Archive for August 2007

I’m tired. There’s no way around it, so I’ll say it again.

I’m tired.

Coming back from a trip to China takes a while to get over the jet lag. Someone told me recently that it takes one day to overcome each hour of time difference one’s dealing with, and since China is 12 hours from New York, I still have several days more to get over it. Adding to that the fact that my job requires me to walk around in the hot sun most of the day and that I haven’t been sleeping well, it’s no surprise that my eyelids often feel like lead. Thank goodness for the long Labor Day weekend coming up.

One thing I managed to do today was to pick up some prints I ordered from Adorama in its recent 11 x 14 inch print sale. I ordered a bunch of prints from my trip to Tibet, made with my new Canon compact digital camera, and also some nudes made with the same camera on my recent trip to Ohio and California. The Tibet photos look decent, but the skin coloring on some of the nudes seemed a bit off. (This was probably my fault more than the lab’s, as I’m used to dealing with nudes in B&W and not in color.)

The photo at top shows the beautiful Sarah Ellis at a farm in Ohio, and the next one shows lovely Betcee May in my hotel room in California (our location for the shoot for lack of a better one). It’s going to be a while until I can develop the BW film from these photo sessions, so I thought I’d print up a few from the little digicam (inferior as it may be to film) just to see something.

I also scanned some photos recently as I ordered a 5x7 book from Kodak, and I’m including one of those newly scanned images – a photo of the big Kat made at Joshua Tree National Park in October 2004 during the Community Zoe get-together for that year.

One other thing about printed matter: I expect a number of my photos to be published in a new magazine dedicated to BW fine art nude photography. The magazine is titled Carrie Leigh’s Nude: The Art of Women ( and the editor has told me that eight pages of my photos are included. I believe that this first issue of the magazine will hit newsstands and bookstores like Borders on September 4 or 5.

I think that some photographers included submitted work in hope of being selected, but the editors actually asked me to take part in the initial issue, so I feel flattered by that. All things indicate that the magazine has been produced with very high quality, so I’ll let you know when I finally get my hands on a copy next week.

[8/31/07 - NOTE: Please read the comment below by Stan Malinowski, the noted fashion and glamour photographer. He writes that he has seen the magazine and that it looks fantastic, with a four color print process and high quality paper. Carrie Leigh, the publisher, also writes about it on the magazine's website. I also see that the website now lists the premiere date as September 14, so please be patient a bit longer.]

Well, I guess I should finish this so I can try to get some sleep tonight. Just one more day until the weekend! (Unfortunately, I tried to use my car tonight and it seems to be dead, so that’s another headache to have to deal with. It never stops, does it?)

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This will be a quick blog entry for me as it’s quite late now and I really need to get some sleep. Just want to let people know that I arrived home safely last Tuesday night, but since then I’ve felt very tired and like a zombie trying to get over the jet lag of flying from China to New York.

So, I’m back home and I have plenty of work to do with my photos. I shot 35 rolls of 220-size black & white film while away, and adding this to the film that I have yet to develop because of my broken fingers (the result of getting hit by a car in May), I think I now have over 100 rolls in need of developing. The earlier rolls of almost entirely photos of nudes – but, whatever the subject, I have a lot of work ahead of me (and I still need to finish filing away the negatives from my trip to Laos and Vietnam last year!).

Obviously, this will be a long slow process that will take several months, but I’ll be patient and try to go through it a little at a time. The last thing I want to do is get burned out in the process. As for the blog here, I hope to post a combination of images, both travel and nudes. I’ve got the BW film from Southeast Asia to organize and scan, and I’ve got color digital pictures from Tibet made with my new compact digital camera.

When I get to developing film, the nudes will be the first ones that I take care of (in chronological order) so I plan to scan examples from them as I go on. I’ve also been scanning older negatives – I just put together and ordered a 5x7 inch book of 100 of my nudes to use as a little traveling portfolio – so I’ll be posting work from those images, too.

