Hey Everyone! We’re back from shooting in the Northern Redwoods and we’re all exhausted. It was definitely an epic adventure to be sure!
A full shoot is soon to come after this blog entry! The photos are currently in post process!
Ooohhh where to start with the blog update! First of all, I want to thank all of the awesome fans out there who helped make this happen with their generous support and constant encouragement. This was a big undertaking for all of us, and something none of us have ever done, so to know that so many great people are out there and are excited really lit the fires of our passion that much more!
Driving up to Northern California started out after I escaped work at around 5:30PM on Friday, July 23rd (I think I may have snuck out 10 minutes early due to excitement!). I headed back home to Van Nuys where I had packed everything that needed to get loaded into the car the night before, and Joellen was waiting for me in my apartment with her makeup kit and everything else that needed to go. After getting home, we loaded the car up, who I have fondly named Epona (NERD!) and we were off. At this point we were on time to make it to Fresno to pick up Lune, and the goal was to get to bed by 10PM so that we could get up at 4 AM the next morning and be at least mildly rested for the 10 hour drive north. Needless to say, traffic stopped us.
Jo and I finally got to Fresno at 11PM, and ended up passing out 20 minutes later from exhaustion! Then, before we knew it 4AM was upon us and it was time to roll! Being the one in charge of the alarm, I got to be the bad guy and wake up Lune and Jo. Neither of them wanted to get up, but we didn’t have much choice since we needed to get to our hotel by 1, so we could spend the rest of the day scouting where exactly we were going to shoot! After a Starbucks run (where I forgot my credit card at the drive thru window and hand to go back for it) we were off!
The drive itself was absolutely breathtaking. I had been as far as San Francisco before, but Joellen and Lune had never seen the windmills that blanketed the hills along the 580. Mist hung closely to the tops of the hills and we reached the bay area at 7 AM just as the sun was finally starting to become brighter than merely a silver haze against a foggy sky. It was cold and the air was crisp, so very unlike the musky smog smelling heat of Los Angeles valley. I texted my sister Leah, who is attending Berkeley presently, that I was passing by her neck of the woods, and she sent me a groggy hello in return!
Beyond San Francisco we paid an unexpected $5 toll, and then entered the rolling green wine country. This was foreign territory to me now, and I was mesmorized by everything that I saw. It was absolutely beautiful, and filled me with happiness and inspiration for what was to come. We stopped for a bite to eat somewhere several hours north of San Francisco, and then kept going as the land became more mountainous and the trees more dense. Slowly, as the miles ticked by, the trees grew bigger, taller, and glimpses of the ocean could be seen, though it was foggy at times. The beaches that we were able to make out were dark brown sandy and very rocky, different from the pale sand and oil rigs we were used to off the shores of our local coasts. Once in a while we actually saw packs of elk wandering both free range as well as penned for tourists to stop and photograph. We didn’t stop though, much as we wanted to. WE HAD A MISSION!
After about 10 hours we finally made it to our destination point. The Coastal Redwoods! We checked into our hotel, and I began to pour over the hiking trail maps that my roommate Ben had printed for me from his scouting excursion he went on several weeks prior with his family. We decided we would go check out the grove nearest to our hotel, so we were off!
The road leading to the hiking trail was apparently a long windy 2 mile stretch of dirt, so the lady at the information desk across from our hotel told us that it was easier to merely remain parked at the information center, and simply walk across the street through the camp grounds and cross the rover. The trail was allegedly beyond the river. Taking her advice, we headed across the street on foot and crossed through the campground with relative ease (barking dogs not withstanding!). The trees here were huge and tall, but nothing prepared us for what we saw as we emerged out of the foresty campground and took in the river. It was a wide and shallow rushing water river, clear as crystal with smooth round stones lining its bed and shores. Past the river the forest was twice the size of the one the camp ground was nestled in, and dark to boot. Excited, we ran quickly across the long narrow bridge and headed to the entrance of the forest.
No photograph could truly capture the beauty. All I can say is, the trees were ancient and jurassic, sword ferns covered the ground, and where there were not ferns there were endless beds of tidy kept clovers. Moss covered everything from fallen logs to tree branches, and I half expected to be hunted by a velociraptor or stumble upon a sleeping Ewok! Joellen and I didn’t know what to say. We were both speechless at first, and the only thing we could
say was each others names as we held hands and squealed with delight. “We’ve found the Lost Woods!” I kept saying. Then we just started crying, because there wasn’t any emotion that we could express that could contain how we felt seeing such a place. I did not believe somewhere like this REALLY existed. Trees a thousand years old and older that could take 10 or more people holding hands all the way around was a hard thing to visually top!
We stayed there for a good hour soaking everything in. Joellen taught me about banana slugs and we soon discovered the bugs of the forest really wanted our blood. Without my set kit we were without bug spray, so we hurriedly ran back to our car so we could head back to the hotel and get to bed. The next morning was another 4 AM adventure.
