On September 9th I joined a local photographer based out of Des Moines on an early morning adventure utilizing the light from the sun. Previously I observed him successfully chasing the low setting fog with the sun shining ever so slightly as it greets the horizon. He posted one evening that if anyone was interested in joining him on one of the whimsical adventures to contact him and so I immediately did. He was a very reserved and from what I gathered honest individual so the chance of getting abducted and chopped into sausage seemed impossible. I set my alarm for 5:30 put the A7 on the charger, made sure I had a clear memory card and got some sleep.
I woke up on the 9th doing my normal rituals before exiting the house, ill prepared for the tall vegetation we would experience I decided to wear shorts. I sweat and unless it is 60 degrees I refuse to wear jeans, this would soon get the best of me. We met at the meet up spot, I located the photographer Justin Meyer (http://www.justinsalemmeyer.com) (https://www.facebook.com/justinsalemmeyerphoto) and the silohuettes of what I presumed were the subjects for the day, unsure of what was about to happen I hastily grabbed my camera bag and indulged in small talk as I made my way to the vehicle. Moments later we departed!
So I introduced myself formally to the two females in the back of the vehicle and instantly conversation took off as if the four of us always got coffee and set out on adventures. Instantly I felt like I was in the right place at the right time, as a majority of people were just crawling out of bed we were set out to do magical things with no true results in mind. It was something that I had not done in a while, I was so overwhelmed with weddings and work that I had failed to find the time to shoot without a true purpose and to just experiment and see where I was taken. We arrived at a small spanish church that if you asked me to show you on a map where it was I would point to the South side of Des Moines and say "there" we then crossed the street and entered a wooded area that is a portion of one of the many parks in Des Moines. Remember my genius idea to wear shorts? This is where I regretted that decision, Justin the genius that he was wore boots that screamed adventure as this was no doubt not his first rodeo. Kadira and Amina instantly followed behind Justin as I hesitantly tried to recall what poison ivy looked like, Justin shoots with Nikon so I tip my hat to him as he donned a single lens which I believe was a Sigma Art but I can't be certain as I was too busy noting his tendencies and very few quips he was agile and very attentive to detail as he composed his shots, rather than firing the shutter 15 times every 30 seconds you would sparingly hear the shutter fire knowing that when he elected to push down on the button to capture what he envisioned. He didn't even question whether or not to join Kadira atop a fallen tree that laid horizontally 10 feet above the ground.
We moved further into the woods and the adventure continued, overwhelmed and happy to finally be awake at sunrise I timidly continued to follow the clan as they proceeded on as I questioned if we knew where we were going. Justin however had scouted the area the evening before and noted that he discovered an epic tree. It was a majestic tree with numerous branches that definitely would tell some amazing stories if given the opportunity. As we proceeded on we encountered 3 deer that were not even startled by our presence it was a moment of tranquility to see wildlife fearless and minding their own business as we proceeded to mind our own. I stopped briefly as Amina gently crossed off the beaten path towards the deer and for a moment I felt that she was almost able to touch them. Sure enough they finished with their early morning feast and slowly headed in the opposite direction. If the sunrise didn't already induce a smile the presence of wildlife surely did.
We eventually made our way to an open area with a pond and freshly cut grass where a few more portraits managed to occur including one of myself despite have all sorts of seeds on my lightly dampened shirt. I followed a few swift instructions from Justin and then once again we were off. We made our way back to his vehicle and would make a journey to what seemed like a giant petting zoo. He told me about the donkey farm, pointed out camels, peacocks, and we even observed a zebra (again if you asked me to take you to the location I would spend hours trying to remember where it was, all I knew was that we were on the southern side of Des Moines which appeared even more remote). We would make two more stops to shoot, although brief as the bugs were atrocious and mosquitoes were out in full force we still managed to have an enjoyable morning. I made three new contacts, got out with my camera, saw the sunrise and enjoyed studying and casually taking photographs in a pressure free atmosphere. I look forward to another adventure with Justin and the opportunity to work with Kadira and Amina again as I will feel less timid and more comfortable with the adventures once again. I always enjoy the unexpected and the results were quite successful for such a brief outing. Hopefully you enjoyed my post midnight story telling and at least understood some of it, if it didn't make sense then just admire the photos. Justin is a very talented individual and brings a unique aesthetic to the photography realm when the number of photographers is constantly on the rise.
Everything doesn't have to be about competition or jealousy, sometimes it is even more pleasant to embrace the work of another individual and just enjoy their company and engage in meaningful conversation. I am always willing to join others for such adventures and hope to bring you more stories of my collaborations with other artists both in the Des Moines and Twin Cities markets.
More to come soon!