The palm trees, the blue skies, the mountains: Palm Springs couldn't be any more picturesque. That is, until you add insanely cute animals to the equation — something that's not lost on Los Angeles-based photographer Gray Malin.
When asked to photograph legendary desert hotel The Parker, the lensman decided that no ordinary shoot would do, so he brought along some friends. Namely, a monkey, a pair of penguins, a giraffe, a zebra, and a flamingo, who became the unlikely stars of his latest series, Gray Malin at The Parker. "I [was] inspired to create images that depict my ultimate dream weekend," Malin explains. "The playful grounds of my favorite hotel, The Parker Palm Springs, are a modern-day fantasy filled with hammocks under towering palm trees, pastel-colored bicycles, croquet and petanque fields, vintage umbrellas, and lemonade stands by swimming pools."
Naturally, the day wasn't without obstacles. "The main challenge was that these are wild animals who don't necessarily respond to direction!" Malin says. "However, that also made it fun and unpredictable, because I went in with a vision, which just kept expanding in new and unexpected ways. There were numerous trained handlers on site the entire time, which made the entire process much easier."
As for which animal took the title of on-set diva? "Zack the Zebra was very hungry and kept eating the grass instead of looking up at the camera," Malin says. Click through to peek the fantastical photos that will have you awww-ing in no time.