I’ll start off by posting a nude and a Tibet photo now. The photo at the top was made at a workshop in upstate New York back in 2002. It was this girl’s first time doing figure modeling and she loved it, though sadly I never got to work with her again. I may try writing to her in case she has the same PO box she had five years ago. As for the photo itself, I just like the way that the gentle slope of her figure is portrayed along with the quality of her sking.

The photo of Tibet was made in front of the Potala Palace in the Tibetan capital city, Lhasa. A pilgrim family was dressed up in its finery for a visit to the palace where the Dalai Lamas once lived, and I composed the image to show the little boy in the family dwarfed by his elders.

Well, that’s it for now. Stay tuned for more.


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Hi again, readers. I am writing to you now with my final report from Tibet. (Well, the final report for this year, anyway.)

I'm back in Lhasa tonight after spending last night in Tibet's second largest town, Shigatse, and the night before that in a town called Gyantse. The traveling two days ago was pretty intense. We got off to a start three hours late for reasons I won't go into now. Most of the day was spent on the road, and though the day was long, the scenery where we were - as has been the case in all of Tibet so far - was absolutely spectacular. Part of the journey was a drive on a dirt road between two major paved roads for about an hour that brought a sense of adventure back to traveling. We also passed throuhg some small villages which were interesting in their own way.

Yesterday was devoted mostly to sightseeing of Buddhist sites. We started off with a walk through Gyantse, including a visit to a local market and an old street in the old Tibetan part of town. I expected to see - well, an old street - an though it was a street with old buildings, what I did not expect to see (and did) was a cow or two (or three) tethered to each house. I guess time hasn't changed too much in some places.

Then it was a visit to the Pelkor Chode monastery, which includes the circular, tiered Kumbum Stupa, one of the most beautiful buildings in Tibet. A drive to Shigatse followed followed by a visit to the Tashilumpo Monastery. The monastery includes a whole set of buildings and reminded me a little bit of an old Ivy League-style college with its many buildings and cloisters. Unfortunately, there seemed to be nearly a hundred Chinese tourists there for each monk that I saw. Some of the monks were willing to be photographed, others weren't, but at the end of the day we came across half a dozen middle aged monks who requested to be photographed and wanted the photos sent to them. I'll try to comply.

I also spoke with a number of interesting people yesterday. While eating lunch in Gyantse, I saw that a small Spanish speaking group was at an adjacent table and that one of them looked rather like William Shakespeare. On the way out I went over and mentioned this to him and he turned out to speak English very well and said "I hope that's a good thing." He also noticed my big camera and remarked that he was thinking of bringing his Hasselblad film camera along but ultimately decided to bring a digital camera.

That evening, while having dinner at the hotel restaurant in Shigatse, I noticed the same group of people there. Again, while on the way out, I said to him "Buenas noches, Senor Shakespeare." He stood up and shook my hand and said he'd like to talk about photography after he finished eating, so we met half an hour later in the hotel lobby, sharing our respective photos - me with my little digital camera and a booklet of B&W photos I'd printed up of photos of Asia, he with his laptop computer. His name's Pedro and he lives in Barcelona, so perhaps I've made a new photography acquaintance.

I also spent some time in the restaurant talking with a couple from England. It turns out the husband is a big "Doctor Who" fan who's been following the series for a very long time, so we talked about that and other British television shows, as well as about travel in Tibet, etc.

Finally, today was the drive back to Lhasa. We left Shigatse very early - around 6 a.m. - and while I expected it to be a bit cool, I hadn't realized that it had been (and still was) raining, so rather than cool it was actually cold. Naturally, not realizing this, I packed my jacket in my suitcase and wasn't able to get it out until we arrived back here in Lhasa. On the way we made a detour to the top of 15,800 foot high Kambala Pass. While the air at that altitude is pretty thin, the cold bothered me more than the thin air. Luckily I chose to wear a long sleeve shirt!

The reason for driving up the pass was for a view of the beautiful Yamdrok-tso lake. While the surface of the lake takes on a turqouise color on a sunny day, the rain and overcast gave it a more normal looking hue - but it was stunning, nonetheless.

So, here I sit here once again in Lhasa (though at a different hotel than last time) writing my last message from Tibet. Following dinner at a vegetarian Chinese restaurant, I walked out onto the balcony of the hotel and used my small table tripod to take photos of the Potala Palace, illuminated as it is at night. Next, after I'm finished at this computer, is to repack my suitcase so I can get it under the 20 kilo (44 pound) weight limit for the flight to Beijing tomorrow. To do this I will have to pack as much as I possibly can into my carry-on bags, my pants and shirt pockets as well as my jacket. It won't be easy.

So, that's all from Tibet. It's been quite a journey, but hopefully not the last one here. Travelling to Tibet is not the easiest thing to do, what with the long airplane flight to Asia, stomach ailments, the high altitude, etc. - but it's worth the effort to be here.

The photos here, by the way, show the Tashilumpo Monastery in Shigatse and the Yamdrok-tso lake.

Be well, everyone.



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Greetings, all.

I'm sitting here once again in the small computer room of the Hotel Kyichu in Lhasa, Tibet. Tonight is my group's last night here for this stretch, but we do return here for one more night.

Tomorrow we hit the road once again for an eight hour drive west to Gyantse, a small city which is supposed to have a nice old Tibetan town and which also is home to one of the most beautiful buildings in Tibet. After a night in Gyantse it's a short ride to Tibet's second largest city, Shigatse, which has one of the largest monasteries in Tibet, Tashilumpo. Then it's back here to Lhasa for one more night, followed the next day with a flight back to Beijing. The following day it's the long flight back home to the U.S. My trip to Tibet is coming to a close.

Today was a day to take it easy and do some souvenir shopping. Yesterday was more strenuous, though, as we visited two monasteries on the outskirts of Lhasa. First was Nechung, a place associated with protector dieties. It has a lot of paintings of pretty scary looking characters and figures. Quite a few people were burning incense in the courtyard (the smoke of which is not the best thing to inhale when every breath is of great importance due to the altitude) and I saw man people offering donations and making prayers and prostrations in respect for the Dalai Lama.

The next stop was Drepung Monastery, the largest such place in Tibet. It was once home to over 10,000 monks, but only 500 or so are there now. Still, it is an impressive place, with a lot of beautiful buildings spread across the hillside it's built upon. As it is built on a hillside, it required a lot of walking up steps and ramps - again, not the easiest thing to do at this altitude (and unlike my visit to the Potala Palace, I had my heavy camera bag to drag around with me this time). Again, many Tibetan people were there saying prayers and offering donations. I also got to practice speaking Japanese a little bit when we came upon some people from a Japanese tour group.

I spent a fair amount of time today in the Barkhor area (the old Tibetan section of Lhasa) and once again it was interesting to see the people making the kora (pilgrimage circuit) walking clockwise around the Jokhang Temple. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but a lot of Tibetan people - especially older people with long, braided here - look like native Americans. Even the Tibetan turqouise jewelry looks very southwestern, so I wonder if the Tibetans and American Indians share some kind of link in their past.
I see that I've been able to upload a few more photos from today, so here are: a monk spinning a prayer wheel; a pilgrim prostrating as he makes the kora around the Jokhang; threatening skies over Lhasa (it's pouring rain right now as I write this); and the sign for a shop with a rather unusual name.

Well, it's after 10 pm and I've got to re-pack my suitcase for the long journey west tomorrow, so I'll sign off here. I'll try to write at least once more while I'm here in Tibet.



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It's raining now here in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital city. Summer is the rainy season so that's not unexpected, though knowing that didn't prevent me from getting soaked as I took a walk this afternoon.

The last couple of days have been busy visiting the sights around town. Yesterday we saw some of the goings on of the Shoton Festival at the Norbulingka Palace - the summer residence of the Dalai Lama's - including part of a performance of a Tibetan opera. It all seemed very colorful.
We also paid an afternoon visit to the Jokhang Temple, the holiest site for Tibetan Buddhists and the focal point of the many pilgrimages here. The building was first built in the eighth century and though much of it has been destroyed and rebuilt over the years, it still has an ancient and very powerful feel to it. All around the building are Tibetans making circumambulations, some holding and spinning prayer wheels. Others spread themselves on the ground doing prostrations in devotion to their faith.

We've also visited the Potala Palace, former home of the Dalai Lama's. Yesterday we stopped in front for a short time for photos, but today we toured the interior. It's a very impressive looking structure, composed of white and red colored palaces. Inside we were shoulder to shoulder with Tibetans of all ages and various forms of dress who showed their devotion to their spiritual leaders by prostrating themselves, adding butter to butter lamps and by leaving donations. One family, ranging in age from a small child to an elderly woman, was very elaborately and beautifully dressed. I imagine that this must be the trip of a lifetime for them. Inside, I watched as they would bow their heads, touching their foreheads to a pillar or other structure and then utter a prayer. It was very moving.

In front of the Potala is a large public square. It seems rather devoid of life, with Chinese tourists dressing up and posing for photos in faux-Tibetan costumes. The real focal point of Tibetan life is the square in front of the Jokhang Temple, which would seem to be the epicenter of Tibetan life, which (along with the surrounding Barkhor area) sees a constant flow of people flowing through.

This afternoon we also paid a visit to the Sera Monastery on the outskirts of town. Among the notable things we saw were monks debating in the a courtyard, slapping their hands to emphasize the points they were making. There seemed to be almost as many tourists watching and photographing as there were monks, so I wonder how much was real and how much was show, but it was interesting to see.

Regarding the altitude here, it really hasn't been much of a problem except when it comes to climbing steps. I think the other people in my group have been feeling the same way. Visiting the Potala today was a particular challenge as it's built up on a hill and one must walk all the way up. I even left my big camera at the hotel as no photos were allowed inside and I don't think I'd have made it all the way with the heavy bag to drag along.

I had planned to post four photos with this entry, but for some reason the picture uploading window stopped opening after posting just two images (the Potala Palace, top, and the Barkhor Square, next). So, two images it will have to be, I'm afraid. Although I can post entries into my blog, for some reason I am unable to access the blog itself, so I have absolutely no idea of how the blog or the uploaded photos look.

So, that's it for now. I have two more days here in Lhasa before we head west on the high Tibetan plateau. As always, stay tuned.

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Hello again, everyone.

I am writing to you now from Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, following several days spent east of here in areas little visited by Westerners. We arrived here this afternoon and it is definitely a change of pace from the quiet places we've been in recently.

I've only been here a short time, so I'll write about the few days that transpired since my last message. I last wrote from Bayi, a fairly new town with a high percentage of Chinese in the population. From there we went to Lunang, where we spent the night in the home of a family in a small farming village. It was very interesting to get an idea of how the local people live. The family has four generations living together. Our hostess was an elegant, middle aged woman named Karma, and she lives with her mother and her 87 year old grandfather. The grandfather had a big unruly head of grey hair that made him look like a Tibetan version of Albert Einstein, though when he put on his sunglasses he looked a bit like John Lennon, too! Karma also has two teen age children who were at home on a school vacation, though most of the year they are off at school.

Yesterday was a fairly quiet day without too much driving. From Lunang we continued norht and west and spent the night next to a beautiful lake called Draksum-tso. There's a little temple that we visited late in the afternoon. On the way we stopped for lunch in a town called Bepa, where I walked around for a little while taking photos of the people there.

Today was a busy day. We had breakfast on the road at a Chinese restaurant where we were each served a bowl of flat noodles. I felt like I was having linguini for breakfast. Lunch was fun. Our guide gave us the choice of eating at a Tibetan restaurant that didn't have any vegetarian dishes, or a Chinese restaurant serving Sichuan cuisine. We didn't want anything spicy, so we went for the Tibetan place and just had baked bread (like pita bread) that we covered with peanut butter and honey that our guide, Pemba Tashi, gave us. Everyone else had a good laugh as I tried in vane to contain the honey that was dripping off of my bread (though thankfully I managed to avoid getting any on my clothes!).

