Summer Intern Dives Into the Wet & Wild

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It’s been a month and as promised, adventuring has become a huge aspect of the internship and it’s absolutely rad. As you all may know, the Hage’s are fairly nomadic. So the beginning of my internship was a slew of e-mails and phone tag explaining how to submit images to stock agencies and their guidelines. I sort of view this as a necessary evil when it comes to photo work. Not the most fun, but once I get some music jamming I can really batch X-thousand photos quickly.  A lot like those really intense scrolling scenes from computer hacker movies- minus the sweatiness.

As the intern, this is my typical view. Checking out what Matt is doing and processing why/how his brain is working on the  shoot.

As the intern, this is my typical view. Checking out what Matt is doing and processing why/how his brain is working on the shot.

The first order of real adventure was to go out and scout how the Chugach range was looking, in terms of snow pack and greenery. The Hage’s have a Mountain Hardware shoot coming up and they needed to know if a 4-day 3-night traverse was worth it in the Chugach or if they needed to find a better spot. The directions were simple: Go out towards Williwaw Lakes and check out how the saddle looks. Over the phone, I was like “Oh yeah sure! I’ve got this”. Ten minutes later my brain was 100% second-guessing everything… “Wait a second Meranda, first off you have never done a scouting shoot before. Plus, you have never gone out there, what if all of the entire Internet’s information about the trail deletes and every guidebook gets burned in the next 5 minutes and you can’t just figure it out.” I eventually chilled out after I saw that there was indeed info about the hike and I told myself it would be like any other day I’ve spent out in the mountains.

We did the 15-mile trip as a day hike and decided to climb up to the ridge of O’Malley because the guidebook told us it was an awesome way to see the valley and lakes. Man, it was gorgeous. I’m so glad I didn’t let my apprehension and worries get the best of me and hey the internet didn’t blow up in a fiery explosion.

One of the shots for the Mountain Hardware scouting mission in the Chugach.

One of the shots for the Mountain Hardware scouting mission in the Chugach.

The next week Agnes and Matt invited me on a day trip out of Whittier, AK for a Patagonia rainwear shoot. Originally the trip was supposed to go for two days and ironically, what determined our time frame was the “good weather” that promised some serious rain.

It was a wet trip out to Shotgun Cove.

It was a wet trip out to Shotgun Cove.

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Immediately the fear troll that haunts the back of my brain went crazy again. “What if I slow them down… and I affect the shoot”. I quickly decided to quiet the fear troll and just go along for the ride because anything I’ve ever done in my life that ended up being exciting was definitely not “fear troll approved.”

We drove out to the trailhead with windshield wipers on full speed. It was pouring. As we passed through the one lane Whittier tunnel –it goes through an entire mountain- the rocky sides of the tunnel were even spitting out water. After the tunnel, we made it into Whittier, a city that lives in one giant apartment complex. Oh… Alaska.  After figuring out a crossing over a steadily running river, we started our hike out to Shotgun Cove. It was really interesting to see what Matt stopped to make a photo of and also to see how he stopped the group for a photo.

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What it really takes to get the shot with the right angles.

What it really takes to get the shot with the right angles.

Another huge thing was seeing how he worked with the talent. I suppose I just might be a weirdo, however, I always feel bad stopping a group to make a photo. It’s like losing the momentum of the hike. However, he really showed me that it was okay and not only that, but he was really supportive. The whole day was a great experience to see how a shoot of this caliber worked. So many different gears working together to make these photos happen. From deciding the type of people on the trip, lens choice, shot list, client needs, location, weather, goofy intern, to even knowing where to get some good food afterwards; it’s a lot to juggle. And that’s just the making of the photo. With the first month down, I’m so stoked to see what gets thrown at me next. Until then, I’m off to scan some more model releases for those stock photo submissions.

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Check out more of Meranda’s experiences in Alaska on her web site and Instagram