We just returned from our second trip to the Dominican Republic to finish the commercial shoot that we were hired for. If you want to skip the stories and go straight to the slide show, you can do that here:
This trip was much more planned out and structured and one of the main goals was to photograph activities and people doing those activities. The video production team that we traveled with had a lot of gear and equipment along with a lot of people to help move everything around and set everything up. Their footage was primary and the photos were secondary. The setups of the video equipment took a lot of time so typically each day we just had a one or two areas to travel to and shoot with the purpose of getting very specific shots. We were also working with four actors/models who could pose for the photos/video.
The first day we arrived in Santo Domingo and did a few quick shots in the downtown area, however, that wasn’t too important for Cheridy and I because we had already taken a number of shots when we were there last month. We had to go there to Santo Domingo last time to get our new passports after they had been stolen (which you can read about here).
The next setup shot was of mountain biking. Maximo is a local mountain biker who led us up to a beautiful place up in the mountains. We spent most of the morning taking some pictures of him and a few others on the mountain bikes.
While up in the mountains we had a chance to enjoy a bit of the local flavor as well.
After that we did some white water rafting photos. The weather was really bad with hard rain so we had to huddle under umbrellas to get the shots we needed. There was nobody on the river so it had to be arranged to have some of the river guides take a raft down the river and make 4-5 passes in front of the cameras. We were travelling with a guy named Mike Braun who used to own multiple adventure sports companies around the world who is now “retired”. He got us connected with the river guides and made sure that we got the shots that we needed.
Today Mike Braun took some of us canyoning to get some photos of waterfalls and repelling. This was an unexpectedly long day. I had my cameras and tripod in a dry bag and then repelled down and swam across to a viewpoint where I could setup to get some waterfall photos. However, I then had to sit on a rock for almost two hours waiting for the others to come down with the video camera which was put in an underwater housing. After getting the shots we needed, I was expecting to have the gear hoisted back out and then hike out, but instead, we had to hike through the river, repell down a second waterfall, hike down further and then hike back up to the top. The trip itself would have been fine if I had expected it but since I didn’t expect it, I was not prepared with food/water, or the right shoes for walking on slippery rocks in the water. We were expecting to be in the canyon from about 12:00-2:30 but we didn’t end up making it out until about 6:30 so it was a tiring and frustrating day. I didn’t have an underwater housing for the camera, so I had to keep everything in a doubled up dry-bag which was a real pain to open/close. By the end of the day, I was so tired that the camera never came out.
We had repelled down with Mike who is a canyon guide along with myself and two of the video team. Everyone else stayed at the top and had a long day of sitting and waiting for us.
As I sat on the rock and waited for the rest of the crew, I waited for some periods of shade and was able to get some really nice waterfall photos.
Later, Florian from the video team had to repel down with the 50 lb video camera…he’s an animal!!
Once he was down, Mike and his friend Sol (who is also experienced at adventure sports) allowed us to take some shots of them as they repelled down through the waterfall and then jumped into the pool below.
This was the first day that we had to work with the actors. We had to get up very early to photograph the sunrise and some of the actors were not prepared to be up at that time so we ended up missing some of the best light before the sun rose over the horizon. However, we still were able to get some great photos just after the sun was up.
The next setup was to go to a nearby spa to shoot photos of massages and yoga. We spent the majority of the day there.
In the evening we went back to the condo that we were staying at in Cabarete to photograph some “swimming pool” shots and “hammock” shots.
Most of the day today was to shoot at a beautiful lagoon. We got there in the morning and were then picked up by a helicopter where we spent 45 minutes flying around the coast to shoot some aerial photos of the coastline along with Playa Grande Golf Course which is a really nice golf course in the Dominican Republic. We were hoping to actually shoot ON the golf course but were unable to get last minute permission.
After the helicopter landed, we spent the rest of the day at the lagoon photographing the local kids jumping off the cliff into the lagoon.
We were able to use the same area to fake some golfing shots along with doing a bit of hiking shots with the actors.
Most of today was spent on the beach to photograph some “lounging on the beach shots” along with kite boarding, wind-surfing, etc. Cabarette is famous for it’s afternoon winds and is recognized as one of the kite boarding capitals of the world.
Laurel Eastman is a champion kite boarder who has moved to Cabarette with her husband and opened up a kiteboarding school. We were lucky enough to have her and and some of her friends/employees perform for us while we photographed them. It was really cool to watch all the stunts and aerial tricks.
We then needed to setup a few shots that would represent some tourists going out and buying jewelry and then heading to a restaurant for a romantic oceanside dinner. The lighting for the dinner was setup by the video team and I was able to snag a few shots in between takes.
This was our last day there and we just had to go photograph a local cigar roller in the morning and then pack and go to the airport to fly home.
We flew from Puerto Plata to Newark and then on to Detroit. We were very lucky that our flight out of Newark left that night because it was during the crazy rainstorm that hit the east coast. Lots of flights were canceled that night. We were sitting on the tarmac for over an hour and I just watched the pounding rain and lightening from the window and was just blown away that our flight actually took off, but we were definitely glad to get home!
Again, if you want to see the slide show, click here: