Today we'll revisit our 2 days of shooting at the 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa with Roberto De Carvalla, probably the nicest guy I've met in yonks. The kitchen was so organised and well-run by the executive sous-chef, that we had Roberto all to ourselves, except for the the crunch lunch hour.
The biggest challenge here is that a 5-star hotel kitchen is busy, small, and more often than not, hidden in a dungeon somewhere close to the recesses of the earth, hotter than magma and lit with insanely powerful tungsten and neon lamps. This is a tad of an issue when you're shooting slow-exposures for movement, as all the colours become dirty and yucky. Some creative blocking, flashing and filling sorted out the problem though. (Sorry strobists, no space to discuss all that now).
Outside it was a tad dull, weatherwise, but we were spoilt for choice for surfaces, nooks and crannies to shoot in. We ended up with our first shot of an African pot with a dish I can't recall the name off, right in the water-feature outside the restaurant. The 12 Apostles is nestled right on the slopes of the ....12 Apostles.... of Table Mountain, in a conserved area (the Greens nearly went insane when it was built), so we were surrounded by fynbos, rocks and general well-being.
However, shooting in and on waterfeatures always comes with the very real possibility of death, injury, disability, loss of property or making a fool of yourself. So I asked Jeremy to place the pot on the desired spot, while I eyed some stable looking outcrop of rock.
Jeremy is a proficient multi-tasker. A proper voice-activated light trigger, rigger and boom stand. In the words of Bert Stephani: a BIOWIZARD. (If you don't get it - a Pocket Wizard is a light trigger, a biowizard is a human performing that function).
Back in the kitchen - we were operating according to the METHOD - see previous post - there was some time here and there for lollegagging, but most of the time I was leaning over the pots shooting the goings on of the ladels, spoons and hands of the chef.
We were kept in fair solid supply of Coke for the duration of the shoot, and it does help to keep you cool, focused (caffeine) and generally happy. Like it goes with stylists, Kanya was fascinated with the bubbles as the Coke was poured. I was fascinated with how small, insignificant and totally unsatisfying 200ml of Coke really is.
Then there was the case of the Baked Alaska. We decided on a spot outside that overlooks the sea. Again, we were devoid of sun, but there was some shimmering on the water. However, it turns out, for this particular dish, we also got spectators - a room full of tourists and a nosy pigeon.
However, the rascal did not take into account that we have the SA version of Steve Erwin here, and with the sudden agility of a seasoned pigeon terrifier, Jeremy caught himself an unawares pigeon getting lucky with some baked alaskan (Note: we had the shot in the bag by now, so we wanted to see how the pigeon would react to our creation). With an explosion of feathers, the shocked gasp of greeny tourists and the frantic flapping of a terrified Alaskan thief, and the raucus laughter of yours truly, Jeremy caught himself a pigeon. However being the gentleman, he let it go fairly soon after it became apparent the pigeon will soon die of shock, cardiac arrest or choking. Jeremy let him go, and with that the pigeon let another couple of thousand feathers down and hairy bits loose on the 5 star hotel porch. Also accusive stares from the guests in the adjoining lounge.
All of us were in agreement that the shoot at the 12 Apostles was one of the highlights of the book. The general hospitality, quality of food (I'm still dreaming about the Baklava Rob made....yemmmmmmm) and effective execution of the shoot left us ready for the next chapter.