When the winter months are in full swing here in the desert, the weather can be ideal for outdoor shooting. The sun is heavier which casts larger and darker shadows, the cool crisp air feels wonderful on your skin and the skies seem to be more vivid blue than in the hot heat of the summer. Most of the time I shoot outdoors so the winter months have become my prime time to book shoots. For my December featured shoot I decided to share one of my favorite styled shoots I have ever done. It involves red sand stone, an adventurous model willing to hike a little and a real US Army Parachute.
Northshore Road along Lake Mead has amazing landscapes and vistas of different colored rocks, interesting shapes of mud from water erosion and an array of ground plants in different shades of sage and emerald greens. It is also a great place to enjoy the stars at night and even a perfect place to watch the moon rise. As we pulled up to the area I wanted to shoot in, we hiked around a bit to find a nice sandstone quarry with interesting eroded shapes to shoot in. I had an idea in mind but had to find the perfect spot for the backdrop.
Many times these sandstone forms and shapes have cave like structures and crevices perfect for fitting people in them and capturing a very unique and creative portrait. Samantha was exploring around and found herself in this amazing sculpted out rock. The light in these structures can be really different and quite enchanting. I had to get this shot of her as the light was golden not from the direct sun but from the reflection off the sandstone in every direction. We got an amazing series of images from this spot.
Creations like this were formed over 150 million years ago from shifting sand dunes. These structures made from wind, water and heat are amazing and unique to this area. Exploring this area is one of my favorite things to do and discovering all the different carvings from erosion over the years makes it feel even more special. I love this arch. The color is beautiful the way the light is hitting it. Different times of the day and shifting light really makes these sandstone mounds feel like they are coming to life.
So excited to find the spot I wanted to work in and around. This higher mound of sandstone would be the spot. Sam felt a nice energy here as she is sensitive to mystical forces as am I. My wonderful friend, Jan, brought along an Army Parachute all the way from Green Bay, Wisconsin for this shoot. I was excited to get going on the shoot in this magical spot.
Because the parachute was so long, I envisioned the length of the chute to flow down off the red sandstone so we had to get Sam up high enough so this could work. Thank goodness Sam is not scared of heights or climbing up and around rock formations. Jan had to help her out with the fitting of the parachute to make it look as much like a dress as possible. Jan had some climbing to do to make this happen. I was getting a little nervous thinking perhaps my two amazing collaborators might slip and fall!
It all worked out and in the end I got the exact shot I wanted. Actually it turned out even better than I had dreamed it would. All of the conditions were just right with the light being so magical, the rock formations being just the right height and with the help of amazing creative people to make it all come together. What a great and wonderful day.
This entire series of the parachute dress in the red sandstone is one of my favorite shoots I have ever done in my entire 20 something years of being a photographer. I wanted to share this one last photo of the day. The walls were full of these tiny caves and crevices. Makes one wonder how these were formed. Looks like maybe giant bubbles burst or maybe something like giant rocks hit them causing these indentations. Whatever caused them, it makes it very intriguing to see these amazing formations. A great place to explore and a favorite place for my photography.