I can't believe how quickly this summer has flown by. Here it is well into September already, and I'm still catching up with preview photos from mid-July!
Jessa Ray Muse is a traveling model who visited Portland and Seattle this summer from Colorado. I loved the look of her photos on Model Mayhem, with some magnificent figure work out of doors, so I took a chance and asked if she might consider coming out to Mount Rainier during her visit. Fortunately she agreed!
I already had plans to shoot with Astrid Kallsen on the Moraine Trail, but at sunrise, so when Jessa was available in the evening I thought it would be great to catch both ends of the day.
And what a fantastic evening it was! I wanted to reach the top of the trail right at sunset, so instead of going straight there, we stopped at a cluster of rocks on the way in. I had some great ideas for images, but Jessa also had a great eye and suggested places and poses that I hadn't yet noticed, which ended up being magnificent. For instance, I was so focused on shooting with Mount Rainier in the background that I didn't notice, till Jessa pointed it out, what awesome light and color and shadow was playing across one of the boulders to the side.
The light was gorgeous, and the wind was blowing pretty good across the moraine, whipping up sand, though we were mostly sheltered from it where we were. We had just enough breeze to keep the bugs down, an improvement over the shoot with Astrid the previous week. We were completely alone -- I love this trail because it is so beautiful and yet so lonely. It does take some expert hiking skills, as it's a steep and unmaintained trail with a lot of erosion. Jessa, fortunately, is an expert hiker, someone who has spent a lot of time hiking and backpacking. We chatted at length about her background, growing up in a family that camped out with the Rainbow Tribe, and her aspirations for leading photo tours with photographers, an enterprise she calls "Muses of the West." I would love to go out with her on one of these expeditions -- based on our time together, I'm sure it would be an amazing experience.
Speaking of which, ours continued to get more and more so the later in the evening it got. We finished at our boulders, and moved up the trail toward the high point, but got distracted by a miniature canyon through which a small stream was flowing, filled with moss and jagged rocks and panoramic views and a little waterfall. It was too beautiful to pass up. And in fact, so beautiful that every time we thought we'd found the best view, we'd see an even better one a little further along.
We were having such a productive evening that at one point I told Jessa that we really didn't have time to shoot at the high point of the trail any more, without going over the time I'd allotted to pay her for. But she said don't worry about it, we making such great photographic magic that she didn't mind going over time in order to get in all of the magnificent locations!
We ended up getting to the top of the trail just a few minutes late. I'd have liked to have captured the sun turning into a starburst as it disappeared over the far ridge with Jessa in the foreground, but despite our best efforts to hoof it up the steep trail, the sun was sinking beyond view before we could get stationed and ready to shoot. Nevertheless, the final shots in the blue light of evening shadows, with the Mountain still lit behind, were equally majestic.
All in all, a truly remarkable photo shoot, and a model I can't wait to work with again.