A Story of an Image...


There are a few reasons I love this shot so much. 

As a travel photographer I have been to many places with a diversity of climates and in this case altitudes. If you have ever been to Bolivia you will know what I mean. La Paz is the capital of Bolivia and it is also the highest elevation in the world when it comes to capital cities, 12,000 Feet (3,650 meters). Before I arrived I was well aware that I would have breathing issues because when I was in Cuzco, Salt Lake City and Quito I had altitude sickness. This was a tour group made up of many much younger people then me but I felt I could keep up with the kids and I did pretty good.

By the time we got to the Uyuni Desert we were already a few days into the trip and my breathing was getting more accustomed to the altitude. The photo was taken in July which is the dry season. When you first lay eyes on the salt flats you are just blown away by the flatness, the completely clear blue sky and white, white, white salt as far as the eye can see. Knowing that we were going to be out here in the open vast whiteness I wanted to come up with an idea of photographing in a unique way. The day before I went to the local flea market and purchased some balloons and some action figures for my shoot.

As we were driving along the desert we ended up making a few stops. First was for me to photograph my balloons. I got all 10 of us to blow up the balloons and release them at the same time into the air. They were all different colors against a bright blue sky and white base floor of salt. The photos came out amazing, I absolutely love them. My idea worked like a charm. For my second shoot I had to set up my little action figures in the salt. I was hoping that the floor would be a smoother surface to work with for me to set up the figures but it was extremely hard to get them all to stand up in the salt. The crystals are very hard, late in the day and extremely windy. Trying a number of times to set all of the figures up in a row I was unable to get Superman in the shot. He just wouldn't stand up for me. This shoot consisted of 2 shots. One with the Super Heroes facing me and the other one, this shot,  of Godzilla chasing the Super Heroes across the desert. I was on the ground lying on my stomach and ruined my shirt because of the salt. The dummy that I was, I was wearing a black pullover that got totally white washed by the salt. It took me a while to set up the shot exactly where I wanted to be. In retrospect, I only took a couple of shots, I knew that I captured what I wanted when I took it.

I shot with my Nikon D800 and a Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 Lens. My camera settings on were:

Exposure/shutterspeed: 1/3200

Aperture: F/4.0

ISO: 800

Aperture Priority

Shot in RAW

In the future, I'd love to check out new camera technology from a company called Light, which uses a small camera that has the quality of a DSLR, while having the convenience and sieze of a smartphone that fits in your pocket.  There are a few reasons I love this shot so much. The first is where I was to do this. I was in a place that I wanted to go see for years and I finally made it.  Another was my personal planning beforehand. I don't usually have an opportunity to plan a shot like I did with this one. Most of the time I have it in my mind but not as a set shot, it is usually of a building or location that I can't set up or change. Lastly is the kids reactions when they see it, it always produces a smile. When adult men see it too I get a similar reaction, it brings back childhood memories for them.