Location: Cloudbreak, Fiji’s premier surfing location.
I must have flown two metres into the air when the captain of my banana boat made the decision to charge into the towering wall of water that was about to crash down on us.
I was at the front peering through my zoom lens in another direction when the boat went vertical and catapulted me into the air.
Still, I should be thankful. Somewhat remarkably on the other side of the wave, I managed to land back on the boat with my camera gear undamaged. Said a concerned surfer who paddled over to us, “That was a gnarly wave, are you ok?”
So much for this being a cushy resort shoot.
There’s always some advantage to shooting an island resort in the South Pacific during cyclone season. There are less people around to clutter your shots, staff are available to be in your pictures, overcast skies are great to shoot interiors, and you’re likely to have a variety of rooms to shoot (and a room to sleep in, rather than sharing a double bed with the resort manager because the property’s fully booked).
The down-side, however, is that you risk days of rain, the heat and humidity is exhausting to work in, there might be major renovations going on in the off-peak period, and the lack of a crowd might find potential guests looking at the brochure and wandering how popular the property can be if there’s no one in the pictures (even though it’s only likely to look like that for a few weeks of the year).
But, on this occasion, I’m happy to say the benefits outweighed the disadvantages. Despite the drone not making it up over the resort (the property sits in a strict no-fly zone, and my permit was arriving in “Fiji time”), we did manage to capture some appealing images of one of Fiji’s most popular family-friendly properties.
And, as I mentioned, the surf was up at Cloudbreak – one of several attractions promoted by the resort within a half hour boat trip.
I also did a couple of days on the way out at Fiji’s Gateway Hotel (below), mainly to shoot the rooms for my client. But the overcast conditions also lent themselves to some softer, moody shots of staff.
And I couldn’t pass-up the chance to post a couple of behind-the-scenes pics (the suitcase trolley one cracked me up. Once I got them on, I couldn’t get em off).
Vinaka team Gateway.