Chapter 11: Desert Landscape Nudes
The next day, we repeated the hike Kaitlyn took the day she met me.
I found a wide spot off the Jeep trail to park, threw my clothes in the car, locked it, and surprised Carlo by giving him the keys.
Uncertainly zipping them into a pocket of his photo gear backpack, Carlo asked, “You sure you’re willing to let me control your access to clothing?”
I riposted, “You’re the one trusting us to be your nudist vacation tour guides. It’s a poor sort of trust if it isn’t reciprocal.”
We couldn’t tell him that, unlike at the farm where tech interference could hide a spy from our probing life senses, there was zero chance of us being inadvertently discovered déshabillé out here: we were free to send long tendrils of magical awareness ahead and behind, alerting us to oncoming hikers well before they could notice us, giving us plenty of time to move out of their way or go invisible.
Hiding Carlo would be trickier, but we could strip him of his backpack, sink it in the wash, and build an invisibility bubble for him in time, if need be.
For mages, clothing’s always optional out in nature.
The only difficulty was that Carlo required a backpack full of high tech gear to do his job, so we ended up hiking in a stretched single-file arrangement, we mages keeping enough distance from Carlo to avoid collapsing our magical workings, Kaitlyn in front looking forward, me in back checking six, and Carlo in the middle checking my wife’s callipygous six.
I didn’t mind; it’s worth checking.
Once well down the canyon where Kaitlyn and I met, we gave Carlo a sunscreen massage as pre-payment for the coming day’s work.
When we finished, my wife held out her sunscreen tube to him, offering, “If you want to do me, Carlo, I’ll let you.”
“I’d love that!” he said, and I amusedly did myself up with SPF 10 while Carlo worked the SPF 20 stuff into my wife’s sun-darkened skin, repeatedly trying and failing to keep his erection under control. Neither Kaitlyn nor I really needed sunscreen, sunburn being an irritant easily banished with magical healing, but it was important to keep up appearances while among the muggles.
We did another long photo shoot that day, almost entirely under natural light this time since we weren’t able to pack much of Carlo’s lighting equipment down-canyon with us. The only artificial light we had was an off-camera flash that Carlo used as fill lighting only. It was a powerful professional flashgun, but it was barely capable of competing with the mid-day sun; go fusion!
I considered loading his hard cases and camera bags into the FJ’s bed this morning, its wide tires and low gear ratio letting us drive his stuff down the canyon’s wash without any appreciable risk of sinking to the axles as the Subaru would, but I’d discarded that idea before even mentioning it to Kaitlyn. A shirtless man causes no comment in casual Moab during tourist season, but if a topless woman appears in public, everyone loses their freaking minds. That left me an easy choice: ask my wife to put on a top so we could take mi burro, breaking her nude streak record attempt, or chauffeur the other two in the Nude-Mobile.
We spent the whole morning shooting photos down the canyon, one end to the other. As expected, we had the place to ourselves.
We ended up back at the car in time for a backpacker’s lunch, but we returned to the canyon’s protective walls for a siesta, the three of us napping, reading, chatting, and hiking through the hottest part of the day in a shady section.
Challenged by the need to leave his big studio strobes at the house, Carlo did his best with the harsh mid-day light, playing chiaroscuro games to create beautiful silhouette effects with our bodies. That worked out well enough, but his attempts to use reflected light from the canyon walls as a Gaia-scale bounce card didn’t come out as well. He ended up spending a lot of time editing photos from prior sessions on his tablet rather than taking new ones.
Carlo got back to work in a serious way once the sun started going down. Motivated by the approach of the golden hour, he led us on a hike back up onto the bluff-top, then around the canyon’s rim to peer down into the spots where we’d spent the morning, using the juniper trees up there as props and backdrops, making for an entirely different-feeling series of pictures.
Since the Jeep road snaked along the rim, I thought we’d have to be circumspect once out of the canyon’s protection, but Carlo challenged that notion. “There are informal rules for art nudes that are a bit different from everyday cases, Davie. A clothed person clearly working as a photographer with nude models out in nature is less likely to trigger an onlooker to level charges of indecent exposure. If it were otherwise, we wouldn’t have much outdoor nude art, would we? Yet there’s plenty of it. Surely all those photographers weren’t in serious jeopardy of jail time?”
That encouraged me to proceed, but Carlo continued, “Here’s how it’ll work, Davie: you’re the only one of us that can wear clothes today, so if someone comes along, you get behind the camera, clearly the photographer, Kaitlyn and I just as clearly your models. When we’re alone, you can strip off so you and I can exchange positions, me on the other side of the lens where I belong. The work will be tasteful, so no one should seriously squawk about it, and if they do, we can just leave.”
And so it was. Several of the sparse off-roaders slowed for a gander, and one stopped by the roadside for a good long while to watch us work. We waved at that one, and he waved back, then drove on.
The only thing that ever came of it was an SD card full of beautiful photography, a series of fine art prints, and an afternoon of wonderful memories.