I have had an insane August. The first week was spent being a romance author with RomCon, a romance reader convention in Denver. I’d like to say a quick note about the media here, since I happen to be a member. The treatment was ridiculous. Not a SINGLE outlet brought the story home beyond “It happens in Denver!” and all the tongue in cheek gags were over the top. You have no IDEA what the romance community is really about or what romance novels are, you all succeeded in making a spectacle of yourselves to hundreds of out of state visitors. I know any exposure is good exposure but for once it would be nice if someone would take the genre a little more seriously instead of simply making fun of the readers and authors for being passionate about something. You guys aren’t even scratching the surface. I wasn’t the only Colorado native author attending this event, there were lots of us.
OK off my soap box. *glares* Back to our regularly scheduled blog:
I brought Derek Hutchins out, the model who portrayed the hero in my illustrated novel, and we had a great time entertaining readers and making everyone happy in general. If you are interested in that chaos you can read my writer blog here.
I had one day to recover from that mess to do laundry, check my gear and get on a plane to California to shoot some portfolio images for Derek. I flew out Wednesday morning with Berry who came with me as key grip / lighting assistant. After the rental car fiasco (read: eff you Budget rent-a-car; National you are my HERO) we were cruising in a Charger toward Danville to meet Derek for lunch and get a game plan.
It had been a whole two days since I’d dropped him off at the airport in Colorado, good grief. After lunch Berry and I headed for San Francisco to scout a bit and to exchange our prissy white Charger with the radio static issue (no bueno for all the driving we were in for) for a mean looking black Charger. It made Berry *squee* with happiness. Worth it. Then we headed straight for the top of the PCH and headed for Rockaway Beach.
I love Rockaway because it is always covered in surfers and the sand is ashtray soft in places and like sandpaper in most others while being a range of black to white in tone. It adds a great texture to images. We took a couple shots and headed on our way. We stopped again in Half Moon Bay to book a room for the night in Salinas, then headed for Santa Cruz. I really wanted to shoot some youthful fun here at the boardwalk, and I’m already familiar with Santa Cruz after spending a couple days here last year hunting down…stuff. That trip was probably the start of my want to shoot a model around the Cabrillo Highway.
It was dark as sin on the beach of course, which is creepy because you can hear the surf coming but can’t see it coming. Also makes for focusing a bit difficult. Meh.
We had $10 lobsters and walked the boardwalk before heading out to Salinas for the night. The next morning we had breakfast and went straight to McWay Falls in Big Sur. Beautiful, stunning, inaccessible with gear. I’m not going to break my neck for this particular shot. The recent mudslides have carried away the easier access points, so it was nice to look at, but we had to move on.
Next we hit my number one. Garrapata Beach. The history here really pulls at my heart, and shooting in this area means many things to me. The last time I was here a big storm had come through and the beach was completely gone, there was maybe 30 feet below the cliffs to the waters edge. The stairs had been destroyed so you had to access the beach from the north side of Doud Creek which hits the beach. None of the recognizable rock formations I was familiar with were there, I thought they had been damaged or destroyed in the storm. What I learned this year was the beach was gone, but the rock formations were still there, they were just so much farther up you couldn’t see them. The beach this year was actually so high and deep that my favorite formation was not just viewable but easily accessible. When I shot it before I had to climb or hail mary to get the camera angle, now the footprint was at waist level. I was extremely happy to see something I thought to never see again. Learning how the coastline can change so drastically from year to year was a great bonus. (I’m a Colorado girl, I don’t know this stuff!)
They built a beautiful new staircase to access the main beach, and we walked it all the way to the Doud Creek outlet. Here I was not so happy. The creek was so incredibly overgrown it was hardly accessible and the water running down the canyon couldn’t even be seen. We hiked in to the staircases, and up the south case to get back to the car but it was obvious we wouldn’t be shooting the creek as I had been thinking about for the past two years. This is what scouting is for. So we found one location I thought was gone, and two I thought would be great but wouldn’t work at all.
Doud Creek Before and today:
The thing is it was so overgrown I couldn’t even get very far back into the valley, and it was not just overgrown by lilies and other wildflowers but by poison oak, which I did run into at some point. Not too badly. But I had to see how far we could get. Anyway it was obvious the creek was basically out for the style I wanted to shoot there, so we moved on, it was about time to head to Oakland and grab Derek do we could drive back to Monterey for a sunrise near Garrapata.
More on that later.
The importance of scouting, particularly in the natural world should be evident here. I gained one site but lost two.