turks and caicos - part 1

Ok, so it's probably about time that I blogged about our international fashion extravaganza in the Turks and Caicos, right?

on the beach in Mudjin Harbor, Middle Caicos

on the beach in Mudjin Harbor, Middle Caicos

On the second week of March, my husband Cody and I took our two best friends, Jill and Colvin, down to the TCI for a 10 day holiday and fashion shoot fest.  Some of you may know, but this wasn't just a working vacation for me. I was going home!  I am incredibly lucky to have grown up in such a beautiful place.  But I am even luckier now to have these wonderful people in my life that I can share a trip like this with. 

Of course, as soon as we got to Providenciales, all we wanted to do was drink beer on the beach. My mom organized a sunset sail for the first evening with family and friends on the good ship, Atabeyra (more on her later). 

The next day was spent in relaxation and planning.  Our friends Marsha and Richard generously leant us their bungalow in exchange for some pet-sitting.  Jill and Colvin immediately fell in love with the island's local "breed" of dog: Potcakes

Charlie

Charlie

P.S. Did you know you can donate and even ADOPT to help a Potcake in need? For more information, visit these websites:

After a day of rest and relaxation, we decided that it was time to get to work.  Well, Jill and I did.  Cody and Colvin sat by the pool and drank rum punch. 

Our first shoot was in my parent's garden.  Kati Foster of KatDog Couture made a fabulous piece that was inspired by and orchid blossom just for our trip! We thought that we should start the week off with that one. 

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I have to say, I always knew that Jill was a badass, but she frequently likes to remind me.  Who else could I get to model in rubber, embroidery, and faux fur on a Caribbean island in sweltering mid-day sun and still look this gorgeous? This shoot was a challenge for me too, as I was shooting in very bright light in a place with very little shade. I think we pulled it off spectacularly.  And of course, Kati's garment looks like a tropical dream! 

This shoot had some amusing consequences. Jill has been threatening for years to cut off her long hair. After this shoot, she decided that she couldn't deal with it in the heat for another 8 days, handed my mom a pair of scissors, and said "cut!"

Jill's ponytail

Jill's ponytail

R.I.P. long flaxen locks, hello edgy bob!

Once the hair was gone, Jill was free to focus on modeling (she really did have a lot of hair).  

We quickly decided that one shoot a day was already extremely ambitious for a "working holiday," and retired to the bungalow to join our husbands. 

The next day, we decided to "chain smoke" a bunch of bathing suit shots in our pool with some of Goddessa Jewels' lovely pieces.  Stay tuned for more in Part 2!

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!