The hottest place on Earth in August is not what I'd recommend to most couples wanting to do a maternity session! But Nidhi and Arpit had a vision, and they understood the risks. We agreed to meet for sunrise at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, then head to Zabriskie Point. The game plan: move as quickly as possible, and reschedule or break the session into two mornings if necessary (we had the next day, August 4th, on deck as a back-up... more on that later). Nidhi assured me they would bring a LOT of water.

When Nidhi and Arpit got out of the car in all white outfits I knew these photos were going to be exceptional. In my opinion nothing photographs better than white in the desert!! She got the dress on Amazon (I found one similar, linked here). Not to mention the lightweight linen fabric Arpit wore probably kept him cooler than any of us. Nidhi's cousin Krishna was along for the ride too, and she was SO helpful. She made sure they stayed hydrated, carried their bags, and threw the dress in the air for those perfectly dramatic photos. Thanks for your help, Krishna!

After 30 minutes at the sand dunes where the wind was definitely a paid actor (see shots below), we got in the car and drove 40 minutes to Zabriskie Point. There was NO ONE there... As one of Death Valley's most accessible and beautiful viewpoints, that is extremely rare. Another miraculous win: it wasn't that hot!!! Don't get me wrong, we were all still sweating and it was definitely triple digit temps. But a thick cloud cover actually kept things cooler than usual by almost 10 degrees.

We had fun wandering around and taking in the view while getting some stunning photos. At this point in the session I knew we had clinched the most classic, beautiful images, so it was time to try something fun. I always ask clients to send me inspiration photos or videos to give me a better idea of what they want so I can deliver in spades. Nidhi sent me a clip from a famous Bollywood movie, K3G (and I instantly understood why they wanted to have their session in Death Valley). The lead actors do a lot of dramatic dips in the movie with sweeping panoramas... so of course we recreated our own version. I have to say, I think the final images turned out even better than the movie.

Little did we know, their luck extended beyond weather and crowds. The very next morning, on their back-up date, Death Valley National Park received almost 2 inches of rain causing a 1,000-year flood event. That's most of its annual rainfall in just a few hours and it's the most rain ever recorded in a 24 hour period. Roads were washed away, buildings flooded, cars were wrecked. The session would've been canceled and they probably would've been stuck in the park. Phewwww.

Now, one month later, Nidhi and Arpit have welcomed their adorable daughter into the world. Wishing them many more years of extraordinary luck!