More seriously, today was an exciting day as we were heading to Lhasa after nearly a week in the countryside. It was a long ride of over 200 miles. On the way we saw some pilgrims heading here to Lhasa by prostrating themselves along the way. They lay out flat on their stomachs, get up and walk one body length and then lay out again - and they do this all the way to Lhasa, perhaps taking months to complete their spiritual journey.

We also stopped to visit with a nomadic family in its tent made from yak hair, but the high point of the day (quite literally) was a stop at the Kongpo Bala Pass, 5013.25 meters above sea level (which I think is more than 16,000 feet). The view from their was absolutely spectacular, as is much of the landscape scenery here in Tibet.

We finished our sightseeing for the day with a short walk to the Jokhang Temple. As Jerusalem is a holy city for Jews, Mecca for Muslims and Rome for Catholics, so Lhasa is a holy city to Tibetans - and as the Western Wall is the most sacred site for Jews and the Grand Mosque at Mecca for Muslims, so the Jokhang is the most sacred place for Tibetan Buddhists. We walked around the temple seeing Tibetans, many of the spinning prayer wheels, in all manner of dress. This is a festival time here in Lhasa - the Shoton festival going on now - so the number of people here is greater even than normal.
It looks like I'm able to upload some photos again, so here are two landscape images from today, a sign outside a restaurant here in the Tibetan quarter of Lhasa, and a view of the Jokhang Temple. As always, these digital photos are grab shots not intended to be great works of art.

Tomorrow we'll go to the Norbulingka Palace to see Tibetan celebrating this festival, and during the next few days we should go inside the Jokhang, visit the Potala Palace (former home of the Dalai Lama's) and go to some important monasteries in the area.

As always, stay tuned.



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Hi again, everyone.

It's past 11 p.m. and I'm sitting here in an internet center in Bayi, Tibet, China, smelling the cancerous smell of cigarette smoke all around me - so I'll try to keep this somewhat short.

My group arrived here in Bayi after two days of what I'll call "extreme travel" - that is to say, travelling by Toyota Land Cruiser (the best vehicle for getting around these parts, it would seem) over roads composed of dirt, gravel, mud, sand and who knows what else. Sometimes we'd need to cross a raging torrent of water, and the better part of today's journey was on roads undergoing construction. The final part, at least, was on a nice paved road, but it just didn't seem as exciting as bouncing around the way we had been doing before.

Adding to today's interest was the fact that we got a flat tire and that the driver had to switch it with the spare. Today's route was fairly flat, but yesterday's was anything but, as we weaved on way back and forth on switchback roads to the Potang-la Pass at 16,700 feet. Much of the road was basically on the edge of a cliff following the murky, churning waters of the Yarlung Tsango river. At times it seemed that the land cruiser's tires were a scant few inches from the edge with no railing - and some of these had sheer drops of several hundred feet. I think somebody with a fear of heights and a weak heart could get a coronary from stuff like that.

The landscape here has been magnificent. I tended to think of Tibet as a high flat plateau - the "roof of the world," as it has been called - but here in the eastern part of central Tibet there are magnificent green covered mountains plunging down to valleys and rivers below. We've made a few stops along the way. One of them was at a small village where we had fun taking photos of the people there - including a fellow on a motorcycle who had a shock of upswept hair that made him look like a Tibetan version of James Dean!

We didn't visit any temples yesterday but this afternoon we spent some time at a temple called Lamaling. It's a beautiful place with reconstructed, colorful buildings and some mountain goats running around.

