing things on her own that I would have suggested but didn't have to because she was totally at ease with the scene. It all seemed to come natural to her.
I suggested we redo the fishing photos. She agreed.
It was almost too easy.
"Have you done modeling?"
"No. But I did take some photography classes in college. They included some portrait photography and working with models.
"Personally, I just love to be out in the sun like this, away from people. It just feels so good. I come here often, on the pretext of fishing, just to be alone, to bask in nature. Dad never questions why I don't bring home any fish'" she said.
We both laughed about that. It put me into the same easy mode she was in.
"You do this often? Just like this?"
"As often as I can. I've been here every day for the past month. I got home from college in mid-May."
"Weren't you concerned when I was here, taking away your haven?"
"Not really. I sorta planned this. But even after I saw you. I wondered if I could go through with it. Or if you would agree."
"Well, shedding the overalls was the hardest, then it got easier. After the first two or three shirt buttons, I just thought I can't quit now, I'm beyond the point of no return."
The more I looked at her body through the viewfinder and continued to take pictures, the more beautiful she seemed to become in the early-afternoon sun. Using flash on the closer shots neutralized the sharp shadows.
Then I suggested a few poses, or at least locations for poses.
"How about you posing on that rock in the middle of the river. I'll go back across so we can use the clay bluff as a back drop."
She quickly went through several poses on the rock ... feet kicking the water, leaning back, then on her back, and various other positions. I shot almost continuously.
She then took the "Little Mermaid" pose, just like the statue in the Copenhagen harbor, followed by numerous others poses and graceful motions, both standing and kneeling.
"Oh, and I've got to do this'" she said, getting on her hands and knees, and looking right into the camera.
I moved in closer. Then, while crouching to get a lower angle, I accidentally fell backward in the very shallow water, but reacted instinctively by holding the camera high in the air to protect it.
Kate laughed uncontrollably.
I missed that shot.
Gathering my compusure, it was obvious this lower position provided a perfect angle. The flash cleared away the sharp shadows and accentuated her breasts. It was absolutely perfect.
Then she slid off the rock, sat in the water which came to just under her breasts, creating some amazingly tantalizing photos.
She knelt, splashing some water onto herself, the droplets created a perfect accent.
After a few minutes of this, she leaned back in the water, just her face and tips of her very firm nipples exposed. The camera fired off 20 shots as she raised herself until her breasts were fully exposed ... mentally I was replaying what the camera had captured.
Kneeling, she said, "Watch this."
I did ... through the viewfinder, as she dipped her head into the water, then swept it up in one motion, her long dark strands sent a halo of water all around her head ... 20 more exposures.
"Want that again?" she asked.
Twenty more shots ... followed by 20 more.
"Wow. You are really into this, aren't you?"
"I told you, I've wanted to do this and now that I've got the chance, I'm not quitting. This is fun'" she said, standing up, letting the water run off her body, down her torso and legs ... giving me another couple dozen photos.
She then did the unexpected ... warning to "catch this" as she extended her arms, fell backwards, and created as big a splash as her petite body could create.
"Thanks to her warning, I caught it all."
"Again?" she asked.
She did it twice, but none was more exciting than the first time.
With my camera clicking away, she waded to the shore, crawled onto the grassy bank, then laid with her back to me. I never quit shooting. She slowly rolled onto her stomach, turned her head, rested it on her crossed arms and smiled.
"How about just some shots on the grass, while the sun is drying me'" she suggested from that position.
Kate was a picturesque goddess sunning herself, rolling onto her back, breasts point to the sky, legs spread. She was having as much fun frolicking on the grassy embankment as she had a few minutes before in the water.
"Enough?" I asked, disappointed that I had even asked the question.
"Only if you think so. I've still got to get dressed'" she said, sitting up and laughing as she gave me a scrunched up, twisted smile, another cute photo.
Facing me, she bent over and grabbed her shirt, slipped it on, did not button it, but reacted with several coy poses. Then she stepped into her overalls as neatly as she had stepped out of them, brought them up to her waist, spread her legs to hold them up, tucked her shirt into the clothing before grabbing the bib while catching the dangling shoulder straps, giving me another dozen photos. She brought her arm into position under the strap, clipped first one, then the other to the bib and, finally, almost reluctantly, slipped on her shoes.
"How many photos did you shoot?"
"We darn near filled the card'" I said.
"Really, eight hundred photos in that short a time?"
"Actually, it wasn't that short a time'" I said. "We've been shooting photos for nearly two hours."
"Really. I didn't notice. Maybe I was having too much fun. I guess that's what they mean by 'time flies when you're having fun.' It seemed like only a few minutes. I hope we can do it again sometime."
"There's nothing that says we can't. This area has so many scenic possibilities, including the wooded area. If you're willing, I'm able."
With that, Kate grabbed her fishing pole and bait bucket, and retraced the route that got her to this spot.
I had wanted to shoot some photos of the sun through the trees, but for some reason, my energy was gone ... just like my model.
[Readers are asking for Jason's pictures, but he tells me they're not for publication, sorry. - Eolake.]