Red Rock in August


August is when I start to go outside again to shoot in the Las Vegas area. Even though it is still super hot out I know the cooler air is right around the corner and the sun starts to set a little heavier so it feels somewhat more bearable. On the west side of the valley it tends to be 10-12 degrees cooler than the east side. I love shooting around Lake Mead, Boulder City and Henderson areas but not until after September. Red Rock always makes a beautiful backdrop and my featured shoot for the month of August was with an exceptional young lady from northern California.


Getting to work with this young woman was very inspirational. She is very much in tune with nature and her surroundings and seemed very comfortable to be out in this beautiful part of the Las Vegas valley. I shoot a lot in and around this area and I find it so amusing when I mention to potential clients about the possible location. I tell them “Red Rock” is a place I really love to shoot in and then we plan on a meet up spot. I am really amazed at how more than half of the people I am planning to work with think that I am referring to Red Rock, the casino, not the National Conservation area! Now I have to say, “Red Rock, the nature area”.


The Red Rock nature area does not just include Red Rock the park itself. There are many areas out in this region that are really spectacular and perfect for photo shoots. I do a lot of hiking out here as well with my kids and dog and spend many of those hours photographing and documenting the nice little finds I come across. We have seen wild burros, Desert Tortoise, snakes, mule deer, fox and lizards of all shapes and size just to name a few. There are also many interesting and beautiful plants out here along with the diverse insects that survive because of the unique flora.


One thing about Red Rock on the west side of this area is that it is not the ideal spot to shoot if you want that magic light that comes along one hour before the sun fully sets. The location of these mountains are to the west side of the valley and as the sun sets they cast a giant shadow over the entire side of this part of the valley from late afternoon until complete darkness. I like working in even light so I actually like to work in this environment. The ambient light that is here in the later afternoon is perfect for smoothing out skin tones and bringing out shadows that are not as harsh. I like working in the shade too because it provides a nice cooler temperature which is always a plus this time of year. You can catch the magic light if you are on the other end of the Red Rock park which includes the first three parking areas in the park from the entrance. This is where the red colored rocks are at.


 A plus working with this model is her super long hair. I loved how every shot I took had a different twist to it due to her hair dancing in the breeze. Her classically beautiful looks reminded me of a medieval royal family member. Not only was she super nice and easy to work with, she was extremely photogenic and a real natural in front of the camera. Such a great shoot and we got so many gorgeous images in the shady area of Red Rock the nature area...not the casino!


Posing a client can always be fun and sometimes tricky. Not to worry with my model this day! She started dancing and moving around in a very holistic and yoga-ish kind of way. It was fun and made my job easy. I took shots of her while she danced around with her hair blowing in the breeze and the gorgeous scenery behind her. My creativity was definitely on high alert thanks to this model.  


Red Rock has an entrance fee or you can use your National Parks Pass to get in if you have one. Once inside, the loop is a 13 mile drive full of plenty of things to see just from the car. From this shot you can see the west side of the park. I don't care for the washed out white sky here but I do love the way this turned out of her, but then it was almost impossible to take a bad shot of her. You can see behind her there are some mountains which are of light tan color. That is some of the sandstone area and to the right of that (which you can not see here) is where the rocks are red and the best spot to see any type of magic sunset light if you are trying to capture that.


The actual shooting for me is the most enjoyable part of the process of a photo shoot. I love being outdoors which is why I shoot 85% of the time outdoors. The rest of the time spent on a photo shoot is on my computer editing the images. I try to keep it down to 30 images per shoot. The editing process takes time and sometimes I can get backed up on my edits. It was hard for me to narrow down these shots because all of them turned out amazing. Here is a casual shot I took while I was testing the light. A great shoot, model and location. A perfect combination for getting wonderful images.  

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