Hot Feet Week: 2012 Edition, Part 3 - Mileena

The blog below was originally published in Soles of Silk's Column section. It was archived and then republished here in 2016.

Continued from Hot Feet Week: 2012 Edition, Part 2 - Ryan

Mileena was the first person I made plans to shoot with during my vacation time. Our plans were to get together for an entire day of pictures. Originally I wasn't sure where we were going to go for the day. I thought maybe the beach, but wasn't sold on it.

A few days later, while uploading Wendy's newest photo sets from a few weeks ago, I was reminded of a place I used to go as a kid. The place is called Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia. I was reminded of it because when I shot Wendy, we shot in a town we used to pass through on the way. I shot Mileena a text and some photos of the falls and she was quickly on board with the idea.

Knowing the ride to Blackwater would be around four hours, I wanted to see if I could come up with several locations to shoot along the way. First of all, it would break up the long drive and second, with it being so hot, I thought it would give us time to rest and cool off. I also figured that it would make for a wider variety in scenery. So the plans were made and Friday came.

Set 5 of the Week - City Park Foot Bridge
After picking Mileena up at 7:30 a.m. we were on our way. My original plan was to stop and shoot in the same town I shot Wendy. Since that area isn't that far away though, I decided to pass it up to have more time at the locations further away. That turned out to be a good choice.

We arrived at our first location, a park in Hagerstown, Md. where I saw a unique stream/pond that was surrounded by lots of rocks and a wooden foot bridge. There was plenty of places to shoot around the water as rocks and stone walls surrounded the spot. Unfortunately, however, the bench sitting on the top was occupied by one, then two gentlemen reading books and they looked to be in no rush to leave. Not wanting to wait around forever, we shot pretty much all around them and then made our way back to the car. We took a quick break for some breakfast and I set the next closest location into the GPS.

Set 6 of the Week - Railroad Lift Bridge
The second location for the day ended up being in a small town less than 10 miles away from Hagerstown. It was an old railroad lift bridge (like a draw bridge) that passed over the C&O Canal, which is funny because miles away our next locations would also be along this very long trail. More on that later.

I wasn't sure if we'd be able to actually go onto the bridge or not from what I saw online. When we arrived I was pleased to see that we could. I had Mileena take a few quick shots back from the bridge so you could see the entire thing in the background. We then moved onto it to shoot.

Luckily the metal wasn't too hot for her to sit on or prop her little feet onto. By the end of the set, however, I was running out of ideas and we ended up crossing the canal and shooting on some nearby tracks. This also provided us with more shots with most of, or all of the lift bridge in the background.

During this set we really felt just how hot it was going to be on the day. It was a good thing I only planned for the one set at the location and we got to go back to the car for the air conditioner.

Set 7 of the Week - Western Maryland Railroad Station
We had a bit of a drive to get to our next locations. I wasn't complaining, however, as it felt good to get out of the hot sun. Before long, however, we arrived in a town called Cumberland. I had never stopped in this town, but always thought it was a neat looking with lots of historical buildings. I took this into account when researching the possible shoot locations.

The first of the two locations I had come up for Cumberland was the Western Maryland Railroad Station. The station itself was an older looking building with a neat water fountain beside it. I wasn't there for the fountain, however, and we made our way up the steps to the actual train platform. We were happy to find that there wasn't a single person around and the area was well shaded by the canopy above. Anytime we could get out of the sun was refreshing.

Benches lined the station on both sides. One side had a few train cars, engines and a bright red caboose parked on a spare set of tracks. I tried to keep them in the background as much as possible. At one point, Mileena even jumped up on one of the engines for a few shots. Hey, there were no signs saying we couldn't!

This set saw Mileena's feet get quite dirty. While shooting you could see the slight black tint to her soft soles. I think they picked up the dust so well because prior to this shoot I gave Mileena a quick foot rub with some lotion and sanitizer to keep her feet looking nice and soft. Being they were moist, it looks like it just soaked up the dirt even more. Oh well, a dirty foot set isn't a bad thing.

