Cuban Waterfall Trek - Caitie (2017)
As part of scouting locations around Trinidad, Cuba in 2017 with the model Caitie, we had quite the adventure one day hiking / shooting in the mountain jungles to explore one waterfall. I had hired a guide to drive us from Havana to Trinidad, then Cienfuegos and back to Havana. I had certain locations I had researched beforehand that he assisted with transportation to get there, as well as suggest other locations. It was threatening rain as our guide negotiated the narrow winding dirt and potholed road up into the mountains to the trailhead. As we began the hike, a light rain began to fall. We had our rain gear, so decided to keep going. The further we hiked the harder the rain fell until the small rock strewn trail became an impromptu steam. Both being stubborn and hoping for the best, we persevered. With the rain and my slowness the trek took us about 1.5 hours to reach the falls. As we hiked through thick jungle down into the gorge where we heard the roaring falls, we go our first glimpse of our destination. With the hard rain, the falls were raging! And then the Foto Gods rewarded us with stopping the rain as we arrived! It is arduous shoots like this day that I am always overwhelmed with pro models and their strong desire and ability to shrug off adverse conditions, roll around in the mud, get soaking wet all in the name of creating art and doing anything within reason to "get the shot". Based on these images, you would never guess that we hiked 1.5 hours through humid, rain drenched jungle and were soaking wet. Our goal was to shoot swimsuit fashion images, art nudes if possible. In these situations you need to be respectful of your guide and possible locals so you do not offend their values, or get them in trouble with authorities if caught. We started shooting the swimsuit images. It was a challenge as my lens was constantly fogging up from the humidity. I was worried as the images were looking soft....but in the end I enjoy how they turned out after editing. Just by happenstance, we discovered our guide was an artist. Seeing an opportunity, I told him we were interested in shooting nudes, and if he would be offended, or get into trouble for allowing us. He laughed and said no problem as he assists other visiting artists do the same. He said he would hike up the trail to give us privacy and also serve as lookout. And before the day was over, he had made many suggestions about where we could safely shoot art nudes at remote beach locations the next day. Yay, Foto Gods! I am blown away by the art nudes we shot here with Caite's artistry shining through the damp and her creamy complexion, dark green surrounding, wet boulders and even lighting from overcast skies making for some memorable images. After shooting for an hour, we started the trek back. It never rained while creating....but started again on our return trip. Before we finished the hike, I got to experience the hardest and most rain I have ever seen in my life. We drove to a restaurant in the mountains afterwards for dinner. We were the only guests and were seated in a large outdoor covered patio. The rain was so hard and windy that it was soaking the entire massive patio, blowing through bamboo shades drawn to protect us. We retreated to the interior of the kitchen to finish our dinner with a little table they set up for us in the kitchen...and enjoyed drinking, eating and conversing with the staff and our our guide.