Written by Nick Pavlovsky
We recently had the opportunity to shoot an amazingly beautiful location about 90 minutes from Seattle. Alderbrook Resort and Spa, overlooking the Hood Canal in Union, WA, has one of the best views I have yet to discover in my short time up here in the Northwest. With plenty of help from all the amazing staff at Alderbrook (especially Marty and Joel), we were able to pack in quite a lot of shooting into only a day and a half. Here’s a brief recap of the shoot:
7:35am: We get on the Seattle to Bremerton Ferry—duration 1 hour (then 30 minutes of driving to the resort)
10am: Split into 2 crews. I take the telephoto lens camera with LCD monitor attached and head outside to begin shooting exteriors. Nick J and DW head over to cover the cottages with the wide angle lens and dolly.
I start off directly in front of the resort, then head across the street and climb the hill to get an even better shot. This wasn’t the best idea as I had to lug both camera and tripod up a wet, slippery hill. Not too fun. I get some signage and beauty shots of the entrance, then head out back and get some shots of the frog pond and mini waterfall. There weren’t any frogs at this point (apparently they only come out at night).
1:30pm: Lunch break. We eat on their outdoor patio, which is actually a separate entity than the restaurant. Featuring a nice lunch menu with many items made on the grill, there were also numerous servers at our assistance. We actually got a few shots of patrons enjoying their meals here while we waited for our food to arrive.
2pm: I take a walk down the dock to get some shots of kayakers enjoying the beautiful weather as well as both interiors and exteriors of Lady Alderbrook, the resort’s own private yacht. Inside the boat, they set up a “wedding-esque” dinner type of feel, with flowers, vases, and all the place settings. Very nice.
2:30pm: At this time, Nick J and DW shoot the resort’s lobby—from all different angles and locations. A special shout-out to one of the staff members for continuously trying (and achieving) to get in as many shots as possible.
3:30pm: I shoot the spa. I’m able to get some great b-roll inside the massage room using only their dimmable overhead lights. We then bring in our “talent” and I set up a few Chimeras to hit them and a Pepper to hit the back wall. Everything from this room turned out great.
4pm: Nick J and DW shoot the outside, covered banquet area overlooking the water.
4:30pm: For the workout room, I left it pretty simple. There was plenty of natural light coming in through the wall ‘o glass so not much was needed here. With our “talent” on the treadmill, I set up near the weight bench and got a nice pan from the mirrors to the row of treadmills. A few shots later, and this room was complete.
5pm: I head up to luxurious suite 421 to get it prepped to be shot at dusk.
Nick J and DW set up the restaurant scene. After prepping the suite, I meet them here and we light the scene. Featured here were 2 “actors” in a dinner setting. We set up an HMI shooting through a scrim, along with two 650s as backlights. We also had a good amount of natural light coming in through the windows. The chef brought out two gorgeous meals to be represented—Alaskan King Crab legs and Filet Mignon. While the “talent” enjoyed these meals on-screen, we got to watch.
7pm: We shoot in suite 421 overlooking the water and the Olympics. We get shots both in the suite and on the balcony. Balcony shot = probably the best view I saw while I was there. I wish I could describe it in words but a picture is going to have to do…
8pm: We finally sit down to eat dinner. Again, we decide on the outdoor setting because the weather is so perfect. But unfortunately for me, my dinner was accidentally dropped on the ground upon arrival to the table. So I had to wait quite awhile before actually eating. Luckily, the wait was worth it, as the grilled salmon wrap I ordered was very tasty.
9pm: We shoot the fire pits full ‘o families roasting s’mores just as it’s becoming dark. Using just two 650s, we are able to get enough light on the subjects and fire pit but not over-light the scene.
6:30am: I meet up with DW in the lobby then we head out to get more exteriors. We drive across the street and up the hill to the start of a hiking trail. We then proceed to walk the trail up the hill to find a magnificent view of the hotel, the water, and the Olympics. This shot is money.
8am: We drive over to the Alderbrook Golf Course, check out a few golf carts and head out on the course to get some beauty shots. With Marty as our talent, we get shots of him hitting in fairways, chipping onto the green, and driving the cart. Although we could shoot here all day and get all kinds of goodness, we keep it fairly short and head back to the resort.
9:30am: We get a few more shots of the lobby and then head over to the restaurant. Here, we get shots of the wine room along with some wides of the dining area.
10am: Breakfast/recap meeting.
11am: By this time, we’ve gotten everything there was to be shot, so we gather all of our belongings and begin our trip back to reality. We catch the ferry back to Seattle and relax for the next hour or so. Although the schedule on this trip was jam packed, we all had a fun and exciting getaway. It was definitely worth it and I look forward to visiting Alderbrook Resort and Spa again in the not so distant future.