In the Pacific Northwest we have every kind of landscape you can imagine. Lush forests are plentiful. Beautiful coast lines with epic cliffs and wide spread beaches are easy to find. Lakes, rivers, and waterfalls are a dime a dozen. Most people know this. However, what few people associate the Pacific Northwest with are deserts. Big deserts. Believe it or not, but we’ve got lots of those too.
I don’t conduct photo shoots in the desert very often for one primary reason – it’s hot. I’m not a fan of the heat for so many reasons. Never mind my own personal reasons, chiefly among them being the fact that my skin goes straight from pale to lobster red sun burn, working in direct and hot sunlight can be a serious pain. Harsh shadows, sweaty miserable models, and extreme difficulty working with my favored shallow depth of field. During this entire shoot I was measuring my film at ISO 25 and I was still stopping all the way down to f/8! For the non-geeky photography crowd reading this, let’s just say that means the light was incredibly bright.
Thankfully Floofie’s attitude about such things is the exact opposite of mine. Floofie loves it warm. Over the years I’ve made her suffer plenty on cold mornings, rainy days, and in windy fields. When I asked her to do a photo shoot in the desert I seem to recall the most enthusiastic “YES!” I have ever heard her say. So hey, if one person on this little adventure was going to suffer at least it was me.
I brought along a stash of 35mm film on this particular day because I knew the bright direct sun in the desert would make switching out rolls of medium format quite difficult. I’ve become spoiled by overcast skies and shady spots are difficult to come by when there is nothing around you but sand, sky, and the occasional burnt out tree. The resulting grainy images from tiny 35mm frames ended up matching well with the gritty sand of the surrounding landscape.