The day we arrived at İğneada and checked into our rooms, we had a few hours on our own and had the chance to explore the hotel. We were staying in the bungalows in the forest, accompanied by wildlife. We had squirrels saying “hi” by the window and birds were singing until dusk.


Breakfast before the set is, in my opinion, one of the most important times of the set. Everyone gets to wake up and get ready for the challenging day we are about to embrace. And in this specific shooting, breakfast time is the last time the team is interacting with the modern world before we leave the hotel and reach the Floodplain forest, where is no reception.


As it would be hard to do the hair and make-up in the forest, we decide to do everything in the hotel and do the finishing touches in the shooting area. Our models Brendha and Ivan are led to the hair and make-up room to be worked on by our lovely team. The styling team is making sure each outfit is combined with the accessories and ironing the last bits of wrinkles. The photography team is scouting in the gardens of the hotel to find shooting spots for the afternoon shooting. Directors are organizing the shots and which outfit to shoot in which spot of the natural park.


When everyone and everything is ready, we go on the bus and the guide of the hotel takes us to the natural park. On the way, he informs us about the trees that are changing every few meters. The trees are going taller and taller and then we enter the İğneada Floodplains. There is no reception, no humans, no electricity, nothing but endless depth of trees that reach as long as the sky. In the entrance of the forest we are told not to touch, let alone eat, any berries, fungi, and wildflowers; not to follow or try to pet any animal we may encounter, dogs, goats, squirrels… More importantly, we are not allowed to wander on our own without a guide because the forest may trick us into being lost quickly. The guide finally reminds us not to eat anything once again, saying “The nearest hospital is sixty kilometers away, we won’t be able to reach the hospital if something happens.”


With all these said, everyone grabs a piece of equipment and we start to walk into the deep forest. Everything is green-tinted with the reflection of the trees. There are small patches of sun in the sky, the rest is different kinds of leaves. We are looking around with astonishment, trying to look on the ground once in a while to check the big roots so that we do not fall down. We reach our first stop, which we call the “Origin of Mother Earth”, one of the biggest trees we have ever seen standing in the middle of a nearly dried stream, its branch reaching maybe a hundred meters.


The styling team finds a proper spot to set up, hair and make-up does the final touches, the lenses are on the camera, test shots for lights are made and we start rolling. The sound of the shutter is in harmony with the birds and the stream, and with the other animals that inhabit the forest. While the photographer is shooting with the models, the photography assistant wanders around – with a guide – to take some photos of the environment and details of the products.