Photo Set

Should we run? Or the story behind a corporate shot over 16.000ft

It’s incredible the amount of time planning, making contacts, rescheduling and producing things when some assignments land at our desk. I would say most of the jobs do have this bureaucratic part and it’s important to recognize it in photography, put the time it deserves and charge for your time too.

This shooting was supposed to last one day, plus a two day trip to Huaraz. But  those who have traveled throughout the Andes, during summertime, would agree that an accurate planning there is as tough as the rainy weather in this season.

Anyway… it was mid-February and I dared to enter the White Mountain range to accomplish my task. Capture a series of emotional, environmental portraits depicting the roughness of being a high mountain guide in Peru. The client produces top mountain gear and clothing and fosters an annual fund-raising campaign to help the farmers, taxi drivers, street sellers and teachers that would have been full time guides if their income was enough.

Abel “El Profe”, Renzo, Carlo and Juan were all set on a chilly morning and even it was nearly 7 am we headed to the mountain. Since the pictures required a snowy background we soon realized we were too late to start a trek to the glacier. Before 8.30am the clouds had already covered most of the valley and the snow was a bunch of gray, flat elevations. Nothing that would make the pictures look appealing. Yet I started shooting, worried the client wouldn’t pay for another day there. The first results were not so bad, but far from what I had envisioned. Not to mention the client’s expectations.

We agreed to come back the day before and I asked to come really early. So we jumped in the car at 3 am the next day and headed again to Llaca. After a few extra weight on gear and clothing (something like 22kilos) we started to walk, at night, towards the glacier.

After nearly 4 hours walking I started to ask myself if I wasn’t over-geared…Two camera bodies, a 35mm f1.4, a 16-35mm f2.8, a 28-70mm f2.8, a 70-200mm f 2.8, a tripod, two strobes, a remote flash trigger, light modificators. It was a little studio. I felt stupid.

Fortunately that feeling lasted little. When we got to the glacier Mr. Shy Sun honored us for an hour, clearing the sky partially. Dramatic shadows from the cliffs were cast over the snow and the strobes started to pay off.

I was kindly assisted by the other guides while I took the portraits of each of them. I was able to create a main light and a back light (sometimes it wasn’t possible, the batteries were suffering with the altitude and cold). It greatly improved the overall feeling of roughness. Then the weather started to change.

As I took some last shots from the most experienced guide, Abel “el Profe”, giving my back to the majestic glacier, I suddenly hear that crystal-like sound of ice being broken, followed by a bass, moving roar. Terrified I look in the eyes of Abel and asked: should we run?

He stared at the hilltop for endless three seconds…No, he answered, its a small one…

A few hours later we saw from a safe distance, as other small avalanches made it to the place we stood and how huge pieces of ice felt apart from the glaciers and create big waves striking the shores of the lake we passed earlier.

At home, I used a cross processing filter to enhance that feeling of hardness. The results are here. Hope you like it.

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The Colca. As I brave the Andean seasonal bad weather to continue an assignment for a Tourism guide I had the opportunity to see this gorgeous gorge when rains gave me a chance ! It’s said to be one of the deepest canyons in the world, twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and it’s rapidly becoming a preferred touristic destination. After spending some days trying to get a sense of the weather I realized that I will have to postpone  this location for a while. But I can’t wait to come back… Take a look at that sight!

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Right now I am sitting on a very comfortable leather couch on a big bus heading to the southern Peruvian city of Arequipa. And yes, I am blogging from here!

I just had lunch with my kid, Caetano, and left him at his swimming classes. He was a bit afraid of the monster that lives on a dark little room by the pool. In fact is a place his teacher uses to keep some gear. He finally relaxed when I told him that I would bite the monster in the ass if he bothered my kid. He went away laughing after hugging myself with his little arms and asking “why do you have to go?”

But let me flash back and explain why there is the sky in the title. I just got back from Huaraz,  a town of more than 100.000 souls encroached in the White mountain range, high past the 3000 meters above sea level, in the Peruvian Andes. The place is known for its wild beauty and toughness of its weather and geography, both by seasoned climbers and mundane  walkers, like myself.

By the end of December I was assigned by a news agency in London to do a job that, given the seasonal, rainy circumstances could be described as difficult.

I had one day to organize 6 Peruvian high mountain guides on a trek through one of the snow capped mountains nearby. Nearby in the Andes may mean a lot of dirty, bumpy roads ahead.

My job was to depict them on their working place….uh, the mountains, snowy mountains. The client was a top level producer of high mountain gear and clothing. They needed a series of emotional environmental portraits that showed how hard is to be a mountain guide in a developing country.

Well, and to me, after knowing a little bit of the harsh, rapid light of the Andes, it was clear that I had to bring some lighting gear along. What I didn’t fully realize was how much that 17 kilos-Lowepro backpack would actually weight after wearing boots, snow gear and starting an 6 hour trek at 4.473 meters high.

The guides, Abel “El Profe”, Renzo, Carlo and Juan would show me. Yes, they were only four but they absolutely worth six.

I will tell you, but first I have to wait for a permit from the client. I wil not dare to tell the story without showing the pictures. So please keep visiting….

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Ok, now that you’ve seen the whole website (oh no! you haven’t?!I will give you another chance, just click www.dadogaldieri.org) and is seriously thinking about assigning myself to some jobs for your magazine, brand or company, I will tell you who I am.

It may end up convincing you that I am good with the visuals and a hard worker that you would like to have around your team. Well I just turned 37 (it looks less though!). I am a Brazilian guy who is been out of his country for more than 8 years now, roaming throughout South and Central America mostly, taking assignments as varied as breaking news to travel and leisure magazine articles. The great thing about photography is this. It can be as varied as oneself. And yet you can found in a myriad of jobs a common factor that glues it all.

Anyway I am now based in Lima, Peru after being correspondent in Brazil and Bolivia for The Associated Press for the last 12 years. In fact, I just resigned. Now I pursue my own ideas, decide when to accept or not the jobs (I’ve been taking too many lately) and most important: I try to be a photographer, a husband and a father. And keep it all balanced.

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Well let’s start from the beginning. Please visit my web page http://www.dadogaldieri.org. I would love to hear your thoughts about my work.