I love heading to the beach no matter what the temperature, no matter what the date and no matter what the season. The winter especially turns what many consider a summer playground, into a totally different, yet equally beautiful experience. Although there are many who flock to the shore only in the summer, they really are missing out on the full breadth of what the location has to offer. It is almost surreal, but yet a beautiful paradox, seeing snow and ice sliding over, even mocking, what many consider to be iconic signs of summer.
In the area of the world in which I live, you can pretty much predict what a beach day will be like in each month of the year...except maybe September. October and November are cool but still bright. The sun still shines, but the ocean prevents it from sharing any long lasting heat. From December through March, the beaches are rugged and dark, the sand ice cold and the waves rough and angry. In April, May and June the sun again heats the sand, but only the surface. It is a trick though as if you dig a little deeper, winter is still lurking, just under the top layer of warmth. July and August means the ocean has finally had enough time to warm enough to welcome the many bodies of all shapes and sizes that submerse themselves within.
Now September is a gamble. There are some days in which the beach has begun transitioning into winter, but there are other days, that the grip of summer still holds firm. This past weekend, the summer won out and I had one of my favorite beach days in a long while. The September sun is fierce, but it lacks the stamina of August. It shoots down sharply, but only able to really penetrate heat for a few short hours each afternoon. If you lie down low on the sand, low enough to escape the crispness just above you in the air, you can feel the sun glide over your skin and for a brief moment, it is summer again.
I had a few of those moments this past Saturday. They were quick, but intense. As soon as I sat up, or turned my head to talk, the mirage faded and it became Autumn. When my head was down, and my eyes were close, the people around were in bathing suits, swimming, playing and rubbing sun screen and lotion on their skin. When I raised my head up, I could see there were only actually a few people in the water, mostly just wading. Although there were a few brave souls still in bathing suits, moost people had on shirts, a few even in jackets and sweaters. It remained though, a perfect beach day.
It may be hard to imagine looking at these incredible images of Donny, that the day of this shoot was anything other than another perfect beach day. Donny's dazzling smile, glistening skin and incredible body seem created for beach days. It was obviously warm enough for Donny to take a dip, a quick one but... if you look a little closer you can see the sun isn't as bright as it should be and sky is cloud filled, even a little ominous looming in the background of some of the shots. The images of Donny from photographer Nathan Scott maybe pretty close to perfect, but the day... had it's challenges.
I have been loving featuring Nathan's work since first featuring his work this past Spring. Nathan's work and images kicked off the Summer season on FH with the 4th of July feature (Home Of The Brave,) so it seemed appropriate that Nathan's work helped close off the season as well. I love how that in many of the shoots I have featured thus far, Nathan has shared wonderful stories of props or locations that all came together to create incredible results. For the beach shoot with Donny, the great results were not because of the process so much as in spite of it!
The shoot took place in Rockwall, Texas at Lake Ray Hubbard. Nathan says that Donny used to work in real estate out in that area and knew some really great spots that were both secluded, but still provided access to the Lake. The shoot had multiple objectives including shooting images of Donny along with a female model for a campaign for handbag designer Vasaelini. Nathan was also shooting images for Blue Collar underwear and Donny with American flag for a shot for an article in Nathan's Pastiche magazine. With all of those goals he was juggling, Nathan also wanted to shoot some solo images of Donny on the beach meant to help him finish out his portfolio so it would be complete so he could begin to meet with agencies.
'Normally the water levels are so high that the metal dock that he posed against is right at water level. But since it was so dry we used that as a place to shoot under. The one's where he is hanging onto the rope and are in black and white was inspired by one of my photography idols David Brad Photography. I just really wanted to capture this moment of solitude and reflection. I couldn't decide if I wanted them in Black and White or in color, so I edited them in both.'
'The pictures with the boat were a true nightmare. We are about 20 minutes past call time and our female model had not showed. We call her and she gives us the excuse that her car broke down and it is getting towed, at this moment I was like I am so sorry let us come get you, and she was like no. Plus it is supposed to rain so I don't think the shoot should happen. So I am freaking out. The redhead model we ended up using lived at the apartment we were doing make-up and wardrobe at. We literally told her to shower and go through hair and make-up while we raided her closet for wardrobe. While this is happening the original model snap chats Donny and is now relaxing and hanging by the pool. Needless to say I was not happy at all.'
'When we get out to the lake, boat had broken down on the lake and the engine had flooded. So the boat does not work. The shots were actually captured with the boat hitched to a trailer and backed into the water on a ramp. So my next challenge was shooting, because everything was at a massive incline because we are floating in the water on a trailer hitch on the ramp. And I had to be careful of my surroundings so I did not capture that parking lot and all the non appealing things around us.'
With all of these obstacles, Nathan being the skilled professional he is, still managed to capture some sensational, and very strong captures for Donny's portfolio. Within these images, there is no rain on the way, no female model flaking off and that boat, it works perfectly. Within the images, the obstacles disappear. Like my my experience this past weekend, with my eyes closed and my body low, close to the ground... it is within the imagery, the perfect summer beach day.