Desert Storm

I'm finally wrapping up a 16.5-hour workday, one of the longest of my career. My feet are aching, my eyes are drooping and my clothes are full of sand. This was probably the most intense and exhausting, yet fun photo shoot I've ever done.

It all started on Tuesday morning, when I left this:

For this:

Ahh, sunny Scottsdale. Ahh, forty-degree temperature difference.

I stayed at the charmingly mod Hotel Valley Ho, in a room with a rather prominent bathtub.

But our shoot wasn't in Scottsdale. Part of the reason my day was so long today is because we drove three hours south to the sand dunes a few miles from the Mexican border.

This was my first foray into the desert. And I've learned that walking up and down sand dunes is a surprisingly strenuous endeavor.

We set up near the road and had to trek back and forth to our shooting location between shots.

Our styling team did a great job creating a makeshift studio around the cars. Here's the jewelry table:

We included some pretty amazing vintage pieces. I fell in love with this vintage YSL necklace:

Our models, scouted by Bruce Talbot, our photograher, were quite talented. They weren't the slightest bit intimidated by the vast open space or the grueling sand dunes. Here's Vel:

And wardrobe stylist Robert Ballew, running across the desert with a black umbrella and white ostrich boa.

We moved around frequently.

And made sure to take breaks when necessary. Staying hydrated was top priority.

I threw aside my sandals in favor of bare feet shortly after the first shot. The sand was hot-hot-hot, but it was easier to walk without shoes.

Afterward, my art director, Janet, her husband, Dennis, and I headed into nearby Yuma for some tacos.

I ordered a cocktail; it arrived supersized. Whoops.

Cheap tacos hit the spot after an entire day in the blistering sun. Janet and Dennis agree:

Now I'm off to bed before another morning flight takes me back to a faraway land of snow and ice and giant winter boots. That sound you hear? Teardrops hitting my pillow. I'm not ready to go back!

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