About this time last year, I was hatching plans that would be worthy of the effort that Mysha (of Remington Avenue) would pour into her session. This girl does NOTHING half way, if you follow Mysha on Instagram (@remingtonavenue), or read her blog www.remingtonavenue.com, you’ll understand what I mean. She seems to have boundless energy for big home projects and has made her home a work of art, room by room. I wanted to dream up something to go with the vision she had for her brand, so the session needed to be different and stand out. Sooo….I pitched the idea of taking the Snowbird gondola up to one of the highest points of Utah mid-January, knowing she’d have toddlers in tow and might be in heels. Sound crazy? Probably, but with proper planning and a client willing to put in the work, I knew I could make it work. I scouted the location out while skiing; evaluating light, accessibility, and how to manage the cold. There is a lodge there, so we could take breaks and warm up, we could shoot right where the gondola lets off with a gorgeous view, and I knew I could make the light work with my assistant holding the reflector. Lighting under those conditions is TRICKY, I’ll share some thoughts on that as well. Here’s a few things that made this shoot possible:
- We stayed flexible on shoot dates. I knew this session would be jaw dropping if we could get a bluebird day, really sunny and super blue skies with almost no clouds, The weather changes on a dime up there, so if we started driving up there on a semi-cloudy day, it could be a blizzard before we even reached the gondola. So we chose a tentative day, knowing we may need to reschedule. I also used the live weather camera online to check on the weather at the ski resort, because with my job I’ve learned not to trust the weather man.
- I brought hand warmers! It was maybe 10-20 degrees at best and windy, so having hand warmers bought me a few extra minutes with the littlest tot.
- Mysha brought a helper. She knew the kids probably wouldn’t last, so when they were tired out (aka couldn’t feel any fingers) I could spend some time with her and her hubby while the kids warmed up.
- I brought an assistant with a huge reflector. You have to shoot with the sun high in the sky, because you have to finish shooting before the gondola closes. The snow acts as a natural reflector but it’s not enough to compensate for the harshness of the light that time of day. The combination of both was just right. Just make sure whoever you bring has a STRONG GRIP (and a strong desire to hold on, lol), that reflector could have blown off the mountain several times and holding on to it creates enough pull to drag you a few feet. Luckily I had Hannah of @Hannahminerphoto with me who knows how to work a reflector and despite her petite frame, had a death grip on my reflector.
- To get that super classic everyone-looking-and-smiling image, I scouted a spot at the base where we weren’t freezing and being blown around to grab that shot at the end.
- We felt comfortable standing out. The gondola unloads right where you have to shoot, and you can imagine with their family dressed nicely, plus a big reflector and me holding a giant camera, we turned a few heads to say the least! I was so focused though, I couldn’t have cared less what anyone was thinking.
This shoot was a high-risk/high-reward type of shoot. But with proper planning and experience, I was confident we could make it happen. So take a look at these, all the planning and effort paid off. You’ll recognize a couple of these from the header of my website.
ALL images are the property of Lexi Rae Photography and Remington Avenue and may not be used without express permission from both parties. (i.e. don’t be lame and steal my images, thank you!!)
Utah Family Photographer
Utah County, Salt Lake City, UT