Leanne Without Snake

Adapting to change is always a useful ability for any photographer. I’ve rarely had a shoot where everything went according to original plan and often some of the best work comes from the unexpected. The unexpected can be good or it can be bad and the difference often comes from how well you adapt to the changes and work them into the shoot. Finding the water over a falls too hard to get a model into might lead you to posing a different way. An example of needing to adjust came after the snake encounter I mentioned a few postings ago.

I’d come to Arizona without planning to do many indoor shots, but I had planned for the possibility of a few and had brought some lighting for those with me. This meant Leanne and I were able to finish that shoot back at my hotel in Phoenix. I’d not planned anything beforehand so I largely had to make this up on the fly, but I think it worked out in the end. While I’d hoped to get in much more outdoor time with her, the results of the indoor work I think came in quite nice.



In the Woods with Porcelain

There has been a lot of poor luck around my outdoor work this year. Many planned outdoor work was postponed by the rainy weather that’s been common this spring and early summer and much by cancelations, postponements, and rescheduling. And then there was my encounter with a reptile in Arizona. Still I have gotten a few nice outdoor shoots in this year such as this one in May with Porcelain. We were a bit constrained on time so we headed to one of my favorite locations near Asheville to get in a quick shoot.

The heavy rain of the weeks before meant a lot of water over the falls and I spent most of the shoot standing in water resulting in a later purchase of new socks. It also meant getting her her into the falls would definitely not have been safe and the sun wasn’t in the best spot. Still I think we got a few nice shots from the shoot.




Snakes … Why Did There Have to Be…

Okay so the title gives away the ending, but there are photos so indulge me. My plan for June included a trip to Arizona. Let’s just say almost nothing went according to plan. In fact I’d go as far as to say it would be hard to describe the trip without using the word “cluster.”

In spite of the problems I did have the chance to work in a few nice shoots. Near the end of my time in Phoenix I had the chance to work with Leanne, a wonderful model suggested by a friend. We’d planned a shoot in the desert outside the city. Everything went perfectly at first. It was hot, about 110 that day as I recall, but we’d scheduled the late afternoon past the worst of the day’s heat. We headed to the location and started to work right before the good golden light of sunset moved in.

The first shooting location went well. We found a nice rock formation near the top edge of a small canyon. The timing worked perfectly since we arrived as the sun started to set providing that wonderful golden light. This image comes from that first area and is probably my favorite of the outdoor images of the day.


We next moved to a new spot and worked for a few minutes. The sun really started getting a nice glow at this point leading to these two images.



Perhaps a minute after the second of those two images, I looked down before moving to my left to reposition. It’s a habit I’ve developed in years of outdoor shooting on occasionally iffy terrain. It also is something I’d drilled in while planning for some backpacking in the desert that had been planned to be careful where you put your foot or hand for any of the less desirable desert residents that might be around.

As you probably guessed from the title, in this case it was a very good thing. When I looked in the direction I’d planned to move I saw a rattlesnake coiled up about three feet away (a speckled rattlesnake to be exact). No rattle or threatening stance, but just the reptile trying to blend in and not be seen. I froze, told Leanne not to move either, and then very slowly move to a safer distance before more quickly moving much further away. Once out of danger we gathered our things and left the area to our new little friend.

I’m not overly fond of snakes, in fact I’d go as far as to say I have a phobia of them. Leanne also didn’t seem eager to continue working in the area after the encounter so that ended the outdoor shooting for the day. We did some more work indoors later, but those will come another time. The lesson here is to be aware of your surroundings when shooting outdoors. The snake was camouflaged very well against the rock and had I not taken the time to distinctly look around I would have moved directly toward him in my next step. Instead all escaped unharmed.

I have to say though, worst shoot crasher ever.