I was almost at the hotel after a long drive to Death Valley from Los Angeles,when I spotted this scene. It was insanely hot, well over 40 degrees Celsius but Death Valley is such a fascinating place, I had to stop and grab a couple of shots before sunset.
The shot above was moments before the sun dropped behind a cloud. The one below was a little later, as the sky was lit up with the afterglow.
I heartily recommend a trip to Death Valley to anyone. Just a word of warning. Make sure you have a car with air conditioning and that you can handle temperatures of over 50 degrees Celsius as it hit 125 degrees Fahrenheit (51.7 degrees Celsius the following day).
A few years ago, I was in the US to shoot a TV commercial for VW. I took a couple of days out after 5 days of filming and wondered over to Death Valley. I was incredibly lucky to be there as the weather turn from bone dry to stormy. This is a short while before the heavens open and flooded many of the roads in the National Park.
Whilst out in Colorado earlier this year, we drove past a field of horses each day on the way to Snowmass. Aside form a few cars passing, the scene was tranquil with only the occasional sound of crunching snow as the horses walked towards the fence to see what I was up to.
Last summer, I executive produced a global campaign for VW around the launch of the new Golf 7. Part of the work created included a personalised film we shot out in the US. This film was known as the One Film and was based around choices that users entered on the www.onething.com website. Their input was then rendered in a personalised movie and served back to them as a dreamlike view of a journey through their one things.
We worked with JK and Todd Kellstein at Paydirt in LA, to capture a lovely 2 minute short film – our take if you will of the classic American road movie. The team also created two TVC commercials for global release. Below is one of those TV ads that aired in Hong Kong.
Below are some behind the scenes images from the 5 days we were shooting in California:
Crew on Day 1
Crew on Day 1
Crew on Day 1
Crew on Day 4
Recently, after being on a film shoot in California, I had a couple of days spare at the end of my trip and decided to capture some images in Death Valley. I made the classic tourist error of hiring a convertible car, which in the desert, is a bad idea. You want, no, you need to have air conditioning. Being stoic, I chose discomfort and sunburn instead, which turned out well for me.
Anyhow, here are a few shots I took in a day long photography shoot in Death Valley. It effectively documents the arrival of a fierce thunder-storm, gale force winds and a torrential downpour that flooded the roads in multiple places.
The fluffy white clouds formed the perfect backdrop to this ghost town
Thick, heavy cloud was blowing into Death Valley from Nevada to the east.
The sky seemed to lose colour as the heavy, grey clouds gathered overheat, blocking out the intense sun and dropping the temperature some 20 degrees Celsius.
Rain began to fall and there were two separate rainbows in the desert. It was magnificent.
For these last two images, the wind was blowing a gale and I had to cling on to my camera gear to fear that it would be snatched away by the wind.
Forks of lightening spread 180 degrees sideways through the sky as I drove back to my hotel after taking the final session of shots on Zabriskie Point.
The cycle ride came about when I was thinking of a challenge to set myself for this summer. My two friends, Peter Root and Mary Thompson, both showed an early interest when I was visiting Guernsey to deliver two seminars in February.
A short while later, my father died and I decided to honour his memory by dedicating this cycle ride to him.
Take a look at the Just Giving page (link in the right hand navigation) for more information.
The date for the commencement of the cycle ride from Lands End to John O’Groats has now been set as Saturday, 19th July 2008. Although if you live allllllllllll the way across the channel, then the real start date is the 18th because this little fella takes ages to get from Guernsey to Portsmouth