10:30 on a Sunday morning our models assembled at the Mayan Princess. We were shooting our cover at San Simon. All decked out in black with our lime green RRR wristbands as the only accessory, we made a stunning group. It would be a long double header day. San Simon in the morning and Paya Bay for our December sunset shot. When all was said and done, we were pretty exhausted but very satisfied with what we had all accomplished, working together. That day will always be a fond memory for me.
This model was so prepared, you would have thought she was in the business. The set-up was to be Ms January reclining in a hammock with Scarlet Macaws. She even brought a hammock! It was far prettier than the one we had, so we used it. Pretty amazing. It makes it so much easier to get a good shot when the model warms up to the camera. We had so many great shots from which to choose. The only incident we had was a painful one. One of the macaws was determined to explore our model’s nudity. When she tried to stop him, Ms January was bitten. Even then, she was a real trooper.
Did I mention how brave my Calendar Girls are??
Another great model who gave so much to the camera. Here the dilemma was threefold. Shooting at the zip line location, first, we had to be quick before the cruise ship visitors arrived for their canopy tour. Second, I had 6 very large island boys to contend with and I was the self appointed bouncer on all the shoots. So, doing my very best Hitler impersonation I told them all to leave the area immediately. And they DID!! The third problem was the worst. Our little monkey was painfully shy and covered up his face with his tiny hands, turning away from the camera. Tasha shot dozens of frames. She and I were getting frustrated and anxious, but our model sailed right through it all. That is until the unbelievable happened. Our little monkey, wrapped around Ms March’s neck, decided it was a good time to nurse!
Cut! It’s a wrap! We are done here!
We only managed to get one shot with the monkey’s face showing. Thank goodness it was a great one.
This month was chosen as our model wanted to pose with her island famous Easter bunny; Mr. Quetip Plushbottom.
Weighing in at 20 lbs, he would come to Penelope’s Island Emporium for Semana Santa and people would rush in to get their photo taken with the Easter Bunny. I was told they even announced it on the airport buses. Unfortunately, Quetip passed away before his scheduled shoot. Large, with a larger than life personality, he is missed terribly by Ms April and all his many fans.
So Q’s replacement model became an African Savannah cat named Jumu. This shot location was in a beautiful bedroom designed and decorated by Ms April. This would be a very simple shoot. All she had to do was go get her hair & make-up done, come home, pick up Jumu and head to the West End location. Destiny had out done himself this time and Ms April was camera ready. However, Jumu was a no show. He had disappeared. Trying to keep make-up from running, hair from frizzing, it was not to be. Jumu sauntered back home at 9:30 that night, with an attitude as if to say “What’s the problem? And my dinner is where, exactly?” I had to call the property manager, apologize, saying the model cancelled last minute, may we please reschedule? This condo rents out steadily, so we had to be squeezed in between bookings. The following week was scheduled much the same. However, Ms April cleverly locked Jumu up in her house the night before. Being an exotic feline, he is fast, wary and a door darter. Given just a moment’s opportunity, Jumu shot off the second floor balcony, down into the iron-shore and vanished into the night. At this point I was just about ready to rip April out of the calendar and forget it. Our model was up at 4:30 am, calling and searching to no avail. Finally, she sat down and started praying, pleading and making deals with all the angels she could summon. In the door strolls Jumu.
Screeching, howling, hissing and thrashing around in the cat carrier, off they went at lightning speed. This time however, Ms April took Jumu to the condo location first, locked him in the bathroom and then went for her session with Destiny. Other than Ms April being a total nervous wreck, the shoot itself was a piece of cake.
When I approached Ms May about posing for the RRR calendar, she exclaimed “Penny! Where do you get such crazy ideas? What’s next with you?”
Then, “Of course I’ll do it. I haven’t done anything outrageous in a while.”
Being passionate about gardening and flowers, it was a given that we would do the shoot at her lovely home. After her make-up session, by the time we arrived at our location, it was the heat of the day, noon. With her husband, Alan’s help, we created a beautiful arbor as the back drop. The problems were her two excited, out of control puppies. Finally, we had to have Alan crawl into the bushes with the puppies on leashes and stand behind Ms May. She whispered to me “Do I really have to be totally nude? I don’t want to scare the dogs.”
