The idea to shoot Ana Tigre and Danitza Freighter at the skate park came to me when Ana and I were in California last week. The sky there was a deep azure blue soothed by a sun that was gently cooled by the rolling pacific’s unseen salty breezes. I was enchanted. While the idea was born in San Diego, it ended up being raised in Las Vegas, a place devoid of anything tempered, soothing, or sensible when it comes to being outside in summer. Wednesday this week didn’t break any temperature records but it wasn’t good jogging weather either. The full weight of my ill-devised plan hit me in the nostrils as I stepped from the air conditioned comfort of my home into a 108 degree Las Vegas afternoon. As I loaded the truck with my gear, and my serious misgivings about doing this shoot in the searing heat, I knew this one needed to be quick.
Shooting in the intense heat presents a unique set of challenges your typical drunken tourist on the strip needn’t worry about. Laying prone on the sun-baked cement for instance, to get that low angle shot, has provided me with some serious burns and blisters in the past when I didn’t come prepared with something to lay on. Even then I move around a lot so something to lay on becomes a bigger distraction than a help most times. The camera and lens’s can get really hot under the sun and can be damaged to the tune of hundreds or even thousands to repair or replace. Getting the models to sit on something is ill-advised as every surface the sun hits can get hot enough to fry an egg. Even standing in good shoes on hot pavement is uncomfortable. A guy really has to be careful, and fast, to make it work.
I went one better by booking the shoot at 1pm so we wouldn’t miss the full fury of the mid-day sun. I don’t know what I was thinking.
Danitza had travelled from the Los Angeles area to do this shoot so I wasn’t going to cancel. I figured that both women were experienced models and I knew exactly what I wanted to shoot so I didn’t anticipate it taking long. I got set up quickly, the girls got into place, and we got right down to business. As it turns out I did burn my stomach and chest, but not that badly, and everyone got plenty dehydrated. We also got the shots we wanted.
I probably won’t try that again but the girls were awesome, and they made a tough shoot really a lot of fun.