Paradise with Olya

Puerto Rico truly felt like paradise being far away from everyone we know, no plans, no agenda, just exploring together with a tote full of new outfits, few camera lens, and a rental car with no destination. I planned for weeks on outfits and matching accessories and couldn’t wait to put them on the model and photograph her somewhere exotic! Our adventures started at the amazing bed and breakfast in San Juan by the ocean. It was a mini paradise by itself, with open arches and gates, foliage, plenty of natural light, and two adorable golden retrievers. The decor of the bedroom also lent itself to some very sexy photos. We ended the day with an evening shoot at Luquillo beach. What an exciting feeling to be alone in the quiet and calm bay as the sun sets, like a giant bathtub for the model and I to play in.

The next morning would start before the sun came back up as we walked down to the beach waiting for the sky to 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 give 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.

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5 Comments Paradise with Olya

  1. Pablo Angel May 8, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Excellent work, beautiful model, i admire each of your photos, hopefully one day i reach a photographic level like yours…

  2. Darren Chan May 12, 2014 at 1:03 am

    You see Mr. Yang, as a violinist, I am able to watch the great masters of the 20th century play their violins on YouTube and dissect every muscle twitch to improve my own playing. With your work, I only have the awe and wonder of the perfection of your images. How is it so crisp? So vibrant? I don’t even know what it is about your lighting that causes me to melt. I stare at your pictures for hours trying to figure out your magic and attempt to recreat them myself. If only I had the slightest idea. This is truly great work!

  3. Tony Yang May 12, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Hi Darren, I am extremely flattered by your comment! I have a few techniques that I stick with, but the trick is simplicity. I love to work with natural light, and avoid complicated methods of light modification or secondary lights at all. Second, while I do have two decades of retouching experience, I still make sure to keep the look as simple and clean as possible, which means the color tone of the image is one natural color, easy on the eyes. Having a collection of Canon L glass doesn’t hurt either for sharpness!

  4. Ken May 23, 2014 at 8:18 am

    I’m just getting into photography and was curious how to get the lighting you got for the beach picture with the sun again her back and setting, when I try that it either becomes a silhouette or the sun is crazy bright. Any tips, should I use my speed flash? Or reflectors?

  5. Tony Yang May 24, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Hi Ken, the only way to get the model lit up correctly with the sun behind is with a fill flash. While a direct on-camera flash might not look the best with glare, a remotely triggered light off to the side looks the most natural like the photos in this post. I used a Canon Speedlight 580EXII with PocketWizard triggers.

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