'It always amazes me how fast the time flies by during our photo shoots in Utah. Perhaps it is the feeling of wanting more that creates the desire to do it again. We’ve already begun thinking about next year’s trip into the wilds of Utah!'
One of things I am most thankful for is the ability to head to Utah each year, (at least virtually) with amazing photographers and models. For the last five years, I have been lucky to be able to share images,stories, tales and adventures from the yearly photographic journey. It started with just Gordon Nebeker shooting one model, but quickly turned into three (and even 4) photographers shooting multiple models The last few years it has been three and three with Gordon along with Mike Tossy and Studio MG photography generously sharing the visual results of their time in the Beehive state.
I have always struggled with how to present the many images from the Utah shoot. With three photographers and three models I want to ensure each image is given it's due. To me, the mix of the male form, with the sky, mountains and natural masterpiece that is Utah create more than just great photographs. Each image that I choose is a blend of breathtaking beauty, artistry, color and naked splendor. This year I am separating the images by artist and will be featuring them over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.
'By now many of our friends have stopped asking "why Utah?" when I announce that Mike and I are returning again this year. If they've seen the past photos they know the answer. If they are photographers they ask if they can come along. Otherwise if someone does ask I tell them how the landscapes of Utah are oversized and oversaturated and around every corner there are wonderful surprises awaiting discovery. Add to that mix the great looking guys we bring along and it is a recipe for an amazing photographic adventure like no other!'
'I anticipated enjoying the photography and the boating, but was slightly concerned about being "trapped" in the tight confines of a houseboat with 3 guys I didn't know. I shouldn't have been worried - the three models were great!'
Thanks to Gordon, Mike and Mark for sharing their images and thoughts, and to the models; Jacob, Patrick and Nathan, who you'll get to know much better over the next few days. Gordon has promised me that if I ever join them on one of their Utah adventures, he'll give me a light, a reflector or something... to hold. I'll be sure to let you know if that ever happens...
When I was a kid we had an annual autumn ritual of all piling in the car and heading to the country. Although I currently live in an area surrounded by fields, farms and cows, I grew up in a city and hanging around a farm was something I loved and looked forward to. The trip was always the same, fights with my brothers in the back seat, stern warnings from my mother from the front. We stopped at least once with my father telling us if we didn't stop fighting we would have to walk home.
My excitement grew the further we got from the city. The views changed from brick and glass buildings to rolling fields, barns and livestock. The day was always the same. We picked apples, stopped at farm markets for whatever was in season, hit a pumpkin field and stopped for lunch. Although we begged every year to go to a restaurant, my mom always packed sandwiches, and a warm tin of name brand pop, with a freshly picked apple for desert. One year we stopped for an ice cream on the way home which for my parents, was a big deal.
I am not sure what I would have done back then if I had come across a naked Hansel Wellington while running through a barn, but I can always fantasize... In September, when Lights On Studio's Tom Nakielski sent on images for a favorites piece, (Ray Of Light) one of the shots was a incredible image of Hansel leaning on a bale of hay. In addition of course to Hansel, there was a foreboding beauty in the shot from the light, darkness and clouds in the sky. It looked a little bit like a certain Kansas sky prior to storm and pony tailed girls trip to Oz. It also reminded me a bit of my days visiting the country and had e quickly contacting Tom and Hansel about piece.
The images seemed perfect for the holiday and given I featured a previous shoot from Tom and Hansel last Christmas, it seemed appropriate to feature their work together on Thanksgiving. This was Toms third session working with Hans and they shot at the Michigan State University Sheep Teaching and Research Center and at the rolled haystacks in a MSU cow pasture. The location get many visitors, who come out to tour the barns which both Hansel and Tom say added a bit of risk 'excitement' to the day.
'I had a great time modeling for those photos. The shoot was really fun, but definitely daring. "Technically" it was private land but next to main public roads. Cars kept going by and I either had to pull my pants up or get out of view in a hurry. The hay was fun to climb up, but you don't want it poking bare skin which I was completely bare against most of the time. I loved the whole farm theme, back to the basics of living and being sexual. Nothing is hotter then being naked in a pair of work boots on the farm. I was definitely inspired by Dean Phoenix , he had done some amazing photos on a farm. (also a porno) I have worked with Tom for several years now and I have always enjoyed the opportunity to model for him. I know the images will turn out great and I will get some classy and erotic photos. I am always up for whatever challenges he is excited to try as a photographer to get amazing photographs.'
'We took the chance that there would not be anyone there. Hansel is great to work with. He is creative and relaxed in front of the camera. Almost getting caught did get the adrenaline going... did not want to get fined for indecent exposure. After finishing shot in the barn and getting ready to leave I noticed rolls of hay in the cattle field across the road. I have always wanted to do a session in rolls of hay. Hansel was willing to go for it. The rolls of hay were more out in the open and there were cars going by the road but we were far enough away that people wouldn't see us unless they were very alert. Hansel is always willing to take a chance when we do location shoots. On several occasions on different sessions he had to quickly get dressed when we were aware of people coming. The element of getting caught always make the sessions a bit more exciting. Perhaps it is the exhibitionist element that makes the location sessions seem more dangerous.'