Category: Personal

Día de los Muertos {Day of the Dead/Sugar Skull} :: Styled Shoot

Sometimes as photographers we get in a rut- a creative rut…..  And sometimes if you don’t allow yourself some time and space, you will go crazy and become so physically and emotionally burned out that you are no good to anyone, including yourself.  Spring and fall are usually crazy times for me with my photography, but I really wanted to find a way to make this happen.  I have had an obsession with the beauty and art that comes with the celebration of Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, for a while now.  It is an annual tradition on the first of November that originated in Mexico.  It has been taking place for centuries where people celebrate the souls of their deceased loved ones.  Beautiful ornately decorated sugar skulls are created in their memory.  Alters are built and marigolds, candles, and sugar skulls are brought to the gravesides.


I had been dreaming up this “styled” shoot for about six months now, and finally made it happen (after MANY hours of scouring Pinterest for inspiration).  But not without the help of several people, mainly my friend Ashlyn.  I have known Ashlyn and her mom JonAnn for many years now, since she came to me for riding lessons when she was little.  I have watched her grow up into an amazingly talented, loving and beautiful daughter, sister, friend, and now wife.  I am so thankful for her to jump on board with my crazy ideas and help make this happen.  She spent several nights “perfecting” the makeup to get it just right.  I was blown away by the beautiful look she came up with.  I was thrilled that JonAnn could join us to help Ashlyn get ready and be my great light assistant.  Of course, being the horse girl that I am, we had to incorporate my most favorite steed, Sprat.  My sister Hayden spent the afternoon with me getting the paint job on Sprat just right.  And of course my other sister Lauren helped make sure my abstract equine skeletal system was pretty accurate, even though she couldn’t be there to help that day.  He is also wearing some great red Gypsy Tails in his mane & tail to tie the look together!  Carson was there to help assist- he made for a great light-test subject.  I can’t forget to thank my husband Tony for supporting me, even though he doesn’t always understand these crazy tangents I get off on 🙂


Since there were no changes of clothes or EXPRESSION for this session, I had to get creative with light (full sun, shade, backlit, and off-camera flash), lenses (24, 50, 70-200mm L series on my 5DMarkII), and various locations here at the ranch.  I have also edited a couple of these a little different than my standard “keep it clean and timeless” look to my editing style.  And the some of them were so full of color that I didn’t want to do anything to them….  So please know that these editing tools are just that, tools to enhance your art.  You will usually find more consistent editing style on my regular sessions….


We didn’t have many days to choose from to get this session done, so it was going to happen on this particular Sunday afternoon, rain or shine.  And it did just that!  It rained so hard about an hour before we planned on starting.  You can see in some of the early images there are raindrops.  Then the sun finally peeked through.  We shot right up til sunset, when we got the fun set of off-camera images at the end.  So, here are some of my favorites.  You can click here to see the whole session on a slide show to music!!!

This is where my heart is… {David Stoecklein Workshop at Saunders Twin V Ranch}

Two weekends ago I had the opportunity to attend a workshop with David Stoecklein, a photographer known world-wide for his incredible images of the American West.  Cowboys, ranchers, livestock, landscapes, etc. are usually the main subjects, but he is adamant about telling a story with his images, and capturing a way of life that is too soon dying. 

He set up his workshops at the Saunders’ Twin V Ranch in Weatherford.  This family has been ranching for many generations and strives to preserve the “cowboy way” in everything they do.  Thomas went above and beyond to set up some incredible shots for us with his great crew.  Many thanks to the family for putting up with us and all their hard work. 

I mostly enjoyed hanging out with photographer friends and taking in the whole lifestyle experience.  Most of the time I wish I was the one horseback cowgirlin’ instead of behind the camera- that’s where my heart is, and the reason why I got into photography 🙂  

These are just a few of my favorites, but please click here for the slide show to music of the entire weekend…  it will take a few minutes to watch, but worth the wait!














New year, new look!

I have been ready for a fresh look for a little while, just needed a little inspiration and encouragement.  I found that last November when I attended For the Love Workshop (for the second time, and yes, it’s THAT good).  One of the sponsors was Green Tent Design and Marketing, and they sent JD (Jim) McCulley to represent.  Of course he was one the many wonderful people I have encountered at these incredible workshops.  JD is an incredible designer and photographer, and I’m so blessed to have worked with him.  During the design process, they interview you to really get in touch with your personality, style, and needs to help you “brand” your business for marketing.  Through this process, I explained that I didn’t want to stray too much from the look I have, just freshen it up, and include something that is dear to me.  Over the years, I have come to love the scissortail bird that is a native to this area.  Me and the kids, especially Henley, really love watching for them and admiring God’s beauty in the graceful birds.  The tail parts in the middle to varying degrees while in flight, and creates the “scissor.”  They are a tan/grey color with a beautiful peachy/orange breast. 


Anyway, I really struggled with using a bird because they are so popular right now in the photography industry in logos….  but JD really encouraged me to go with it because it is so personal, and I have a true love for them through frequent encounters here at the ranch.  Who cares what anyone else is doing, right???  Here’s my scissortail on the barbed wire, and the circles represent the lens of a camera….


So, here it is…  the original Green Tent design on the left, and my color changes on the right.  I’ll still use both, just probably the brown one more with my equine/livestock marketing, and the fun green one for my lifestyle portraiture to really catch the eye of one of my favorite subjects- high school seniors!  Watch for some fun t-shirts with the logo this spring 🙂  Thanks so much JD- I highly recommend him and the team at Green Tent!!!!

New year, new look! posted January 24, 2011 (10:56) in Graphic Design, Personal, Uncategorized | Show Comments |

For The Love- Again!

I’ll be gone all week with wonderful people to worship, fellowship and learn at For the Love Workshop.  Watch this incredible promo video for a glimpse 🙂


For The Love- Again! posted October 31, 2010 (16:56) in Personal, Uncategorized | Comments are closed |

For The Love Update…

“Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”
Matthew 11: 28-30

Wow… is all I can say.  I feel like I’m at a Christian youth camp, but for adult photographers. 🙂 Good stuff going on here….  His spirit is alive and well, and touching many of us.  Pray for rest, inspiration and healing for those seeking Him.  If these images speak to you at all, check out the gallery of day one here!




For The Love Update… posted February 9, 2010 (21:01) in Personal | Show Comments |

For The Love Workshop

I’m headed out tomorrow to the smokey mountains of Tennessee!  I’m so excited to get to go to another wonderful workshop called For The Love.  It will be a great combination of spiritual retreat and learning… perfecting my skills for you all! 🙂 


For The Love Workshop posted February 7, 2010 (19:27) in Personal | Comments are closed |