Four Years…FOUR YEARS!!!!….I cannot believe that was the last time I worked with the beautiful and talented Sarah Ellis, and in the majestic Northwest. I have missed her intelligence, goofy grace, geekiness…and, of course, her talented modeling skills. The Northwest landscape is my favorite place to be with its lush green and overwhelming features. Four years ago, we toured Western WA and created some memorable images in the Hoh Rain Forest, abandoned forts and several Pacific Beaches while battling vampires and werewolves near Forks (aka Twlightsville) . On this visit, we explored a variety of scenic wonders in Oregon – from a replica of Stonehenge on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River, through waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge to about every Pacific coast beach from West Oswald State Park to the tip of Oregon at Ft. Stevens - with massive sea stacks, cliffs, fog, tidal pools, ship wreck remnants, and old growth forests.
We were not having much luck shooting nudes on the beaches because of the crowds. But we did get some stunning swimsuit shots as a Plan B (future posts). So, on our last day, we decided to hit a beach early in the morning in an attempt to at last capture some nude beach shots. We headed through hills with cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean to Smuggler’s Cove in West Oswald Park. This location had its own microclimate. You can be driving in sunshine one minute and then suddenly find yourself in dense fog with a corresponding temperature drop that just seems to hover in the immediate area. We were rewarded with our first ray of hope seeing the parking lot at at the beach trailhead almost empty. To get to the beach, you hiked almost a half mile along a creek through a dense green and mossy old growth forest with massive Spruce trees, and then have to climb over a log jamb at the end of the trail guarding the entrance to the beach. It starts out as a pebble beach, then turns into a wide expanse of sand with the cove surrounded at each end by high cliffs and a series of rock outcroppings extending into the ocean.
Our next ray of hope was just a few surfers were around….and they were more interested in the waves than Sarah’s curves. OK, well, MAYBE they were interested, but they didn’t bother us The light was perfect with a layer of fog at tree top level acting as a natural schrim for the morning sunshine. We started shooting near the rock outcroppings where the waves were breaking. But the phenomena known as “sneaker waves” (i.e., quickly going from low tide to a higher tide within one or two wave cycles) pushed us closer up the baech.
I like to think the Sneaker Waves were the Photo Gods way of gently pushing us to find the spot where the attached set of images was created. I love the large gray boulders with green, rubbery sea vegetation, barnacles and mossy green rocks that accentuate Sarah’s pale skin to make her pop from the gray and green surroundings. Then Sarah does her magic of beautifully weaving her form among the rocks and sand to create something fabulous. As my most excellent creative partner, Sarah reminded me that I wanted to get some bodyscapes. We captured a beautiful one in this set with her wedged between some rocks. I am always focused on the eyes and face trying to capture the person rather than just body parts. So, more than likely, I always complete a shoot and forget one of my goals is the capture more anonomous images.
There will be much more to share from the Tour d’Oregon avec Sarah, including artistic nudes, swimwear and glamour. The four year Sarah drought as been quenched and my cup overfloweth!