All I had to do was open the curtains just a little to blast the room with light. Wild, glorious, and bright window light that would have illuminated the entire scene with a warm glow. But that tiny sliver of sun moving across Olivia’s arm, hip, and thigh was just too perfect to wash out. It needed to be captured just as it was. She was reaching for the night stand to put down a stick lip balm when my eyes went wide and I loudly barked an order, “Stop! Do not move a muscle.” Olivia has always been good at holding still on command.
The camera did not have film loaded in it so I quickly scrounged through my bag looking for a fresh roll. “Just keep holding…” I kept repeating slowly as I extended the backing paper from one spool to the other on my Rolleiflex TLR. It was obvious I was saying it more to myself than to Olivia. I had to work quickly. It was early in the day with the sun swiftly rising in the sky and the light could change at any moment.
The overall scene was dark. Much too dark for the film speed I had on hand. I took a couple of quick measurements with a hand held meter. It looked like I was going to have to make the photograph at 1/10th of a second without a tripod. That was a risk. My hands are not always as steady as they could be. I considered to myself, maybe I should open the curtains just a tad to give me a little more room with the exposure. No… Everything was just too perfect. It was worth taking the chance.
Bracing the camera as tight against my body as I could I tripped the shutter. The sound was barely audible and Olivia did not move. I clicked another, and then a third. Feeling satisfied I put the camera down and studied the scene one last time, making sure I didn’t miss anything. I couldn’t be certain that Olivia even took a breath the entire time.
With a content and easy sigh I smiled and rose to my feet, “Ok, you can move now.”