In a previous post
I talked about practicing what I preach, and how I was going to slip myself into a tail and have Derek direct a shoot. He's never shot one, and he needs to learn how to do it. I also need to learn how it is to navigate in the tails, because I worry that I expect too much of clients and my direction may not be feasible with how tricky it can be to move in these tails (and it really is! They're so tight!!). Friday morning, we set out to the location I have been wanting to do a mermaid shoot at since Derek and I hiked there together a few weeks ago. It's a waterfall location, and it's perfect not just because it's gorgeous, but also because when we move back to the mainland, the only water sources we'll have at our disposal are going to be lakes and waterfalls. I figure it's best to plan for the future and have waterfall shots under our belts by the time we get to where we're going...in two short months. What a bummer to be in countdown range of when I have to leave this beautiful place I've been lucky enough to call home for the last couple of years.
ANYWAY, back to Friday!
Friday morning, we woke up at 5am to throw our gear in the car and be ready for a 5:45 departure so we could be at the location trail head by 6:30, figuring on an hour and a half of hike and having good light, and the place relatively to ourselves, at 8am. It gives me no pleasure to tell you the following:
We left at 6:05
It was raining when we got to the location
The location was PACKED.
I am pretty sure footed, though I make jokes about my own clumsiness all the time. I never feel unsure about where to place my feet on ridgelines, I know how to maneuver and work with whatever the land under my feet is telling my body about it and adjust/react accordingly. I've been hiking since I was old enough to walk. Part of that is knowing when to not test nature, because she wins every time. I told Derek that I didn't like this weather for a shoot today, and I certainly didn't like the crowd. I wanted make a last minute change to somewhere less busy and less likely for any of us to get hurt on the way. The hike to the falls isn't complicated or difficult, but it can get VERY muddy, and there are bits of rock scrambling, and I just didn't want to mess with that on a day where conditions weren't great with an added person not on staff, carrying all of our gear, carrying a tail...it just seemed like a recipe for disaster. So after a five minute conversation, and after Derek and our hired second checked out the first bit of the trail, we decided to move locations.
There were about seven cars at the trail head when we left the parking lot, which, I cannot stress enough, is a LOT for a Friday, and for so early in the morning. We made a wrong turn heading to our new location, and had to turn around, which meant passing the trail head again. In the span of about fifteen minutes, another ten cars arrived, and we saw a group of easily ten ladies standing around at the trailhead getting ready to make their way to the falls. That would have been far too many people for me to feel comfortable with shooting in front of. I'll have to recount our shoot at another waterfall location, because Derek and I had a semi-private squabble about what to do when our shoot gets in the way of the location being enjoyed by others. Which had never happened until we started shooting at waterfalls, but I'll do that in a different blog.
We made the right call switching locations, but on the way there, I started having doubts about myself as a mermaid. I pleaded with Derek to get in the tail instead, that he'd make a far better mermaid today than I would, and...I couldn't believe it, but he relented. I have been pleading with him for a year to get in a tail and let me shoot him. Not only is my husband GORGEOUS, but we need more men in tails. I've gotten a few messages of interest about shoots from men that ultimately go nowhere ("Can straight men do this, too?" Fellas, is it gay to want to be a half fish person? More importantly, what about my messaging makes it sound like I don't want any particular demographic involved in mermaid shoots? I have to assume this is less about my marketing language and more about feeling insecure in their presentation of masculinity. OR it's a way to troll me and waste my time), so I want to make sure that men of all kinds are represented in our shoots. Representation is super important to me, and it's harder than you'd think to make sure you're including everybody in your marketing, because not everybody wants to be represented by somebody who...you know...is white, able bodied, cis gendered, straight passing, anything that could be photographed poorly or exploited by a non-member of any or all of those communities. It's not like straight people haven't had all of the luxuries of being well represented, even when they're poorly represented, but I guess that's the difficulty in inclusive marketing? I've got a lot to learn. I've strayed from the point, though.