It all started with a simple task; “take photos of the new Fogbow color somewhere close to Park City where it’s not obvious that it’s winter, since it’s the spring summer campaign”. William, Hallvard and I thought, “Sure. Easy.”
Before we left for the States, we knew where we would be shooting, we had our models booked and by all accounts it looked like it would be an easy production day.
If you’re wondering why we chose to go to Salt Lake, it is because we wanted to take photos of black bags in a winter environment, and then the plan was to drive an hour away to the desert nearby, to take photos of the Fogbow bags. So in our heads it was a win-win combination. Two days. Two campaigns. Sounded epic. However, when we arrived in Park City, there was the snowstorm of the decade there. Sage Kotsenburg, who lives there, welcomed us by messaging “man, I haven’t seen so much snow here in 10 years”.
After wrapping our first shoot, William and Hallvard decided to go and check the location of our Fogbow shoot before call time. We weren’t asking for much, we just needed it to look like it was spring and for the snow to hold off for a couple of hours. I told them they didn’t need a three person expedition to check if there was snow or not, and decided to stay back for a climb session.
After an hour, I received a message from William saying “fuck” with the attachement of the photo below. It was clear that there was snow there and that we needed to find another location ASAP. This wasn’t the first time we’ve had to change our game plan at a moment’s notice, but it was the first time we were in the US and that we had no idea what surrounded us and what would work with the campaign we had in mind.
However, I was pretty sure that William and Hallvard would be able to figure out what we should do by the time they got back to Park City, so I just kept climbing. After 10 minutes, I got another message from William, saying: “it’s going to be a long day tomorrow. And we might sleep in Vegas”. I was obviously delighted by this new information, if a little concerned for what they had planned.
After they came back, William and Hallvard presented the “genius” plan to me and the rest of the team. “We wake up at 3, drive for 6 hours to the new location which may/may not have snow, take photos, hit the road for 2 more hours until we reach Vegas, stay there for the night, and then we drive back for 8 hours the next day directly to the airport”. No one was really against this idea (big kudos to the model), so we packed our bags, hit the hay and woke up 4 hours later.
The drive was more or less smooth sailing - just a straight highway with mountains/hills on both sides of the road. No one really knew our exact final destination, but we knew that it was somewhere around St.George. When we were 1 hour away from St. George, we started seeing more and more mountains with spectacular colors and views. The problem was that all of the rocks were red, and that we were looking for something grey, similar to the Fogbow collection. We stopped when we saw the walking path and checked on a local tourist map for something with the name “grey” nearby. Believe it or not, there was a “grey stone path” marked 10 minutes away from where we were, so we started the car and off we went.
What we saw was kind of insane. It might not be spectacular to the untrained eye, but for us- a group specifically searching for a place that looked like spring/summer with rocks the same color as our bags - it was the jackpot. Maybe jackpot is the wrong word - it’s not that fun in all honesty, but I guess it was like looking for that perfect wave for days, then finding the perfect break with no people and it’s left (I’m goofy). Yes, it felt like that.
We did the shoot, everything went as smooth as butter, and we were all stoked and happy. We asked ourselves if we really wanted to go to Vegas, and we said yes, let’s do it. But before Vegas, we had to grab a meal. So we stopped 20 minutes away from the shoot location, and before we entered the restaurant, William said “let’s export files to the drive, just in case”. Hallvard agreed and looked for his camera. It was not there. We asked ourselves where it was and had the crushing realization we last saw it on the roof of the car. So, William and Hallvard sat back in the car and drove back to the location. Me and our three models ordered some Mexican food and waited for them in the restaurant. We didn’t hear from them for 40 min. I texted William; “status?”, and he replied “We only found a camera lens cover”. So the cheapest part of that camera was found, and all of the rest was gone.
At the restaurant we felt like we arrived at that left point, all looked good, we dressed up in wetsuits and paddled to the point. And then the waves were gone. It’s flat. That’s how we felt. After two hours, still nothing. Still flat water. We were checking DMs on instagram in case someone found the camera, nothing. And then we checked the Facebook group “lost and found in St. George” and there was a post! Saying: “I found a Canon camera on the highway”. It was like seeing another set of perfect waves coming to us. Hallvard texted her, and she replied. That wave was almost here. He and William drove to her, I can imagine that they were driving pretty fast, and the lady, and the camera were there. They thanked the lady, gave her some bags and drove back to us to the restaurant. The wave that we thought we would never ride was here. We were all riding it. The smiles were back, Hallvard had beer in his mouth the same second he entered that restaurant, and we all laughed.
With the story that we all knew that we will remember, we drove to Vegas, lost some money in the Casino, checked “the” places and slept for a few hours in a hotel. Next morning, we woke up and drove to the airport. No one was really impressed by Vegas, we all appreciate nature and mountains more, but it was worth seeing. And most importantly, we have that camera with the memory card now, so that we can present you the photos of the campaign.
And to the lady who found that camera, thanks again. You’re the hero of this story.