Snow Days

A portrait photographer's best friend is the snow! I always get so excited for those 1 or 2 snows a year that we get here in the mountains of Asheville, NC. For a day or two, the ground is a perfect canvas of white, the world is quiet and serene, and the light is gorgeous!  I always celebrate by forcing my friend-models out into the cold in beautiful gowns to shoot with me. 

This year, I got to team up with Avant Geek and photograph her truly spectacular pieces in a beautiful field in Cullowhee.  Jill Summers and Kayla Morgan donned white gowns and trudged into the field to capture these magical images.

We shot in 20-minute bursts before running back inside to warm up and drink whisky. I just love the pops of colour against all that white. And we caught the sun setting over the mountains, which lit the background up with glorious golden light. 

Olivia Mears' designs really added something spectacular to Jill's movements. 

Kayla's red hair was the perfect compliment to these red streaming bits of fabric.

After shooting Olivia's gorgeous gowns, we switched to some warmer cloaks and crowns for some druidic shots in the tree line. 

The very next day saw Jill back over at my house shooting in the backyard and under the railway bridge. For these, we went more urban. My partner, Cody airbrushed a badass black mask on her for makeup, and we let the cold air take care of the rest. 

We managed to catch that perfect sliver of golden light just before it disappeared behind the mountain line.

Snow days make my over-worked creative little heart so happy. More of them, please, Mother Nature!

Surprisingly, the snow held out for a third day, and I was able to shoot with Kayla again in the nest! I've shot both her and Devon le Fae as birds in our life-sized nest before, so we wanted to do something a little different this time. We decided that Dragons would probably build nests, too. Kayla did her hair and makeup, we styled her in lots of scaled textures, and thus, the fire dragon in the snow was born!

Kayla really channeled a dragon in these images in her posing. 

Snow days make my over-worked creative little heart so happy. More of them, please, Mother Nature!

sunset to sunrise

Camping, friends, talented models and designers, beautiful landscapes, and a marathon sunset-to-sunrise photo shoot.  This was my life last week.

A group of very talented and tough people went up to Pisgah Forest Campground with me at sunset on Monday evening. We scouted the area and shot at an overlook near the camp ground. Unfortunately, we just missed the bulk of the actual sunset, but I did manage to snap this great photo of Jill Summers, tricked out as an awesome woodland elf:

I have recently discovered the magical time right after the popular golden hour called "blue hour." Up in the mountains of WNC, after the sun sets behind the mountains, there is still some good light that has this beautiful dusky hue to it.

What you can't see in these pictures is the bitterly cold wind that was battering us on top of the mountain, but these girls are such pros, you can't even tell!

Once we got back to the campground and warmed up a little around the fire, we started scouting the camp site for more photos. The site was surrounded by these awesome, old, twisty rhododendron groves. We set up an off-camera flash and umbrella and shot some cool, moody fantasy shots. Jill and Nichole donned my velvet cloaks and some of Amy Metsker's beautiful hand-made jewelry.

I also finally got to put someone in the Princess Dress that I found at Goodwill! Thanks, Nichole!

After some fantasy fun, it was time to rock out some KatDog Couture designs! Jill and Kati put on hood dresses and frolicked around in the grove until about 2:30 am when we finally all crashed.  We were also briefly joined by Ben and Ivy, who helped add a spooky vibe to some of Kati's hooded cloaks.

I crashed around 2:30 am in the back of my car.  It was cramped, and it was cold, and before I knew it, it was time to get up again.  After 2 hours of "sleep," we all roused ourselves at 5am to set up for some sunrise shots!

As the sun rose higher, we got to experiment with the angle of the light a little. I just love the red morning light filling up my lens with beautiful flares and giving Kati a warm glow!

A big shout-out to Max Ganly, who generously let me use his lighting equipment!

Though it was grueling and took me several days to recover, this was an unforgettable experience that yielded some awesome work. Thanks, Kati, for organizing this!

it's been a while...

When I started building this website at the beginning of the year, I promised myself I would update the blog regularly.  So, naturally, this is the first post I've written in almost 5 months!

It turns out that between organizing shoots, running my business, and editing, editing, editing, blogging ends up slipping through the cracks.  But, here I am, attempting to be better about it!

Most recently, the weather has been cooling off and the leaves are slowly changing for autumn (a.k.a. photographer's paradise!)  Model Kayla and I ran up on the parkway last week to try and catch the beginning of the fall colours.  Sadly, not many trees had transformed yet, so we decided to focus on colour and light. Ultimately, it was a fruitful afternoon that yielded some beautiful shots!

Some red smoke bombs yielded an interesting 15 minutes. Pro tip: smoke bombs burn the hell out of your eyes and make you smell like Satan,but they look hella cool!

Sometimes, the lust for adventure just hits you, and you have to go for a drive on the Parkway and chase down that gorgeous mountain light!  I'm lucky to live in a place that is so full of beauty, and to have talented friends that participate in my photo-seeking whims!