Nevada with Wonderhussy, Part 1

I had a chance to go to an almost week long conference in Las Vegas. I planned to arrive early and spend a day or two sightseeing Nevada's desert. I also wanted to use this opportunity to shoot some nudes since I had a mini studio (hotel room) and there were plenty of models out there. In a search for insider information about Las Vegas I stumbled upon Wonderhussy's website. Sarah (Wonderhussy) offered a very unique service. For a reasonable fee she offered to drive photographers to several interesting locations outside Las Vegas and pose there nude. This was as perfect as it gets!

There was a heavy rain when I arrived to Las Vegas. I was told it is highly unusual to have rain at that time of year over there. Sarah picked me up in her truck and we went to our first location. Destination was some red rocks about 40 minutes away from the city. Rain became worse at times. We passed several places where usually completely dry stream beds where bursting with red muddy water overflowing highway. It did not look promising. Temperature was dropping fast. Wonderhussy was a real professional; neither rain nor cold stopped her. She said she never had a chance to shoot at those red rocks in a rain and she was up for a challenge.

Nature in Nevada is nothing like on East Coast. Very little dried out flora, sandy ground, sandy porous stones. It was shockingly unusual especially because I just returned from a trip to Vermont's mountains.

First location was all weird red rocks. We were hiding in cavities when it was raining too much. I was lucky to have a good telephoto lens so I could shoot from one cavity in rocks into the other side of rocks 20-50 meters away. It was fun. We spent a lot of time there moving from one place to another. There were some people around but they stayed out of our way. Sarah is truly a wonderful and most experienced model. She climbed rocks with grace to get to most interesting places. I did not have to give her much directions because she knew instantly what would work where. 

I came from those rocks with over thousand technically perfect photographs. It turned out to be a problem for me. After throwing out duplicates and obviously weak images I was still facing several hundred images to choose from. I needed to keep about dozen. The less the better. As result I sat on images from this session for a year and some before making potentially last selection.

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Nevada with Wonderhussy, Part 3

Many years ago I went to a creative workshop with Bryan F. Peterson in Tampa, Fl. One of the classes was at the place where fire completely destroyed a house. There were four concrete walls, no roof, and just a little bit of garbage reminding about fire. It was not the place where I normally would look for a creative inspiration. A couple hours later I looked at that place as an endless source of interesting pictures. In a sense my life changed forever there because I started to see at many things differently.

Wonderhussy drove to our next location. It was a rusty left-over of a building next to an abandoned silver mine. Sarah said that it was probably her last session over there because building looked much worse than she remembered and it felt like it was about to break down completely.

I learned to see a beauty of places like this. Leave me there with camera and I will shoot there for days. I see a beauty of nudes and I saw plenty of great pictures of nudes taken in abandoned places. But it does not really compute with me. Ruins and nudes do not belong together. I prefer some alive place to photograph nudes in instead of ruins. On the other hand wise men say "you get what you get and you don't get upset". It is all about composition, light and shadows anyway, nudes or not.

Weather gave us an unexpected gift. Because Las Vegas is a sunny place I expected a lot of challenges with exposures and sharp shadows. I had plans how to use contrast light to make something interesting out of it. But thanks to heavy clouds all natural light had a very soft quality. You point camera anywhere and light just looked great. It made life much easier for me.

Most of the roof was still there; we were finally protected from the rain. But temperature dropped by a lot and it was getting cold. We had to work quickly.

Sarah showed some serious skills again by climbing on the roof naked to get a shot that she knew would look great. I do not know how she managed to avoid cutting herself by numerous sharp objects laying around over there. By the way building was standing right off the highway. Cars were passing by less than hundred meters away and could see what we were doing. I asked Sarah if it bothered her. She answered she did not care and she never had any issues. This was very different from East Coast. I once set up a camera on tripod on the edge of trees, far-far away from the edge of Garden State Parkway. My plan was to photograph some long exposure abstracts with cars passing by. Somebody reported me right away. I was caught by police within five minutes and went through very unpleasant conversation and more.

Sarah had a bunch of accessories. I did not care much about them but red shoes were hilariously out of place. We made some pictures with them.

In the end Sarah was covered in dirt and it was getting way too cold. We ended our shoot tired and happy for finishing a lot of great work.

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Nevada with Wonderhussy, Part 2

Las Vegas was a first trip that I went in kind of lightweight. I left home Canon cameras and lenses and took Olympus OM-D EM5 Mark II (what Oly people were thinking naming camera like this), with 17/1.8, 12-40/2.8 and 40-150/2.8 lenses. I also rented a high end Sony RX1 camera with fixed 35mm lens. Both cameras produced outstanding results. I loved Sony ergonomics and images. I wish I had $3k+ to get one for myself :)

You can see rain drops on some images and at times rain was hitting so hard we thought about wrapping up. In the same time there were no dirt or puddles anywhere because rocks are kind of sandy in nature and sucked water in instantly.

Weather cleared up a bit by the end of our shoot at red rocks. We went to another location at the dry lake. It was on an opposite side from Las Vegas so we drove back by the same highway. As by magic all stream/river beds were dry again. It was not a case with the lake though. Lake's bed is clay and it was now knee deep in water. We saw some lightnings, rain was off and on nonstop and decided to skip lake shoot. Luckily Sarah knew where to go next.

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