Fire on the Mountain with Inna

Some time ago, during the waning days of summer, Inna and I spent a day wandering the mountains and taking photos. I had pretty much everything with me, including an off camera lighting setup, but was really hoping to not have to use it.

Fortunately I had a good friend and an assistant who was able to come along and hold reflectors and scrims which helped immensely in this goal. Also the fact that it was raining off and on pretty much made it impossible to use the lights anyway. This is the mountain west of the United States; Utah to be exact. The old adage of “if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes” was very much in play.

For most of the day it was a mix of rainy, cloudy, cold, bright and sunny, and warm.

Whatever Mother Nature threw at us, we just made it work.

We started the day off by meeting at the studio at noon where Inna and I jumped into the truck while Brant–good friend and assistant–followed us to a local coffee shop. A day’s driving is always best when started off with coffee. I love the light in this place and I often times start off these lifestyle/editorial day long excursions here.

Inna in the coffee shop
ISO 160, Sigma 24-70 2.8 Art, f2.8, 1/250

After taking a few photos at the coffee shop–onlookers taking it all in–we finally headed up to the mountains through rainy and dreary weather.

By the time we got to the location which is about a 40 minute drive, it started coming down real hard. Hard enough in fact that we ended up just staying in the truck for about a half hour until it stopped enough for us to not get entirely soaked.

On the path.
ISO 100, 85mm, f1.8, 1/5000

Once the weather cleared it turned beautiful quickly with fairly heavy cloud cover and some great intermittent light.

On the bench
ISO 100, 85mm, f1.8, 1/2000

One of the challenges in quickly moving cloud cover is that the light is constantly changing. But patience pays. Take your time and the light will come. Just be ready to take the shot when it does.

Inna against the fence.
ISO 100, 85mm, f2.2, 1/1250
Inna on the bridge.
ISO 100, 85mm, f2.2, 1/2500

As Inna wandered across the bridge, we decided to wrap up this leg of the journey and head to another location. Besides, it was getting a little crowded.

Inna against the rail.
ISO 100, 85mm, f1.8, 1/8000

By the time the above shot was taken, the midday sun was coming out full force. A lot of photographers hate midday sun. Not me. I love it.

We loaded up and drove further up into the mountains. By this time the sun was pretty much directly overhead and I opted to use both a scrim and a reflector to help control it. Inna did a quick change, and we grabbed a bag full of clothes and headed out into an amazing meadow.

Sitting in the meadow
ISO 100, 85mm, f2.0, 1/640

In case you can’t tell, I love shooting with an 85mm lens.

Inna is a wild child.
ISO 100, 135mm, f1.8, 1/4000

But nothing beats a 135mm lens for a shot like the one above. I love the wild child vibe that Inna has going here.

Inna with fur.
ISO 100, 135mm, 1.8, 1/4000
Inna on the rock.
ISO 100, 135mm, f1.8, 1/2500

Time for another change-up.

Inna with a motorcycle jacket
ISO 100, 135mm, f1.8, 1/3200
Inna tiger stripes.
ISO 100, 85mm, f2.5, 1/640

This is an example of having a good collaborative team on shoots. We were getting ready to call it a day and head back to the truck, but really wanted to get one more look in. We were all a little tired by now. Brant, my assistant, came up with an idea, “Why not have her throw her jacket at the camera?

Sounds awesome to me. Let’s do it. I’m always willing to listen to any ideas that someone on the team has.

The photo below is about as carefree as it gets.

Inna doesn't need clothes.
ISO 100, 85mm, f2.5, 1/400

This (below) was the last shot I took of the day. Let’s go celebrate!

Inna fashion
ISO 100, 85mm, f2.5, 1/1000

Model: Inna Taylor

Assistant: Brant Gibbons

Photography © Daniel Medley 2021

Gear used: Sony a7R IV, Sony 135mm G-Master, Sony 85mm 1.8, Large Lastolite 5 in 1 reflector, large scrim.