Tomorrow we're supposed to go to a place called Lunang to spend the night with a local family, but we found out tonight that our departure will need to be delayed due to some bigwigs visiting the area too and with the roads being closed as a result. In fact, as this area is close to the border with India, travel is regulated by the Chinese government. At each place we stay, our guide needs to take our passports to the local police to register us with the authorities. Last night, in Lang Quan, a young woman from Spain was caught without a permit and the police were deciding what to do with her. They asked our guide to interpret until an English speaking policeman showed up.

Okay now, it looks like I''ve been able to upload some of the photos I made today with my compact digital camera, so here are a couple of landscapes, a photo of our vehicle with the flat tire and finally the door of a building under construction, with some Buddhist prayers attached to it.

Well, I'd better get going, so until next time - be well, everyone.

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Hi again, all.

I'm writing now from a cramped chair in my hotel in Tsedang, Tibet. My group of five arrived here yesterday following a 3 hour and 45 minute flight from Beijing. I had originally booked myself on a trip to China that included Tibet 18 years ago. That trip was sadly cancelled. Now I am finally here.

After resting at the hotel for a few hours yesterday, we left to visit the Yumbulagang, a small temple atop a steep hill. The original building was said to be the oldest building in Tibet, but that was destroyed and the current building was constructed in the 1980s. One of the difficulties of travel to Tibet is the high altitude and the difficulty it can cause people due to lower oxygen levels. There were horses and yaks (and even a camel) available for those inclinded to pay to ride up, but I walked it without too much difficulty, so hopefully the altitude won't have a seriously negative effect on me.

Today has been my first full day in Tibet and it was devoted to visting Samye Monastery, the oldest Buddhist monastery in Tibet and the first to be built. Much of the way there was spent traversing a very bumpy unpaved road. We spent some time in the main hall, where the monks in their red outfits were chanting Buddhist prayers. It reminded a lot of what I've heard over the years in synagouges.

Late in the afternoon I went out and took a walk down one of the streets of the town looking to photograph things that were not religiously oriented. I think I succeeded in taking a good series of people pictures. The town itself is fairly non-descript, with one shop after another. The population of the town is a mix of Tibetan and Chinese people, and it was nice to see many Tibetan woman wearing the traditional outfit of a long skirt with a pattern apron in front.

Tomorrow we continue further east into a part of Tibet that most tours don't go to. That's one of the things I like abouty this particular tour. We also climb over 5,000 feet from Tsedang (11,400 feet high) to a mountain pass that's at 16,700. From there we drop down, though.

I'm trying to post a photo of Samye monastery with this. Unfortunately, all the other photos I made with my compact digital camera are too large for posting here and would take forever to upload. (And none of this is easy to do on a slow computer with pages written in Chinese!)



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Hi, everyone.

Well, here I am, back in China - Beijing to be specific. I was here 18 years ago - and what a difference 18 years makes!

First, though, my flight here was uneventful except in the route we took. On all previous flights to the Far East the plane flew northwest toward Alaska and then over the Pacific Ocean to its destination. I was surprised this time when the plane was heading northeast - until I realized we were taking the polar route!

We flew over Quebec and then Newfoundland. As I had a window seat, I had a beautiful view of the coast of Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula and the St. Lawrence River, plus the land on the opposite side. I also finished watching one of the movies (which I was dozing through, anyway) to open the window and catch site of the northern tip of Greenland. I got some decent photos of this, too. Then the ice covered Arctic Ocean of the North Pole. Clouds covered Russia's Siberia, but I did get a pretty decent view of Mongolia, it's landscape seen from the air reminding me very much of the American Southwest.

Today was an overcast and very day here in the Chinese capital. I got to the hotel around 3 pm and went out after 4 to stroll around a bit, including going to Tien An Men Gate by the square of the same name.

Often the most lasting impression of a place is the first one - the ride in from the airport to the hotel. This time was no exception. Although I've been here before, it seems like a new place - and 18 years might as well be 80. The biggest change I've noticed is the relative lack of bicycles. In 1989 the streets were packed with them and cars seemed to be a rarity. Nowadays, while bicycles aren't exacty rare, they are definitely outnumbered by the automobiles. So go the times.

