Two weeks ago I travelled to Gran Canaria to become a Beach Editor and now it looks like I’ve also become a Beach Director! This week we did a special on the stunningly beautiful dunes around Maspalomas and the famous Playa del Inglés. Have fun with the week’s Beach-Diaries about my time working for Beachinspector!
It all started rather harmlessly: Would I mind to take a few shots of our Beachinspector team working “on site”? Camera in hand, I follow my team mates on their way to the beach. Today, they have planned to start the shooting for a “Beach Special” on Playa del Inglés, probably the most famous beach on the whole Canary Islands. Lots of different takes, some “behind-the scenes” material, too. We park our car and wind our way through one of those fancy hotel gardens: Marble and gold in the lobby, whitewashed Moorish-style houses and neatly laid out paths lined by huge palm trees wherever you look. One moment we’re in the middle of Spanish tourism, the other, we find ourselves in the heart of the desert – or so it seems! The Dunes between the Playa de Maspalomas and the Playa del Inglés stretch almost from horizon to horizon as we arrive, heat and gripping at us, tangling our hair and brushing sand into our eyes.
The desert can take you anywhere – even back in time
“Let’s get in there!,” my team mate declares, and marches straight into the dunes. Following her, I again cannot contain the sheer vastness of the desert. After a few steps, each sound becomes muffled, each smell is erased and I feel thrown back to my first night in the Rub Al-Khali in Yemen, right at the Saudi-Arabian border, one night I will never forget: Sky and desert stretching above and underneath into eternity, just like the ocean waves, the dunes are moving whenever you are trying to fix them with your stare and you start to see them constantly shifting right before your eyes. You simply feel so small in the face of nature.
Me, a Beach Director?
“We should do a shot of the two of us walking in,” says my other colleague, and I’m pulled out of my daydreams of a night that happened almost a decade ago. I begin fiddling with the camera, its weight unfamiliar in my hands. Autofocus on, then shift to manual so the camera doesn’t lose the focus on the girls whenever something in the background is moving. I push “record” and do the finger count as I’ve seen it at the TV station I once worked as an intern. “And action!” The two Beachinspectors start walking down the dunes in front of me and I struggle to keep up with them. When they stop I circle them, filming their discussion about where to set up the tripods.
Office with an ocean view
In between we have our lunch break at a little restaurant along the promenade. My task for the special is to take the “behind-the-scenes”- shots and several takes with both Beachinspectors on it, so I’m done for the day. I spend the afternoon at the restaurant in my new “office” with an ocean view to catch up with my writing and editing job. But my thoughts keep drifting back to the feeling of the camera in my hands and the thrill to catch what I feel and see on film. Clearly, I can’t wait for the second day of this project!
For those who didn’t know: Film is tough work
And it really kicks ass. Almost three hours in the scorching heat of the upper promenade and about what felt like a hundred takes or more. Tourists and locals alike keep walking into the shot deliberately, guys shouting into the micro: “I can push that button for ya!” Clearly, I haven’t been that pissed off for a long time. My team mates keep going with their beach moderation like professionals and I learn a lot about “work-on-site” when you don’t have a huge TV-team to shield you off.
Find the energy in your work to sweep you off your feet again!
However, this experience clearly prepared me well for the most fun shot at the end of the day: When the sun is going down, we drag two of the orange sunbeds with “Maspalomas” on them down to the lapping waves. The setting sun pours liquid gold over the water and tanned faces of my Beachinspector colleagues and I simply enjoy arranging the scene: Hiding the cable of the microphone, shifting my mates’ positions on the sunbeds, arranging arms, legs and hair. Then try to find the perfect angle for the camera to catch as much light as possible and position the two moderators in the right spot. The atmosphere between us is relaxed and we truly enjoy the work. The two of them give their final impressions about the beach behind us, a beach where we’ve spent two full days together. This work experience was clearly something different for me and left me with the longing to finally learn all about photography, but also how to shoot short clips, there is to learn. The best thing about life in general: If you are ready for it, there is always something new to intrigue you and give you this intense energy of flaring curiosity – an energy that sweeps you away like the ocean waves or the wind in the desert.
And when do you dare?
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