I (almost) never shoot in the same location twice. There's always a spark, some sort of inspiration, that strikes upon arrival; my mind switches to storyteller mode and weaves a narrative that subconsciously influences how I shoot. Once that story's been told, I seldom return, instead opting for something with a different allure. I love the renewed excitement and vision that each new place offers.
I can’t say the same about Berkeley’s botanical gardens. It's a bit of a hike into the hills behind California Stadium and one that I inevitably make once a semester. The gardens are a sprawling mass of lush vegetation, some corner always flowering despite the season. In a few acres, you can cross the equator and traverse both hemispheres, experience a few seasons, and always discover a new species. My favorite spot: near the top of the garden is a pond full of lotuses and newts that drains into a waterfall. It’s pretty dreamy.
My first shoot here was with Alice, way back when; this time around I brought Shelby. We arrived in the midst of an incessant drizzle (sorry dude) that was determined to last through the entirety of our shoot. The rain worked in our favor...well, mine mostly, as it filtered the sun and blurred everything into diffuse color. We continued through the garden's watercolor forests until Shelby was numb and drenched, defrosting in a greenhouse's humidity every so often. Under the fury of thunder, she bloomed, her pheromones seeping through gossamer lace and the pollen that blanketed the air.