Tomorrow will be a big day as the members of my five-person group (I haven't met the four others yet) fly up to Tibet to begin our two-week journey there. Hopefully all of our lungs will be able to handle the high altitude and its thin air. I have a feeling that web access will be limited there, so I may not be able to write again until we arrive at the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in about a week or so.

I have to get up at 3:30 tomorrow morning as we have to leave for the airport at 5:00 am for a 7:00 flight, so I'd better get going and try to get some sleep. I'll write more when I can.



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Hi again, folks.

In my blog entry before last I wrote about how I photographed Maria Eriksson from England on the beach at Malibu and that I was planning to photograph her elsewhere later that afternoon. My last entry finished off with a photo of a beautiful young woman that I identified as a harbinger of things to come. Today I’ll follow up on both of those things.

I’ll start things off (at the top) by picking up where I left off last time – with a photo of Betcee May. Betcee is a model who I have wanted to work with for quite some time, beginning with when she was living back in Las Vegas. She then lived in Chicago for a short time and is now residing in Los Angeles. (She told me that she lived here in New York before Vegas and I didn’t even know it!)

When I made my plans to visit southern California, I held out the hope that I might finally get to work with Betcee. She’s a full time model who seems to be in great demand, and as she has recently begun doing fashion modelling with the requisite time commitment, I wasn’t sure if she’d have time to work for me. Thankfully she did, but to continue with her story, I need to go back to Maria.

I went with Maria, along with my friend Alex from Scotland, to Malibu Creek State Park (three or four miles south of Calabasas) in mid-afternoon following the morning of our photo shoot at the beach. To put it simply, I found it to be a rather difficult location. Everything seemed to be dry and scraggly, with little shade for even lighting or for cooling off.

We walked off of the main path onto some trails, but with the harshness of the setting I just found it hard to come up with many interesting and workable ideas. To top things off, the three of us got lost trying to find our way back to the main path and the parking lot as the sun was going down.

I made some photos of Maria on the shady side of a tree or two, but I think my best image was from this set-up with Maria in silhouette on the branch of a downed tree (as seen in photo two). You can also see that she tried her hand at pumping gas into Alex’s car (though I had to lend a hand to show how it’s done here in the U.S. of A.).

Now on to my photo session with Betcee May two days later. I’m not at all familiar with the Los Angeles area and so am dependent on the advice of others for such things. The Malibu beach location I used with Maria was fine early on a weekday morning, but I wouldn’t try it on a weekend afternoon, which is when I was scheduled to work with Betcee. So, with the lack of a proper location, I decided to start off things by photographing her in my rather ordinary (neither opulent nor dingy) hotel room.

As I said earlier, I’ve followed Betcee’s imagery for some time and came to see that she has a unique look. So, when I heard a knock on the door of my hotel room, I opened the door to find – Betcee. “Jee,” I thought to myself, “ she really does exist after all!” I set out to work with her in the room for a couple of hours and then maybe go out and try the park again, but we ended up working together in the hotel room for the whole four hours that we planned. The air conditioning inside felt good, we had gotten into something of a rhythm and the prospect of going out and getting scratched up again in the park just didn’t appeal to me at that moment.

As for Betcee herself, she was a joy to work with and an absolute doll. She’s quite a giggler, too, which kept things fun. A hotel room can be a boring place in which to work, so I decided to try some unusual things like asking her to lie on the bed with her head between the two pillows (as in the top photo). When she did this she said she felt rather like an astronaut, so instead of counting “one, two, three” before pressing the cable release attached to my camera, I counted “three, two, one, zero, blast off!”

All of the photos here were made with my new Canon A570IS compact digital camera. (The film will be developed later.) As her Model Mayhem page used to mention something about doing “nekkid twirling,” I used the camera to take a little video of her doing……nekkid twirling. (In this case, that was just spinning bodily around. When I first read it on her page, I imagined her as a naked band majorette twirling a baton. I told Betcee about this and she thought the idea to be rather comical, so I’ll need to try it with her one day.)

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