I met Mike T. through another of my Hawaii models, Kaimana (they work together). He came to my studio for an interview in late July and I shot some test photos of him. To be truthful, I really didn’t need the test photos to know I wanted to work with Mike. He has an amazing body, and a great smile as well. Plus, he was punctual and polite! We talked about what kind of photo shoots I do, I showed him the release forms, and we agreed we wanted to work together. We scheduled a photo shoot for the following week.
I chose to use the same location I used for my shoot with Kaimana. It’s a rocky coastline on Oahu’s southeast side, not far from Makapuu Point. The area is one of the few beaches near Honolulu which is more often deserted than not. I wanted to shoot as early in the morning as possible. I arrived at 6:45am and Mike showed up about 7, which was a little later than I’d wanted, but still worked out perfectly well…the light was really nice.
We hiked a little ways into the deserted beach area and I started shooting right away. I started with a series of Mike taking off his boardshorts, putting them on again, then repeating, repeating, repeating while I shot every possible angle. At one point I had him folding his boardshorts, too.
We hiked a bit farther in and found some rocks that offered a good setting. I had Mike lay one of my beach towels over the rocks and sit down, while I moved around him and captured every possible angle. (Sometimes I go home after a photo shoot and just fall into bed…one of the reasons is that I am constantly in motion, not wanting to miss any possible shot, which means I am always circling the model.)
This was one of the best and most enjoyable photo shoots I’ve done in a long time. The light was ideal, as was the setting. And the model, spectacular. Mike looks good from just about any angle, and he’s very easy to work with. Friendly, unassuming, sweet in a very masculine way. And he was surprisingly at ease right from the start. Often it takes a little while before I get the model to relax, but Mike seemed to trust me right from the start, which made things much easier—and allowed me to get some great shots right from the beginning of the shoot.
And as great as the initial shots were, things just got better and better as Mike got more relaxed and I got more warmed up and inspired. I love Mike’s looks, and the camera loves him too—almost every shot I took was a good one!
The area we were shooting in offered lots of variety—beach, rocks, water, mountain backdrops—and I took advantage of as many as I could manage to in the time we had. I also had some new equipment which gave me a great advantage in terms of how much material I was able to shoot. Usually I use a 1 or 2 gigabyte card in my camera—that gives me either 250 or 500 shots per card. But the day before the shoot I went to the camera store to see if there were new cards available with more memory. To my surprise, they now have an EIGHT-gigabyte card for my camera! So I bought one. This was a terrific investment. It meant that I was able to shoot constantly for 2 and a half hours without having to stop to change the memory card. I did have to stop and change the battery once—but that’s the only time I had to stop shooting to deal with equipment stuff. And the 8-gig card turned out to be the perfect size. The card ran out of memory just as I ran out of energy. I wound up with over 2200 hi-resolution photos.
We were fortunate because there was nobody anywhere near, so we were able to work uninterrupted from 7am until about 930. Theoretically I can shoot for as many hours as I want—usually the model is willing—but I’ve found that 2 and a half hours is near the maximum before I start fading. I find I expend a surprising amount of energy during a photo shoot because of how intensely I’m concentrating.
And now, the next phase of my work (my profession/hobby/fun) begins…turning these glorious photos into glorious drawings and paintings. The afternoon after the photo shoot (after taking a nap!), I began the first drawing of Mike. You’ll see it soon, along with many others to follow.