“Don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of time to take pictures”, I said to Kelly when she and I arrived at the Botanical Gardens that fateful Sunday afternoon. I looked at the clock on the wall and it was 3:30pm. We bought our tickets and went inside. I thought that we had an hour and a half to take pictures. When we went through the doors into the first garden area, the humidity blew into our faces like an oven, which I had completely forgotten about. Kelly sweats profusely when it is over 70 degrees and she started having a meltdown immediately. Often she will have two fans blowing on her at work when the air seems stifling. I could already tell that this adventure was going to be a challenge. I just didn’t know how much of a challenge it was really going to be.
When I started my blog, Until Morocco, my interest in photography was piqued. I really didn’t take many pictures before that because my camera was a Kodak 110 that cost about $20.00 and it produced very poor quality photographs. By the time I returned from Africa, the camera was literally taped in various places to keep it from falling apart. I immediately tossed it in the garbage when I returned home. So, I used the camera Aziz had brought with him when he came to America. Sometimes the button would jam whenever I tried to get a shot of something. I spent more time trying to take photographs than actually acquiring them.
Aziz noticed how much I enjoyed taking pictures and bought a Canon PowerShot. When it arrived, I claimed it immediately as my own. It was the most expensive camera that I had ever used and thought that it was great at first. That is until I started trying to duplicate what I saw others publishing on the internet. I would have to take on average 10-20 pictures of the same pose just to get one good shot. Most of the time I was sadly disappointed, and yet I kept trying.
Kelly is a young woman that I work with. She has thick light brown highlighted hair with big brown eyes and is quite lovely when she is all made up. She came prepared for a professional photo shoot with a change of clothes and extra makeup. I was surprised to learn that she went to modeling school when she was younger and I didn’t really have to tell her how to pose, which was a relief to me. We had been talking for several weeks about taking pictures of her for an on line dating site that she wanted to join. Kelly had been divorced for a while and she wanted some new pictures of herself. I warned her that my camera didn’t produce the best photographs, but I was willing to give it a try.
We started the photography session in an area that looked like it was from out west. There was a wall that was painted bright blue with a wooden bench which was surrounded by flowers. She sat down, tilted her head, and then she smiled. Click. She turned her back to me and then twirled around and faced me, another click. After going through all of the indoor gardens, we decided to go outside where the air was much cooler and Kelly wouldn’t sweat so much. Zoom in, zoom out, sit down, stand up, and twirl, so many poses, so many pictures. I think that I took about 400 photographs that day and then it was time for us to go.
We hadn’t noticed that there was no one in the garden with us. When we were done, we made our way to the door of the facility. I pulled on the handle, but the door wouldn’t open. I knocked on the door multiple times. No one came. We went back out into the garden to try and find a way out. By this time, I was beginning to panic. I glanced around and noticed the street. The gate is surely close by, I thought to myself. After walking the entire perimeter of the garden, I finally located the gate. It was padlocked. By this time, Kelly too, was starting to become anxious. “What are we going to do?” she asked. “It figures, the first time I go out on a photo shoot we have to get locked in the place!” I cried. “Why do things always happen to me?” It was late and, I too, had sweat a lot and was in desperate need of a shower. The only thing that I could think about was clean undergarments and my strict 24 hour change rule. I noticed that there was a fence around the garden. However, in some places the fence was very tall and other places it was nearly chest high. “Kelly, I think that I can make it over the fence. Once I get over, I will help you.” I told her. There were spikes on top of the fence. One slip and I would have an extra hole somewhere in my body, for which I was not too keen to have. Carefully, I swung my leg over the fence, while holding on for dear life, and gently placed my foot on the other side being careful not to touch the spikes. Then I swung my other leg around. Once secure, I jumped onto the grass. What a relief. “Ok, now it’s your turn.” I said. Kelly hesitated. She was wearing very tall wedged bottom shoes, which were very unstable. When I was growing up we called them platform shoes. She kept looking around for a better place to try for her escape. Unexpectedly, a man came out of the back door beyond the padlocked gate. “Hey!” I shouted, “My friend is still locked inside. Can you let her out? He looked at us in disbelief. “Where were you five minutes ago before I climbed over this fence?” I demanded. The man insisted that he had checked the garden before he locked the door. We knew better. He must have poked his head outside the door and then went right back in. Once the gate was unlocked, we thanked him profusely. I called my husband and told him all about our ordeal. Then he met us at the Hilton Hotel for more photographs. You would have thought we would have given up after that ordeal. Like the paparazzi, all I thought about was the next shot.