Growing up in Borneo, I am familiar with dense rain forest. Learned a lot about it when I was on Boys Brigade’s expeditions. We wielded machetes and had leeches sucking us dry as we tried to navigating through 10km of it. I was certain dehydration and exhaustion would eventually kill me. Helpful officers and more experienced BB members pulled me through.
Gotta deflate the tires before you get into the desert to gain more traction. You’ve gotta inflate it again before you get into normal roads. While deflating takes a few minutes. Inflating all four tires took over 30 mins!
Now, a desert is the exact opposite of a rainforest. It’s barren and dry. Every direction you look, the desert looks the same. Perhaps the only similarity it shares with a rainforest. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to shoot in a desert. Russell, my assistant during GPP week, pulled some strings and got a fleet of 4WD to get us to the nearest desert in Dubai. Immediately after finishing my Photo Friday lecture, we left for the desert. It was already 4pm.
Got to the desert at 5:15pm. Sun sets at 6pm. We had 45 minutes to find a spot, setup lights and shoot. Well, Gregory Heisler would complain that’s too much time. Yet having zero experience working in the desert, it posed a challenge.
My gear of choice was the Elinchrom Quadra & the 39″ Deep Throat Octa. It was a massive task to keep the softbox in place with strong wind beating against us. Two guys held down the Octa on a c-stand. Shot with two bodies (D3 with 70-200mm & D700 with 14-24mm) as changing lenses in the desert is OUT OF QUESTION!
Radhicka weaved her magic in front of the camera and I just fired away. Elinchrom Skyport chose to misbehave causing an unusual amount of misfires. So I was battling an unreliable radio system, foreign environment and surging adrenaline. Just dug in and made the best of it.
When the sun set, it was as if someone flicked the light switch. It went pitch dark very quickly. There wasn’t much of after glow. The desert became a very cold place very quickly. Thank you Radhicka for being such a trooper & Russell for making first desert shoot come true!