Photoshoot Day 1 – Sunday, July 25th:
4AM is NOT my friend. I did not want to get up, and neither did Lune or Joellen. Indigo at some point was supposed to have gotten in at 10PM, but I went to bed before I was able to see him arrive. I dragged myself out of bed and forced Lune to get up as well. He was displeased and grumbled a lot, but went to put on a pot of hotel provided coffee. I snuck over to Joellen and Aimee’s room, only to hear from Joellen that Indigo, Aimee, Alondra, and Evan didn’t arrive until MIDNIGHT. I hurriedly told her to go back to bed, and that we would just have our early morning shoot be on Monday morning instead of this morning!
I crept back to my hotel room where Lune was finally awake, and told him he could go back to sleep since the others would not be getting up until around 10 AM. HE didn’t want to do that, and so our morning became an adventure exploring the same forest we had visited the afternoon before, but in the pitch dark of 5 AM. It was semi frightening, wandering through the forest in the dark with only the sounds of the owls and some strange birds overhead, but it also sounded EXACTLY like the Lost Woods do in Ocarina of Time. We wandered around for about an hour until the sun rose, then eventually made our way back to our car so we could go have breakfast.
There was nowhere open out in the middle of nowhere where our motel was located, so we opted to trek back 10 miles to Crescent City to have breakfast. On the way back we stopped off at Dutch Bros, apparently an up and coming coffee shop that we thought was only a small local chain in Fresno, and then headed over to the harbor to have breakfast.
My breakfast was epic!
around 9 we finally went back to the hotel, where everyone was getting up at last. Joellen was already working on getting Alondra into makeup, so I threw Lune into the room with them so he could get his ears put on too. Unfortunately though, the ears that Ben made did not work for Alondra due to certain mishaps in the casting process, so Joellen was forced to improvise with a lot of bondo prosthetic sculpting. After a good 2 hours of fighting with the ears, we managed to get both of them into their makeup and mostly into their costumes. The plan was to shoot in the same location both days, so we jumped into our cars and drove on over to the proper parking area for the forest, deciding not to walk through a popular camp ground with two people wearing crazy elf costumes!
Unfortunately, when we arrived at the parking lot, it looked like the place was FAR more popular on a Sunday afternoon than on a Saturday! 3 buses full of obnoxious and loud teenagers were there, as well as every spot being occupied by some kind of large family. People were parking as far as half a mile down the road in order to get to the location, so we figured that it would not be a good idea to shoot there. We headed back down the road from where we first came, and ended up parking on the side of the road and wandering into the forest to shoot there instead. The photos came out nice, but it was rather unfortunate that we could not shoot in the spot we drove 12 hours to shoot in. Aaahhh the trials and tribulations of cosplay photography! @_@
In a last ditch effort, we wrapped our shoot in our makeshift location and tried to see if the true location had thinned out of people at all, but when we drove back there there were still way too many there so we ultimately gave up and headed back to the hotel. The ears were a constant problem on this day, due to the fact that they were made in dragonskin and not latex, so the pros-aid was just not working when it came to sticking them down. Normally pros-aid is for latex, but the dragonskin is a different kind of rubber so it just didn’t work. The ears practically fell off!
To celebrate the end of our first day of shooting, we all headed back to Crescent City to have dinner at the same harbor restaurant that Lune and I ate breakfast at that morning. We were excited to discover that the restaurant caught their own fresh fish! I had the most delightful shrimp sandwich! After dinner we hurried back to the hotel so that we could fall asleep as soon as possible.
I was in bed by 8:30!
Photoshoot Day 2 – Monday, July 26th:
4AM again! UGGHHHH!!! I didn’t want to get up, but this was d-day. We figured if we got out there by 6 AM we could get as much shot as possible before the tourists started arriving. Unlike Sunday morning, Lune got up as soon as I woke him, pounded an energy drink, and was over in Joellen’s hotel room to be earified in under 30 minutes! I hurriedly dressed and prepped his costume, before going over to discover that Joellen was superglueing the ears on. Well I had acetone to dissolve the superglue, so I figured that was a better idea than having the pros-aid let the ears fall off again!
Superglue action! We glued those ears on tight, and dressing Lune and Alondra in their costumes only took maybe an hour tops. We were on location by 6 AM, and shooting by 6:30.
The shoot went quite smoothly, though it was at least 10 degrees colder this morning than it was the morning previous. Lune was freezing in his leggings and rayon tunic, but I was surprised that Alondra seemed perfectly fine in her bare legged little sweater romper. We were all kinds of inspired though, despite the cold, and even shot a 15 second film clip that we plan on using for the opening of the behind-the-scenes video that will accompany the full photoshoot in a week or two!
All in all, the photoshoot was to die for, and we had a blast. Unfortunately though, around 11AM we had to call it quits, because the ears were so heavy that they were hurting both Lune and Alondra. Joellen and I proposed we break for lunch, then return later, but the process of removing the ears was such an ordeal that neither model wanted to put them back on again after that. It was alright though, because what shots we did get were absolutely stunning.
Indigo certainly is crazy though! We laughed a little after wards at the great superglue fiasco, and the lessons we learned in what needed to be changed about the costumes, and the fact that he is totally down to head back up there for a pickup shoot to cover all of the ground that we missed the first time around. I hope that we can go, and that Alondra’s mother will bring her back up there. I’m not expecting it, but I’d certainly love to get even more epic material than we already have. That probably sounds pretty dang greedy, but what can I say! I am greedy for Zelda