Set 8 of the Week - C&O Canal Bridge
After a quick break in the station to cool down and grab a drink, Mileena changed for the next set. While we were on the train platform I had been eyeing up the different bridges that crossed the nearby river every which way imaginable. There are a total of five different bridges in this one spot. A couple of them are for the C&O Trail - the same trail the railroad lift bridge in the previous town was located on. Then there was a bridge for the railroad tracks leading to the train station as well as a couple of bridges for motor vehicles.

I ended up picking one of the pedestrian bridges because I liked the color and it was a little more shady being beside some trees. Once again, the shade was our friend. We shot below, in the middle of, and at the end of this bridge. We got some really good angles here as we were lucky enough to only have a few people pass us by. It left us able to shoot whatever we wanted without being bothered.

Once we were done in Cumberland we went back to the car and proceeded to make our way to the main location I had wanted to use - Blackwater Falls.

Set 9 of the Week - Blackwater Falls
The trip from Cumberland to Blackwater took a little bit of time and Mileena decided to catch up on some sleep. While driving I began eyeing up old looking buildings and landmarks thinking how doing a set there would be neat. I kept them to thoughts though as I wanted to get to Blackwater with some time to shoot. I figured we could do more than just Blackwater Falls itself as the park is big enough to find a few more locations.

When we arrived Mileena changed once more and we made our way down the long path and boardwalk to the falls. This is where we encountered a snag. I fully figured there would be tourists here, and there were a few. That wasn't the issue, however. Since I had last been there they had changed the fencing and posts along the boardwalk by the falls. There were also no benches on the lower landing closest to the actual falls. Everything I shot, the falls were pretty much viewable only through the posts of the fencing. I got in a few standing shots that show more of the falls, but both Mileena and I were let down. We had planned this whole trip around this location and we just didn't feel like the shots were going to be as amazing as we had thought. We kept shooting though and to be honest, they look a lot better upon review than I thought they did while taking them.

As we were making our way back to the car, I asked Mileena if she wanted to try to get in another set. I had seen pictures of another, smaller, waterfall in the park online, but wasn't sure if we would run into the same issue again. Mileena said she was game for another set, so we began driving around the park looking for either the other falls or something that looked like it might be interesting enough to use.

After a bit of driving we came upon the park lodge. I told Mileena it might be good to stop in for a quick bathroom break so we could rest up, she could change, and I could find a park map. While she was off in the bathroom, I asked an employee about the second waterfall location and she gave me a map, and highlighted a path to follow. Luckily for us, it was right behind the lodge and what looked to only be a few hundred feet away. When Mileena was done in the bathroom, I told her the good news and we were on our way.

Set 10 of the Week
- Elakala Falls

It took us no time to get to the second set of falls, called Elakala Falls. When we arrived we both looked at each other and smiled. There was a boardwalk bridge over the falls, but the path afterward went down along side the water. There were signs that said, "No Swimming," but I didn't see anything about not taking photos. Mileena and I made our way down the steep path and over quite a few mossy rocks to the rocks below the falls. I was like a kid in a candy store and told Mileena that this location made all the bad feelings about the last one go away. She was very happy as well.

It was only 6:00 p.m. so we still had some light left. We were under a lot of cover with the trees overhead, but it was so diffused that it was giving me real soft lighting. The other good thing about this location, there was no one around. Every so often people would come by, but they'd be high up on the bridge. We paid them no mind and shot one of the most unique and beautiful locations I've ever had in a set. With the setting inspiring me, I even messed with some of the camera functions to give the water falling over the rocks some different effects.

Once we finished this set we decided to call it a day. We were both hungry and exhausted. We had done six sets and I was more than happy with those results.

We made our way back to the lodge and decided to just go ahead and eat there. Why not support the park that supplied us with the great backgrounds for our last two sets? It was during dinner where I also sent Kellie a text about shooting the following day. I asked her if we could avoid shooting early as I knew I'd be sleeping in after this long day with Mileena. She said yes and to send her a text when I woke up.

Continued on Hot Feet Week: 2012 Edition, Part 4 - Kellie

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