Color me a skeptic, someone who judges feasibility through a scientific mind, sees believability in reputable results… and then ask me to photograph the ad for the show Finding Bigfoot.
Skeptical cynicism aside, producing a photoshoot for a show that hunts a mythological creature was an idea that had never crossed my mind. Before seeing the comps, all I could think about was how much is it going to cost me to have a Sasquatch costume made or will it be easier to work with a CGI company for that? From there my mind drifted into the random abyss that it lives in, and I wondered, “I wonder if making a video of the bigfoot photoshoot is going to piss PETA off the way my River Monsters one did?”
Animal rights aside, I was pleased to see the comps for the shoot focused on what I do best, portraits. Admittedly, I have never seen the show, but the concept was interesting and the characters had personalities that would work well with the camera and some good lighting. Negotiations done, we headed out to Colorado to make it happen.
My career has shown me that I can work well in the squelching heat of an Arizona summer, the cold of Dutch Harbor, but I had never been tested when it came to altitude, 10,000 feet to be exact. Knowing that the air would be thin, we booked double the amount of assistants than I do for a regular shoot. I even thought it was overkill until the scout took me to the location for the first time and I ran back to the car only to wheeze for the next half an hour (my cardio is embarrassing).
On set the shoot was easy, sans the altitude. We had a cast that were interested in the shoot and brought beer (any celebrities reading this blog, bring beer to a shoot and you are pretty much the coolest person ever). The crew from Discovery was the same that had done the River Monsters shoot with me in Miami, and they were as cool as it gets. Being able to see the concept and client’s vision is one thing, but having art directors that appreciate the strengths and weaknesses that exist in photography can take a shoot to a higher level.
The shoot itself was a brisk cold that was very dry and went well into the next day, wrapping around 2 am. The cold, thin air was a different dynamic to work around as it was the first time I have ever had to shoot and then check to see how many of my strobe heads exploded so that they could be replaced. What made it even more comical was that the flood lights that we were using to search for the shattered glass from the strobes, shattered as well.
However, what always matters more than any broken gear or excess wheezing is that we get the shot and the client is happy. With both of these requirements fulfilled, we flew back to the warm weather and lower altitude that Arizona had to offer. Like it always is, I am nothing without those that helped me to make this happen, so Linas, Allison, Mary, Kerry, Mike, Chuck and Charles, this is your shoot and I am truly grateful to have created it with you.