Winter swimming

I photographed the lovely writer and swimmer Ella Foote in the river Thames, near Marlow. Ella swims outdoors regularly, and had recently completed "Dip a Day December" for charity, despite the cold and grey. 

 At 7.30am I was already cold, despite my four layers. 

At 7.30am I was already cold, despite my four layers. 

 Before the shoot, I had in my mind a bleak, peaceful solitude as the tone. Bare trees, mist and dark water. Although presence and solitude were very much the mood, Ella is a  much  smilier and relaxed person than these images convey.  

Before the shoot, I had in my mind a bleak, peaceful solitude as the tone. Bare trees, mist and dark water. Although presence and solitude were very much the mood, Ella is a much smilier and relaxed person than these images convey.  

 It would have taken me ten painful minutes to do this. Ella is so used to it; she might as well have been getting out of bed.

It would have taken me ten painful minutes to do this. Ella is so used to it; she might as well have been getting out of bed.

 Portrait photographer, London photographer
 I'd been hoping for - counting on - mist, but this requires a greater difference between the air temperature and water. I thought I'd play around in photoshop how it might have looked with mist, and was surprised how realistic it looked, given I was working from nothing. I used a technique from the wonderful  Phlearn .

I'd been hoping for - counting on - mist, but this requires a greater difference between the air temperature and water. I thought I'd play around in photoshop how it might have looked with mist, and was surprised how realistic it looked, given I was working from nothing. I used a technique from the wonderful Phlearn.

 Portrait photographer, London photographer
 I wanted to shoot remotely, with my camera on a monopod over the water - there was no way I'd be going in. It didn't work from the off - I needed to see through the viewfinder. I could have shot tethered, but this might have slowed things down more, and it was so cold (for both of us!) there wasn't a lot of time for the shoot. 

I wanted to shoot remotely, with my camera on a monopod over the water - there was no way I'd be going in. It didn't work from the off - I needed to see through the viewfinder. I could have shot tethered, but this might have slowed things down more, and it was so cold (for both of us!) there wasn't a lot of time for the shoot. 

 Portrait photographer, London photographer
 Portrait photographer, London photographer
 Portrait photographer, London photographer
 The sunrise was beautiful, but shooting any later would have been too backlit and the trees would have burned out.

The sunrise was beautiful, but shooting any later would have been too backlit and the trees would have burned out.

 Portrait photographer, London photographer