The next morning would start before the sun came back up as we walked down to the beach waiting for the sky wake up right behind us. Later in the day while driving to Fajardo for our ferry ride to Vieques, we spotted a pony ranch on the side of the road. I always love random detours that gives us unexpected photo opportunities. The owner of the ranch was extremely helpful, making sure we got the ponies to do the poses we want and standing where we want. When we were done, he gave us a phone number for a friend of his in Vieques, just in case we needed anything – this would practically save us later in the day.
Upon taking the last ferry from Fajardo to Vieques, it was already evening when we arrived at the island, and due to low tourist season, there wasn’t a taxi in sight. I had no choice but to call the phone number given to me and see what he could do for us. Amazingly, this friend, Luis, is a driver for tourists and just happened to be a few minutes away and saved our evening by taking us to our B&B. We enjoyed his company and knowledge of the island so much we decided to cancel our rental car and hire him as our driver for the next day on the island while we shoot. He took us to all the best locations we might have never been able to find on our own, so I credit the Vieques photos to Luis. We visited the island’s four hundred year old tree, complete with vicious fire ants, secluded beaches, and access to a fort museum. Our last spot was a black sand beach. It would be a grueling hike to reach this secluded cove. I would have loved to spend more than just the quick forty five minutes we had there. Our amazing three day shoot would end here, as we packed up and took our redeye flight home the next morning. It was a trip I will never forget, and the photos will always remind me of these moments.
It’s always fun to shoot at a secluded beach without a single soul to disturb you. You can run around free and have the whole beach to yourself. One of my favorite recent discoveries is a beach in New York that was closed due to Hurrican Sandy and the abandoned structures were filled with sand. I may be sneaking in there more during off season. Phiorella did an amazing job being playful and sexy, and her gorgeous long hair makes you believe she is a beach goddess.
Maybe the next few series of warm photos will make you feel a little warmer in this winter weather. I have to thank my friend for recommending such a gem out from Los Angeles. Having a high energy, bubbly personality creates great interactions for me to capture. I am sure you want to know what almost got us in trouble.
It was early morning when we drove to Abalone Cove which is a public park/beach. There happened to be a film crew setting up the day for some production with two police offers on watch. All of this took place at the park on the cliff, while the model and I hiked down the cliff to the beach out of sight. We shot all around on the beach and in nooks and crannies against the cliff wall. The place was practically void of any souls all morning. We eventually started topless shots on the beach, and naturally I scan the area to make sure nobody was around. Above on the cliff I did notice two subjects in the distance, one seemed to be an officer with binoculars, so I’m sure he spotted us, but he didn’t stay there long.
After our little adventure we hiked back up the cliff to the parking lot, where we were greeted by the officers by our car. He said he normally would have come down to arrest us for what we did, but fortunately he had security duties for the production crew that day. When asked if it was because of photography, the officer said it was illegal for nudity on the public beach, and not to come back here again. No problem and thank you sir!
Here’s a tip I give photographers who aren’t sure about the rules of a location. Prepare your equipment and subjects before you’re in sight of the location, this way you’re ready to start shooting as soon as you get there. Just keep shooting as fast as you can. If someone is approaching you, keep shooting and pretend you didn’t see them coming, until they talk to you and ask you to stop. You can then say you didn’t know there was a restriction and move on.
This year has been fruitful with the amount of destination weddings and paid travels, although it’s not even over yet. Destination weddings are my favorite because they are both scenic and very low key, a perfect combination. My first stop this year was Grand Bahama, Bahamas. When I see a pool next to the reception area, I know there’s going to be some body-throwing-wet-clothing-drinking-pool action at the end of the night – I just pray nobody is drunk enough to push the photographer into the action.
I always provide the destination couple with an optional Trash the Dress session during the trip. Might as well make the most use of the dress and location while you’re there. Mad props to the bride who made the dive for the football at the end.
This was my first shoot with my Pocket Wizard Plus II and Canon Speedlite, which was setup on the beach with a small light stand. I only used the fill flash for the black swimwear, as I still do not like artificial light. The beach shots were shot with a Canon 24-70mm with a circular polarizer to darken the sky and minimize water reflection.
Jestina is one of the easiest models to work with and has a lot of experience. My style for the beach shoot was a mix of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit and black & white glamour nudes. She had no problems running around splashing in the water completely bare in front of local people. That’s what I call professional.