Ms May was beautiful in each photo. It was the puppies that were making the shot impossible. So we just kept shooting. That’s when the ants started biting our model, voraciously.
Hot, sweating, bitten, exhausted: the life of a Calendar Girl.
When I asked Ms June if she would participate, I got a lump in my throat when her immediate reply was “I would be honored.” She needed no explanation of what we are trying to do with this calendar.
Shooting in our model’s gourmet kitchen, it was a tight shot from basically one angle. Ms June looked great but her dog was totally not interested and we could not get him to react to or even look at the camera.
When we felt we had several good ones to choose from and were finished, the dog then decided to be a cover girl; grinning, posing, looking oh so cute, after the fact! The best part of this shoot was that the model’s passion is baking and we got to eat the prop….ummmm.
What a fun afternoon. Like a pro model, Ms July came with make-up, jewelry, ideas and was very actively involved in her hair and make-up decisions. Her dog was an absolute love and so easy to work with; what a refreshing turn of events. This time we were shooting totally in public view. Passionate about golf, we were shooting on the 11th hole at Pristine Bay. Once we got our shot and were wrapping it up, Ms July was having such a good time, she decided to hit a few balls for fun. Tasha and I, somewhat nonplussed were racing around with towels and bathrobe trying to provide a bit of screening from the public eye. In the meantime, her dog was rolling around in the grass having the time of her life. As Tasha said “Isn’t it lovely that Ms July is so comfortable in her own skin.”
A true lover of dogs, we shot Ms August with her two, in a very tranquil setting; her home in Sandy Bay. Ms August is also an avid potter, so we tried to capture the beauty of both herself and her work. Ranging from tiles to hanging gecko’s Ms August’s work is varied.
Working with one animal is hard enough, but when working with two the odds are most certainly against you. After numerous shots running around trying to get BOTH dog’s in place we finally got the one we wanted.
A supporter and advocate for wildlife, Maya Key was the perfect setting for Ms September. We had to do the shoot in two parts as we were working around cruise ship visitors. The zoo manager, Leonardo Consuegra was so very helpful and made us feel welcome. However, we did have a problem when it came time to disrobe our model. The animal handlers would not leave and would not take their eyes off the animals we were using. I tried to block her from view with my body, but it was to no avail. Ms September had no problem with the situation, so we went ahead and took our shots. Personally, I might have been a bit squeamish with a boa constrictor wrapped around my neck, but she said “Don’t be silly, I raised boys.”
Using nature as a theme, we found a location that was surreal and magical. Tasha came up with the creation of this shot. Everything would have been just fine, except the body painter was late, it took almost three hours to do the painting, and Upachaya had people arriving for a kayak tour and for lunch, walking right through our set. Then Tyson, the dog thought it was great fun to run off with the pumpkins. What a day!
When I put out the call for Calendar Girls, Ms November responded immediately. Shooting on a beautiful yacht it was a very easy session. Her dog was timid, so kind of shut down and we could do whatever we needed to do with him. He even smiled as if on cue. We had a lot of laughs that day.
Our final photo was a group sunset shot at Paya Bay. Up until that day, the models did not know who all was in the calendar, so it was great fun to get everyone together. Ms June drove so we could all travel together in one big vehicle. We stopped at Pukey’s in Jonesville for lunch and then went on to Paya Bay. We had a changing room and beach time for relaxing and swimming, while waiting for our sunset. Da Vinci McNabb had agreed to be our photographer so that Tasha could be in the group shot. The ladies were a bit hesitant, so Tasha & I led the way, getting in the water, removing all clothes except Santa Hats. Once everyone had jumped in, the fun began. Da Vinci quietly started shooting. Once Ms May exclaimed “Look! They float!” We were off and running. Crazy antics and lots of belly laughs. I even caught Da Vinci laughing at us………what a bunch of crazy ladies doing a crazy thing for a great cause.