Flowers in the Stream

As expected for one of the most biologically diverse countries on the planet, Colombia has lush locations for photoshoots. On this June afternoon deep in a forest, conditions were perfect: dappling sun through breezy trees, good water-level and temperature not too cold. And not a crocodile in sight.

Laden with equipment, the team and I had walked twenty minutes along a muddy track, of which I had not warned them. I was in luck. Nobody moaned to the mean photographer for the surprise trek.

Once settled beside the stream, Valeria, the makeup artist, got to work with the model, Carol. I scouted the shady river and lined up the shots. This was easy, as I had been there before and had visualised the best locations. Prior reconnaissance is a boon to all and makes you look like you know what you’re doing.

Eventually, the make-up was done, and Carol looked fantastic. The hat added a great finish to the look. “Jump in then,” I said in my version of Spanish which was soon translated and understood. The scene merged before our eyes in all its splendour, ready to be captured. I jumped in and sat down waist-deep, barking bad Spanglish grammar.

Knee-deep beside me, Eduardo stood holding the flash, and I hoped the nagging mosquitos wouldn’t make him drop it into the water. Perhaps I should’ve sprayed him down with repellent beforehand, I thought.

This was one of those scenes that give you a thrill when you look through the lens. It looked right from the start. The flowers were thrown into the water and photographed in different positions, then later adjusted in Photoshop to make them bigger and more prominent.

It took us less than ten minutes to get the shot. Fortunately so, because a few minutes later the rain came lashing down, such is the changeable weather in a tropical climate. We hid beneath giant leaves and I rushed to keep my gear dry.

Later on the computer, I counted the mosquito on Carol’s thighs. I was impressed. She didn’t complain at all, which is all part of the professionalism of a good model. There’s a ‘spot-cleaning’ tool on Photoshop, but next time I’ll pack the repellent.