My brief was to photograph the Spa area of a luxurious hotel. The spa area has recently undergone a complete refurbishment and my friend, the lighting designer, Renato De Toffol, asked me to provide images of the finished lighting.
I arrived early and scouted the location which comprised indoor pool with a lake view, a sauna and a massage area. Due to the fact that the whole complex was still in use, I had to wait until ten in the evening to begin shooting to ensure that all the guests had gone.
After a meal in the restaurant, I collected my gear and gear from my car and bought it inside. I attached my 17 - 40 zoom to a 5d body and entered the pool area. Condensation formed all over the camera and lens immediately due to the warm humid temperature in the pool area compared to the outside.
I didn't want to wipe the lens with a cloth in case it left smear marks. Normally, I would have left it in the pool area to acclimatise but there was no time. The cleaning crew were anxious to begin work and there was lots to photograph.
Seeing an open fire nearby, I had an idea. I held the camera pointing lens first at the flames from about 50 cm (about 19 inches)away. After about three and a half minutes, the lens had cleared and I could start shooting.
The pool area with fire
After the pool area we moved to the sauna area. I opened the door of the main sauna and a wave of very hot and dry air hit me. I looked at the LED temperature readout on the wall. It was 80 degrees. That's 176 degrees Fahrenheit!!
As I was still dressed in jeans and a T-Shirt, I decided to cool the room a little before beginning my shoot. I tried opening and closing the door to try and "waft" the air out, but the building manager came and told me not to as it would trigger the fire alarms. The temperature was now somewhat "cooler" at 62 degrees. That's 143 fahrenheit. :o)
There was no other option but to go in and work through the heat. I set up my tripod and the sweat immediately began running down my back, my legs and dripped off my nose. The lighting in the sauna was quite dim and it was a struggle to focus. Even the built in autofocus was finding it difficult. Eventually I found that an exposure time of 13 seconds at f13 was just about right for the conditions with the ISO set at 400.
The finished image. 13 sec at f13 at 62 degrees.
When I finished the sauna shoot my clothes were wet through and luckily that was the end of the shoot and I could get myself back to my hotel for a shower and a well earned sleep.